Militarism was a cause of World War I, as European nations raced towards building up their defenses and weapons. This was especially prevalent in Germany, but there were also militaristic endeavors in Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy and Russia.
The Germans developed a new training regime and invented weapons and communication devices for battle. After 1871, the German Imperial Army was led by the former Prussian army, which had a strong influence on the German parliament.
The arms race was in full swing leading up to 1914. There were improvements in weaponry, such as increased caliber, range and accuracy. Machine guns were made smaller and faster. Barbed wire and poison gas were developed.
In response to Germany's development of the U-boat, a submarine, Britain expanded the Royal Navy and introduced the dreadnought, a large battleship. The French doubled the size of their army. Russia, Austria-Hungary and Italy also increased military spending.