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

The 'cause' of the First World War.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The 'cause' of the First World War has always been a subject of intense debate. There are many explanations on offer and it is easy to conform to one of the crude views expressed by the warring governments that it was one power or a group of powers that provoked war. We must look at the wider picture; from the cometh of war in 1914 all the major powers had some military plans drawn up for the eventuality of conflict, be it a war of attrition or a war that had been forced upon them, they all had plans which would defeat at least one major adversary. Early in the war Lenin a Russian Marxist, living in Switzerland offered an explanation that the war was the product of large economic forces embedded in the capitalist system. This view argues it was militant imperialism which capitalism had created, rather than mismanagement of the July Crisis of 1914. Alternatively, Geiss argued that German was aggressive by its very 'nature' as it defined her role based on the theory of Social Darwinism; that is the belief in the survival of the fittest. With the 'concentric circles' of Joll we can identify such a link with capitalism and militant imperialism. Especially when we look at the roles of Walther Ratheneau head of the industrial giant A.E.G. ...read more.

Middle

In order to do this, he required colonies and its aims with the Second Fleet Act in 1900 a large Navy to accompany. This made the British suspicious of Germany's intentions and with the aim of an equal force by 1917; a naval race began with the construction of the British 'Dreadnought', responding the German's also began construction, there actually appears to be an armament race between the two nations as statistics show how spending on the military increased dramatically between the years. For example, Germany on her army alone in 1880 spent a total of 18.2 million (Britain 15m) then in 1914 the total had raised to 88.4 million, with the Germans spending four times as much as Britain. The Navy had also seen a significant boost in spending, which had increased from 2.4 million in 1880 (10.2m Britain) to 22.4 million in 1914 actual five fold increases with the British spending practically double that. Many European nations also desired Empire or at least the economic benefits of one. Between 1870 and 1914, much of Africa was colonised by the European community, the 'scramble for Africa' had began with the German Kaiser wanting his 'place in the sun' , German colonies which had led to several disputes one of which being over Morocco in 1906-11 between Germany and France. ...read more.

Conclusion

Previously it signed an alliance with Japan to guard against Russian expansionism and took pre-emptive action against such French measures. However, it reconciled it differences with France and then Russia. Germany possibly unconsciously had kept to the more traditional methods of using might to achieve their aims; expansion and Empire, building a fleet to challenge the British and the Schlieffen Plan to defeat France and Belgium. However, despite making this plan Zechlin justifies the action "Germany was ready to accept the risk of war, but had no desires to provoke it". With the 'concentric circles' of Joll which discuss the mix between personalities and the Marxist arguments of economics as the driving force. We may be able to contradict the view that Germany's warmongering caused the First World War through the Willy-Nicky telegrams (between Kaiser Wilhelm and Tsar Nicholas II) which are thoroughly friendly; with the "Need for peace...loving relationship". Or is this material only partly useful as it is on purely a peaceful front, written by two cousins - if the two were friendly was it economics which dragged Europe into war? Whatever, the national, economical or personal attributes if the Marxist views are accepted the blame lies on the power struggle between the imperialist powers and capitalist economics. "Was it a badly mismanaged Balkan crisis or long-standing rivalries that caused the First World War?" *********** Page 1 of 7 ...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. Was the assassination of Franz Ferdinand the most important cause of World War one?

    Ferdinand and his wife were shot by a Bosnian Serb student - Gavirilo Princip. Princip was a member of "Black Hand", an organisation committed to forcing Austria out of Bosnia.

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

    * Under normal circumstances the murder of the Arch Duke would have passed without major repercussions, but the build-up of alliances and the consequent heightening of tensions turned what was a political matter into an international tragedy. * The Austrian government had been looking for an excuse to crush Serbia, which stood in their way in the Balkans.

  1. The First World War was the result of a badly mismanaged Balkan crisis in ...

    In 1898 and 1900 two navy bills were passed, the first proposing 19 battleships, the second doubling that figure. However it wasn't until 1905-06 that Germany's policy of Weltpolitik troubled Britain. It was the development of the "Dreadnought" in Britain that gave Germany a chance to catch up.

  2. From rebellion through rivalries to reformation

    Palasch, then, punctuated his newfound recognition on Larry King Live, clearly delineating how a Skinhead is just the opposite of a hippy and giving hope and purpose to an entire generation.

  1. China After World War II

    Their situation was exceedingly miserable during the war. With city wholesale prices multiplying 4,000 times as the spiral of inflation mounted, the position of the fixed-income group can be better imagined than described. Their living standards dropped below those of the workers.

  2. 'No power wanted war, but all were willing to risk one.' Discuss this ...

    to fight a local war with Serbia. Russia was also a troubled state in 1914 following six decades of military defeat ending with the catastrophe at the hands of Japan in 1904-05. This was followed by a number of diplomatic defeats to Germany and Austria-Hungary in the early twentieth century, notably in 1908 during the Austrian annexation of Bosnia.

  1. Total War, Britain during the Second World War

    Hitler justified the Blitz by claiming that German bombers were attacking military targets. German propaganda films described attacks on war factories and installations, but most German bombing was at night and was indiscriminate. The Blitz was an attempt to destroy industry.

  2. This graduation paper is about U.S. - Soviet relations in Cold War period. Our ...

    Western desires to have a voice over Soviet actions in the Balkan states, particularly Romania. By not giving Russia an opportunity to participate in the Italian surrender, the West-in effect-helped legitimize Russia's desire to proceed unilaterally in Eastern Europe. Although both Churchill and Roosevelt were "acutely conscious of the great

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