Analyze the causes of WW1
Many historians and politicians have been trying to analyze the causes for the World War I. By the War was over, different opinions had already been developed. The english Prime Minister David Lloyd Georg (1863-1945) said: “None of the leading Man had wanted War, all of them just slid into it.” Whereas the French Prime Minister George Clemenceau blamed Germany for having the main War Guilt. Since 1961 historians are controversially questioning the War Guilt. In his book “Griff nach der Weltmacht” (Grabbing the World Power), the German historian Fritz Fischer claims the Germans to have the main responsibility too. Other historians, like the australian Christopher Clarks disagree with this statement. In his book “Die Schlafwandler”, which means the sleepwalkers, he relies on L. Georges point of view.
Is there a main war guilt, or are all countries to blame?
To answer those question I will be looking at the conditional causes of the war. To sum up I will form my own critical point of view on the war guilt.
There are six main causes for the World War I. The Scramble for Africa, which marks Morocco between 1906 and 19011. Then Alsace-Lorraine, which had been taken by the Germans after the French-German War. Another cause was the Russo-Turkish War in 1878 and the Balkan countries breaking free, followed by wars starting in 1913. The Naval Race, where the british built the Dreadnought, so the Germans started building a big Navy: “The german emperor Wilhelm II had a dream of being an imperial ruler. He ordered the construction of several large and powerful boats.”, leading to other countries starting to build massive gun battleships. Further, the Alliance System with the triple Alliance formed between Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary in 1882, France and Russia then signing an agreement in 1894, followed by an agreement called the Entente Cordial, signed in 1904 by France and Britain which Russia then joined, making it the Triple Entente. And the developing Nationalism, plus the previous Age of Imperialism, which had lead to Colonialism. As an example, “Am Deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen”, which means the world shall heal by the German race, had been Kaiser Wilhelm II lead quote. What triggered the outbreaking of the war though has been the July Crisis, with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on July 24, 1914, heir to the throne of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. The main responsibility for causing the First World War has Germany. Its war planning had been led by General von Schlieffen, who drew up a war plan in 1905, “The Schlieffen Plan”, which proposed to knock out France ﬁrst and then turn against Russia. In order to avoid French fortresses, German troops had to invade France via Belgium, whose neutrality was guaranteed by Britain. The acceptance of the plan meant that as soon as the Russian troops started to mobilize, Germany had to attack France. This dilemma left little space for diplomacy to solve conﬂicts. In addition the German had an aggressive Armaments Policy, shown in the Naval Race. In general Germanys Foreign Policy had been quiet aggressive under the control of Kaiser Wilhelm II, which has already been pointed out in the upper paragraph. The central powers were completely underestimated by the Germans. Another fact is the pressure Germany had put onto Austria-Hungary for them to send an ultimatum to Serbia that they knew Serbia could not take, because it would have lost its state sovereignty. This leads to Russia entering the war. Due to the Germans invading the neutral Belgium the war expanded and England joined in. Further Germany annexed Alsace-Lorraine after the war between Germany and France in 1871 under Bismarck which made them archenemies. As well as the blank cheque Germany
Muriel Blechschmidt, D1
provided Austria-Hungary with. In addition to that, Germany had been the country declaring the unlimited U-Boat Warfare, which led to America joining the war. Until this point America had been very distant.
On the other hand, a large number of historians has been convinced that Germany was not responsible for the outbreaking of WW1. W. Hubbatsch commented “Germany did not want war.” and W. Mommson said “Everyone wanted war - Germany had simply been faster with its attacking plans compared to its competitors.” On the other hand, J.W. Bestuschew demented “The Politics of all central powers had objectively led into war.”. The one convinced of Germany having been the main cause is F. Fischer, who’s statement “The German leadership has the main guilt.” directly points out his view. W. Hubbatsch statement however, is incorrect due to Germany encouraging Austria-Hungary declaring War on Serbia, risking a War outbreaking. Nevertheless Germany believed that Russia would not be strong enough to ﬁght a War because of its defeat against Japan in the Manchuria 1904/05, where it had lost a lot of soldiers and war materials, so it would turn out in the same way as it did in 1908 during the bosnian crisis, where Russia has been avoiding war, which would have led to a growing presentation of Austria-Hungary at the Balkans. Because of that it is possible to say that Germany expected the consequences of a potential war not to be very fatal. All other countries have responsibility for causing World War I. Russia was dedicated to greater their power at the Balkans. Their mobilization had been done way too quickly without waiting for the result of negotiations between AustriaHungary and Serbia. Its War politics had been supported massively and its mobilization encouraged by France, which makes France responsible too. England aimed to be have the biggest Navy and to maintain its main colonial power. However, during the July Crisis it started a mediation attempt in the Serbia conﬂict, which the German Empire turned down. So the German Empire properly forced Austria-Hungary to declare War on Serbia. “The richest European Country had been the most dissatisﬁed at the same time; the strongest, the most restless.” - Journalist Sebastian Haffner, Essay “Die sieben Todsünden des Deutschen Reiches. Grundfehler deutscher Politik nach Bismarck damals und heute” (The seven mortal sins of the German Empire. Main mistakes of Bismarck’s leadership in the past and today), 1965
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