origins of world war 1

Topics: World War I, Russian Empire, German Empire Pages: 2 (1274 words) Published: October 24, 2014

(A) Write short pen portraits of Wilhelm II and Nicholas II explaining their rank, how long they had been in power and what kind of leaders they had been up to 1914. (B) Explain the meaning and political message behind any two of the following snippets from these telegrams: Kaiser – ‘deserved punishment’

Tsar – ‘ignoble war’
Name: Laura O’Reilly
Student no: 14708891
Module: HI117 Writing the History of War and Society
Lecturer: Dr Gearoid Barry
Tutor: James O’ Donnell
Word Count: 1168
Date of Submission: 22 October 2014
World War One would see so many atrocities that even those at the helm would eventually feel its wrath. By 1917 Tsar Nicholas II of Russia would be executed by the Bolshevik’s, while Kaiser Wilhelm II would be cast aside after Germany’s brutal defeat at the hands of the allies. During their time as rulers, both had made crucial decisions that affected not only their own empires but the wider world. The Tsar inherited a regime resented by many social classes, forcing him to contend with an unstable country on the edge of rebellion and hungry for democracy. The Kaiser meanwhile offered a range of conflicting personalities to the public, blowing hot and cold on numerous occasions, with the result that many considered him a weak and unpredictable leader. This war would see the last Tsar of Russia and the last Emperor of Germany fall drastically from power. Kaiser Wilhelm II accession to the Throne in 1888 came at the age of 29 after the death of his father. Wilhelm was considered an erratic and narcissistic man. Born with a withered arm, a birth defect that throughout his life he sought to hide. Wilhelm looked towards the British Empire as a role model, but also as a serious rival. The dismissal of Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor in 1890, saw Wilhelm pursue a more adventurous foreign policy and with Bernard Von Bulow’s concept of Weltpolitik, proceeded to expand the empire with colonies in Namibia, Tanzania and Papa New...
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