• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

'Germany started the First World War

Extracts from this document...


'Germany started the First World War.' Do you agree? In order to answer the complex question of whether Germany 'started' the First World War, many key factors and decisions have to be considered. At the end of the First World War, the Allied powers forced Germany to sign the War Guilt Clause, as they believed that 'the war (was) imposed on them by Germany and her allies.'1 It was the acceptance of the War Guilt Clause by the German authorities that has often led to the belief that Germany started the First World War. Other factors that have also added to these beliefs, is the evidence which suggests that Germany had intentionally planned attacks upon Russia and Germany's naval and imperial expansions which caused fear among the other European powers. However, there were many other factors that merged to create the environment, which led to the beginning of the First World War. These factors range from the economic, industrial, and military developments of other European powers, the Anglo-German arms race, the development of the Alliance system and the tensions and conflicts caused by Imperialism. The aim of this essay is to assess to what extent the start of the First World War could be attributed to the fault of Germany. ...read more.


The European powers believed in theory that the existence of alliances and treaties would maintain the balance of power. It was believed that alliances posed as a check upon the European powers, as the existence of an 'opposition of an equally formidable rival, or of a combination of several countries forming leagues of defence.' 8 However, in retrospect the existence of the alliance system is the main reason behind why many of the European powers became involved in the War. The alliance system led to introduction of two separate forces within Europe, which increased the hostility and fear within European foreign policy. In 1914, Germany believed that Austria-Hungry was their only dependable and trustworthy ally who had to be supported at all costs, which was an important motive for Germany's decision to join the War.9 Germany felt this feeling of external isolation due to a series of secret alliances, which had been made by the other European powers. In1902, Italy had signed a secret alliance with France, in which she declared her neutrality in the event of a Franco-German War. In addition to this, Britain also made ententes or sphere of influence agreements with France and Russia. ...read more.


a number as possible."14 The quick and glorious growth of the German naval fleet led to the fear of the British government, which pushed Britain closer towards the French and Russians. The situation between Germany and Britain was further aggravated by the rejection of all suggestions from Britain in terms of limited naval armaments.15 The situation between the two countries led to a more clear distinction between the European powers into two groups of the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. In conclusion, the question of whether Germany started the First World War can only be assessed after weighing up the importance of all the causes, which led to the War. Although, Germany played a significant part in the beginning of the Cold War, it can be argued that the First World War was a consequence of the all the factors added together. A true assessment of this question is summed up by Fischer, as he says that all the European powers bare the blame but "as Germany willed and coveted the Austro-Serbian war, and in her confidence in her military superiority, deliberately faced the risk of conflict with Russia and France, her leaders must bear a substantial share of the historical responsibility for the outbreak of general war. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    * In addition, Clemenceau wanted guarantees that this could never happen again. He demanded that the Rhineland should be handed over to France to prevent an attack from there in the future.

  2. To what extent were germany to blame for the outbreak of ww1

    different to my mind as it was an offensive plan - meaning they would attack first. This tells me Germany was planning war. Taylor and Ritter believed that Germany was at fault and the main evidence for this was the Schliffen plan.

  1. To What extent was German Foreign Policy responsible for the outbreak of general European ...

    It was felt that Russia was now prepared economically and militarily, thanks to the 'Great Programme' initiated by Sukhomlinov if war presented itself. It was this confidence that also motivated the military leaders because as Keith Wilson described it, "the use of force to support Russian diplomacy was no longer precluded by military weakness".

  2. How Significant were the Normandy landings in Defeating Germany in World War Two?

    His forces were just suffering their first defeats in the USSR and the German army was already stretched on a number of different fronts. This clearly shows that the Germans were failing before they had begun. I believe this relates to the cartoon; the troops in the picture are defeated before they have even begun.

  1. Was the alliance system responsible for the outbreak of World War 1 in 1914?

    The visit was intended to serve as a demonstration that Morocco could count on German help against French expansion. Tension flared and Great Britain and France were extremely angry over what they considered to be their business. France and Britain became even closer allies; this was not the result Germany was hoping for and its place in the sun diminished.

  2. The Cold War was a big rivalry that developed after World War II.

    Marshall asked that all of the countries of Europe communists and capitalists alike to draw up a plan for economic recovery from the war.(13) The Soviets refused to participate, because they saw it as America using money to buy its way into good terms with Europe.

  1. How far was Germany responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914?

    Germany did not just expand their navy though, expansion of the army was very important to Germany at this time. They were a newly emerging world power and needed to demonstrate their military might. Germany's geographical position in Europe meant that she was surrounded by potential enemies and needed a

  2. "Of all the factors that led to the outbreak of World War I in ...

    In July of 1914, Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the thrown of Austrio-Hungarian Empire, visited the city of Sarajevo in the newly annexed state of Bosnia. This was a perfect opportunity for nationalistic Serbs to accomplish an assasination. Successfully, a member of a Serbian nationalistic union known as the Black Hand assasinated the Archduke and his wife.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work