‘The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 was due to an aggressive foreign policy which had been waged since 1900 Century’ How far do you agree with this opinion? Use Sources V, W and X and your own knowledge of the issues relating to the controversy
There has been much historiographical debate over the controversy of “who bore chief responsibility” on who was solely to blame for the outbreak of war. The Treaty of Versailles is significant evidence to display how Germany was forced onto the conclusion that they caused the outbreak of war in Europe. Fischer, the provoker of this controversy, states that since 1900 Germany was able to execute a war due to their aggressive Weltpolitik. However, although many historians have agreed with, or adapted this argument, such as the view it was a ‘calculated risk’ or an ‘escape forward’ in order to relieve Germany from their domestic pressures, many have also criticised the approach. For instance, some historians believe that Germany stumbled into a defensive war in order to protect themselves and their ally Austria-Hungary. However, it could be mostly argued that it is most plausible that Germany had planned the war and their aggressive foreign policy aimed to provoke a war in order to help their plans of expansionism.
Fischer’s argument that the outbreak of the First World War was due to Germany’s aggressive foreign policy can be highly significant. Historians such as Berghahn state that Germany ‘tried to shift the balance of power in their favour’ through an aggressive policy of Weltpolitik. The Navy Race is clear evidence to support this viewpoint as it displays how Germany “built a battle fleet aimed at the British” attempting to expand their navy in order to compete with them. Some may argue against this though as they may regard it as a defensive war that Germany was fighting and were merely catching up with its European rivals. However, it is more conceivable that this was an attempt of an aggressive foreign...
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