World War One
Account for the feelings of hostility towards the Austria-hungry Empire by Serb nationalists in 1914:
Austria was what stood in the way of progress of the Serbian nation. Serbia was a direct threat to the survival of the multinational Austrian Empire and for that reason Austria felt it necessary to thwart Serbia's plans for growth and development. The Serbs desired more land, especially a coastline with an all important sea port, Austria denied them this by, in the peace treaty of 1912, creating a new country between Serbia and the coast, Albania. Austria also had Imperial control over several Slavic states, to which she denied national self-determination. The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria in 1908, and the subsequent threat of war by the Empire had also been a major factor in creating the hostility between the two sides.
Assess the extent to which Germany provoked the war of 1914:
The Actions and policies of Germany before 1914 were largely provocative towards the other powers of Europe and thus a major factor in the build-up to war.
With the Accent of a new Kaiser, Kaiser William II to the throne and the retirement of Chancellor Bismarck Germany embarked on a series of aggressive reforms and developments to her foreign policies. Kaiser Bill himself was threatening to the other leaders. His proud, militarist and power-hungry features, caused him to be viewed in a questionable light and the policies he instigated for Germany caused the same reaction. Central to the foreign policies of Germany was Weltpolitik (world policy), which involved the move from a continental power to a world power through colonial and naval expansion.
Chancellor Bismarck had prevented Germany from threatening the other Empires by her foreign policies but it wasn't long before Germany's determination for a place in the sun' drew the attention of Britain and France. Her aggressive grabs for colonial acquisitions, her rapid naval expansion and increasing military strength were seen as, not only a direct threat to their own individual positions within Europe but as an attempt at world domination, particularly as Germany's international position was already strong. This created enormous tension that spread through all other nations and caused them to alter their own foreign policies and military status in answer to the threat from Germany. Thus Germany was largely responsible for the stress of the arms race and desperate desires for colonial expansion in the other powers, which created tension that largely, contributed to the outbreak of war in 1914
Germany too, was largely responsible for the creation of the alliance systems that meant any conflict would develop into an international crisis. She began with an alliance with Austria to support the other if attacked, which then spurned the creation of the alliances between France, Britain and Russia. In the opinion of the historian J. Lochlan this was a major contributing factor to the buildup of tension between the rival powers.
When this tension reached crisis point Germany was once again responsible for the direction the events took. Her assurance to Austria of a blank cheque' for support in the conflict with Serbia allowed Austria to act rashly in instigating war with the Serbs. Had Germany been more cautious in their support of Austria, Austria in turn would have acted more responsibly. Indirectly Germany had once again provoked the powers of Europe and driven them towards war
The final provocation from Germany towards the other powers was direct indeed. On the third of August, when Russia, Austria and Serbia were already at war, Germany invaded Belgium. The implications of this were enormous. Firstly it was a huge threat to both France and Britain, who, if it wasn't for Germany's action may have stayed clear of the squabble. Once in Belgium Germany had a clear path to both France and the English...
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