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German Responsible for Ww1

By dallasboyz May 17, 2009 1037 Words
World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global military conflict which involved the majority of the world’s great powers, organized into two opposing military alliances: the Triple Entente (United Kingdom, France, and Russian Empire) and the Triple Alliance (German Empire, Austro-Hungarian Empire, and Italy). World War One which broke out it 1914 was a total war, where all industries geared towards war. The July Crisis and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand resulted in a conflict which should have been local and confined but due to a series of factors, German foreign policy, fear of encirclement, nationalism, this one incident led to the greatest war Europe had ever seen. In numerous perspectives, Germany did appear to be mostly accountable for the war; however, they were other events which consider the events in other countries in Europe. Germany was responsible for the World War One because Germany wanted a war to achieve its expansionist aims, which are referred to as Weltpolitik. This aggressive policy brought about the war because it was responsible for several major diplomatic crises that would eventually lead to war. Examples of these crises are the First Moroccan crisis of 1905-6, the Bosnian crisis of 1908-9, and the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911. In detail of the First Moroccan Crisis, Germany’s foreign policy, Weltpolitik made the German’s dissatisfied with its exclusion from world affairs thus intervened when France was given a free hand in Morocco. This example clearly shows that the provocative and deliberate aims of Germany’s expansionist world policy, inevitably led to the atmosphere of mutual antagonism in Europe which made diplomatic maneuvers for peace impossible and therefore, paved the way for war. In addition, the war aims of Germany as described in the ‘September Programme’ depict German quest for hegemony. The German Chancellor, Bethmann Hollweg announced Germany’s “September Programme” of war aims. The general aim of the war was for security of the third Reich in the west and east. For that purpose, France must be weakened and so as Russia. In the 1960s the historian Fritz Fischer famously argued that Germany’s ‘September Programme’ of war aims represented the climax of a conscious policy of German expansionism and that Germany had sought war as a means to declare her world power. Furthermore, following the assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke, Franz Ferdinand by a Slavic nationalist, Gavrilo Princip, the leader of Germany, Kaiser Wilhelm II offered Austro-Hungarian Emperor Franz Joseph full support of Austro-Hungarian plans to invade Serbia. This unconditional support for Austria-Hungary was granted with a ‘blank cheque’. As seen at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, this "blank cheque" notably licensed Austro-Hungarian aggression regardless of the diplomatic consequences, and thus Germany was perceived to have started the war, or at least provoked a wider conflict. These examples demonstrate that Germany was indeed somewhat responsible for World War One. The argument that Germany provoked the war into existence as a result of its foreign policy of territorial expansion as means of European domination is advocated strongly by such historians as Fritz Fischer and Immanuel Geiss. Moreover, the German historian, Fritz Fischer, argued that the German government and general staff precipitated an escalation of the Austro-Serb crisis in order to launch what they considered a ‘preventive war’ against Russia and France. A preventive war is a war that is launched to remove a rival before they become a threat. If war did not come about, Germany at least hoped to weaken the Triple Entente and win a moral victory that would increase the prestige and stability of Germany. Other countries involved in World War 1 such as the United Kingdom and France hold Germany responsible for the war through Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles (1919), which is commonly known as the “Guilt Clause” or the "War Guilt Clause", in which Germany was forced to take complete responsibility for starting World War I. At least one historian, Margaret McMillan however, has outlined that this long held proposition is mistaken, and considers other causes such as the encirclement of Germany. Germany was encircled by France and Russia, and later in 1907, Britain also fully joined this encirclement, which forced Germany to look for a more aggressive defense if it was to survive in the event of war. This belligerent defense took the form of a plan advocated by General Staff Schlieffen which planned for victory in both on the Western Front against France and against Russia in the east, taking advantage of expected differences in the three countries' speed in preparing for war. The Schlieffen plan was formulated after Russia’s defeat by Japan. His plan called on Germany to quickly defeat France before Russia could mobilize. While Kaiser can be given some responsibility for allowing this plan to take place and be enacted in 1914, the real blame lies in the circumstances of the alliance system which were caused mostly by the agreements between the imperial powers about their spheres of influence and their territories. In conclusion, Germany is to some extent responsible for the outbreak of the war in 1914. The aggressive policy of Weltpolitik in Germany was perceived to have increased tension and antagonism amongst European countries following the Morocco Crisis. Additionally, the German ‘September Programme’ which outlined its war aims represented Germany’s expansionist policy and quest for world domination. Germany was in search of security, stability, and prestige. On the other hand, few argue that France, Russia, and Britain’s encirclement of Germany inevitably caused a war since it challenged German nationalism and militarism. Out of fear of encirclement, Germany developed the Schlieffen plan to prepare for an outbreak of war. There are many other factors that must be taken in to consideration when discussing the outbreak out this war such as economic pressure, nationalism, the ongoing conflicts in Serbia and the rest of Europe, also the so called alliance system. World War 1 was a result of aggression and tension in Europe; all of Europe played a part in the outbreak of war not just Germany. World War 1 had many complex causes rather than one main one.

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