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Did Germany cause World War One?

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Introduction

Did Germany cause World War One? The polarities of the question on War origins can be summed up in two phrases: Germany planned and caused the War and The nations of Europe stumbled into War. Between these two extremes is a broad central position which, historians have been debating for years. While no one nation can entirely hold responsibility for the War, some nations hold more responsibility than others. For centuries, historians have had swinging opinions on the matter. In the 1920s and 30s, German historians managed to turn the page and succeeded in proving the 'War guilt', announced in 1919, at the treaty of Versailles, as being unfair. Naturally, later in the 1940s British historians found ways to prove the German historians of the 20s and 30s wrong. More recently, in the 1960s a German historian, Fritz Fischer, renewed accusations for German responsibilities for War, basing them on German expansionist aims from early in the century. At no point is Germany the sole carrier of responsibility for the War, but from all perspectives, Germany is by far the most contributing. ...read more.

Middle

Fischer says that the decision was taken in late 1912 that Germany should launch a war at the first favorable opportunity. 'Its main objectives would be to achieve expansionist goals in Europe and overseas. Germany would expand her power base in Europe by annexing territory in the east and possibly in the west as well.' A German perspective was that a successful War would enable Germany to become a colonial power in Africa by acquiring French and Belgian colonies - the "Mittelafrica" policy. By this, Fischer emphasizes the German desire for War and "Weltpolitik". German efforts during the July 1914 crisis were consistent with this aim. Firstly, Germany put pressure on it brother Austria-Hungry to act against Serbia even if it meant an outbreak of a general War. Hence the 'blank cheque' of July 5th, when Austria-Hungry was sworn alliance and full support by Germany. Secondly, the German Chancellor was not seeking a peaceful solution but was adapting to create the most favorable situation for a German victory. ...read more.

Conclusion

This pride was a constantly emphasized by the Kaiser. He was preparing his country for war and showed it naturally through his pride in his accomplishments. The idea of colonizing is very much related to this idea. Historian, Dr. J. Winter, states that a German mentality was that 'They deserved'. What they deserved; saying there country was good and therefor more land was what they deserved, more power, "Weltpolitik". Germany was mentally ready for war, and according to the Kaiser Wilhelm II, war was the only possible next step. Under no conditions would it be historically correct to take either one of the polarities of the question whether Germany caused World War One or not. There is no doubt that Germany carries a major weight on its back, on which guilt is printed, but there were other causes, not German related, that contributed. The cause of outbreak of war is directly related to the incident on the 5th of July 1914, whose causes were ruling decisions made, who by themselves were influenced by rise in international tension from about 1905, which was generated grossly by Germany. ...read more.

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