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Are you more convinced by Structuralism or Intentionalism explanations for the causes of World War 1?

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Introduction

Are you more convinced by Structuralism or Intentionalism explanations for the causes of World War 1? The main causes of World War 1 can be roughly divided into Structuralist, long-term forces and attitudes, and Intentionalist, where individuals make premeditated acts, explanations. I think that Structuralism is a more convincing explanation for the causes of World War 1, as I do not personally believe that any individual was solely to blame for the First World War. I do not believe that any individual went out of their way to purposely cause the First World War. However I believe that a mixture of both is the cause of the outbreak of war in 1914, but think that structuralism is more to blame than imperialism. I think that no individual set out to cause a war and thus that no individual is solely to blame for World War 1, likewise I believe that no one structuralist idea was solely to blame, or that either structuralism or intentionalism could of caused the war without the aid of the other. Thus I think that the War would not have occurred if either structuralism or intentionalism had been absent. But I think that structuralism played more a part in causing the war than intentionalism did. ...read more.

Middle

While it is true that no African crises were severe enough to start an instant war, the friction created could account for behaviour in dealings with future affairs, for example, the Russian handling of Austria-Hungary in regard to Bosnia. There were also incidents in Europe which caused tension that could be classified as a structuralist argument. Austria-Hungarian and Russian interest in the Balkans also increased tension between the two empires, as did the Balkan League and Balkan wars. The previous examples were of foreign Structuralist arguments, but there were also domestic structuralist causes for the war. Prior to the war several governments were experiencing domestic difficulties. Russia had experienced a revolution in 1905 and Great Britain's Liberal government were also having problems with Ireland. A 'Brisk Jolly War' would have been perfect for restoring faith and popularity in the shaky governments. Germany's militaristic heritage also played a part in causing the war. During the unification of Germany the nation became accustomed to war as a means of achieving goals or settling disputes, as opposed to as a last resort, which made war seem more acceptable and thus the government would have been less hesitant to join the war in 1914. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some people may argue that the 'wobble' was staged to make an individual appear innocent, but I think this is unlikely as they did not expect the war to last as long or be as many deaths, so there would be no need to stage elaborate cover ups. Some historians may believe that Bethmann Hollweg was to blame for the war. But I think, again there was no premeditated decision to go to war. Although he wasn't consulted by the Kaiser over the blank cheque and he publicly approved of the proposal, personally I feel that he opposed it but felt obliged to support it to promote unity of the German government. In my opinion the outbreak of war in 1914 was caused by long-term structuralist causes. I think individuals cannot bear the majority of the blame for the war, but in different circumstances with different officials war may have been averted, or it possibly could have come sooner. However I think that no official made any attempt to create a reason for war or accelerate the process, but I think that is either was absent war ma not have occurred. However, after analysing the structuralist causes I believe that the war was caused more by structuralism than intentionalism, but no one structuralist cause was to blame. I think the war was a result of a majority of varied structuralist causes and a minor intentionalist influence. ...read more.

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