If you would ask people who was responsible for world war one, most of them would say – Germany. But even though after WW1, the blame was given on Germany, Many historians are still unsure which country was most responsible for the outbreak of war.
Since 1900, there was tension in Europe. There were wars and other events that caused crisis in countries. But the spark of the world war lit only after the 28 June 1914, when Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary.
Serbia became the most powerfully Balkan State, and felt confident enough to threaten Austria. The Serbian prime minister said: ‘the first round is won; now for the second round- against Austria’. Austria decided that Serbia would have to be dealt with. By 1914 it was looking for good excuse to crush Serbia.
The opportunity came with the assassination of the archduke. Austria blamed Serbia. They wanted to crush Serbia, but they needed support, because they knew that if they begin a war against Serbia, Russia will support Serbia. Austria asked support from Germany. The biggest mistake that Germany made was giving a ‘Blank Cheque’ to Austria. This was the German guarantee of unconditional support.
Immediately after this, Austria gave Serbia an ultimatum that would have made Serbia a part of Austria. Serbia didn’t accept it. On 28 July 1914, Austria declared war on Serbia. And the slide to all-out war had begun.
From source 1.1- the German ‘Blank cheque’ to Austria, we can see that Germans were prepared for the war - “Russia’s attitude will no doubt be hostile, but to this he [Kaiser Wilhelm’s] had been for years prepared, and should a war between Austria-Hungary be unavoidable, we might be convinced that Germany, our faithful ally, would stand by our side.”
This was written by an Austrian ambassador in Berlin. From this source we can clearly see, that Germany were prepared to fight a war.