German aggression was responsible for the outbreak of a general European War in August 1914. How far do you agree with this judgement?
For many Historians, the responsibility for the outbreak of a general European War in August 1914 has been an area of great debate. Historians such as Gordon Corrigan in Source 1 support other historians such as Fischer who hold the view that it was primarily German aggression which caused the outbreak of war. Yet others, such as James Joll in Source 3 believe it was not purely Germany’s fault but the result of rising tensions among the entirety of Europe. L.F.C Turner, in Source 2, agrees to an extent with both of the views. However, on the face of it the view that German aggression was responsible for the outbreak of a general European War in August 1914 is the most compelling. Firstly, Corrigan in Source 1 ultimately agrees with the assertion that German aggression was responsible for the outbreak of a general European war in August 1914. The view is evidenced as Corrigan states that Germany had in place a ‘plan for an aggressive war’ . . . as ‘early as 1906’. This can be seen as the Schlieffen Plan 1905 entailed potentially unprovoked attacks on both France and Belgium. The plan envisaged the German army using a six week period to quickly attack and defeat France, thus being able to focus all their forces on the East, preventing a war on two fights which they would be unable to win. Turner, in Source 2 agrees with Corrigan’s view as he says that the mobilization of France was a ‘reaction to the German war plan’ again referring to the Schlieffen Plan of 1905. Corrigan, in source 1 quotes Fisher who developed the thesis that Germany sought European dominance and ‘went to war to achieve these aims’ and therefore was to blame for the outbreak of a general European War. Evidence of this can be seen as from the 1890s, Germany followed a policy of Weltpolik, which entailed seeking colonial expansion and a more dominant position...
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