After a massive war, it easy to see why a lot people would point fingers at the country that lost the war. However, is this always correct; or do people jump to conclusions much too quickly? By doing this, do they also create a whole new kind of trouble for themselves to come in later years? Some may suggest that it is more productive to look at the events leading up to the war to determine who was at fault. The blame attached to World War One (WWI) is not exclusively German, but may lie with the concepts of militarism, imperialism, nationalism, and alliances.
Militarism played an immense part in the start of WWI and without it, there was a chance WWI would have never have lasted as long as it did. Militarism is when an entire country is in love with the idea of war. Soldiers were considered to be very god-like, and citizens only focused on the favorable aspects of war: serving one’s country, being honored, and having women fall all over them. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, both France’s and Germany’s armies had nearly doubled in size due to militarism. Germany was in competition with France to obtain Europe’s—some might even argue the world’s—largest army. Keeping a strong army was important to Germany because it helped to demonstrate to the rest of the world that they were a rising power. It also helped show other countries—who once wrote Germany off—that if they dared challenge them, they would pay dearly.
In addition, Germany was also in competition with Great Britain. At the time Britain had the largest navy; something Germany envied. Once Britain started introducing their new battleships, named the Dreadnoughts, Germany followed suit. Soon afterwards they widened their canals, making it easier for battleships to pass through them. Great Britain, meanwhile, started setting up new naval bases in Scotland.
Since Germany no longer had a small army and navy, France and Britain both felt threatened. They felt they had to keep up Germany’s growing military. Great Britain and France were in an arms race before they knew it! An arms race is a competition between countries to acquire the largest military, translating into the greatest force. The army and naval arms race were just the first few steps towards WWI, the war Germany was blamed for. Imperialism was another one of the reasons WWI started. Imperialism is when a country controls the economic, social, and political aspects of another country. All across England countries were fighting for the right to rule other nations. These nations were unprepared for the fight against the Englishmen and usually lost. The white men felt it was their duty to rule these “savages.” After all, how could people of different colored skin be of the same intellect as white men? This type of “saving” people was called Whiteman’s Burden. Imperialism also happened when other countries wanted another nation’s natural resources. Other times imperialism happened to show natives the “right” kind of religion. When countries imperialize, they also get a new market to sell to. In the 1800s, Europe began to imperialize Africa. During this time, France and Britain had control of large areas of Africa. The rise of industrialism had increased the need to imperialize. Because of the vast amount of land Britain and France occupied in Africa, this increased the rivalry with Germany. Germany only “owned” a small proportion of Africa. This was because they had started to colonize later than the rest of Europe. Imperialism, although not as big as part as the others, did play a role in WWI. Nationalism was basically the ticking time bomb that would start WWI. Nationalism mean being proud of one’s country or ethnic group. Although nationalism can bring a country closer, it can also tear a country apart, and—in some cases, like WWI—start a war. For example if a country is made up of many different ethnic groups nationalism can divide a country...