• 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. Total War, Britain during the Second World War

    In 1944 Winston Churchill stated that: This war effort could not have been achieved if the women had not marched forward in millions and undertaken all kinds of tasks and work. However, two months later Churchill refused to allow women schoolteachers the same pay as men and called the request impertinence.

  1. 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.

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

    Khrushchev was not slow in making the most of this opportunity and put the missile there. The aim of both nations was to raise the amount of weapon and put missiles as close to the other country as it possible.

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

    supremacy at sea and the Kaiser made many actions then were designed to insult Britain. In 1897 he took over the Chinese port of Kiao-Chow, in 1298 several Spanish Pacific islands were purchased and the Kaiser visited the Ottoman Empire signifying that he was there true friend.

  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

    When the agrarian revolution surges forward, it will certainly not stop at the artificial limits which the Stalinists seek to set to it by their reformist land program. The peasant hates the big landlord with an abiding hatred. His hatred extends to the Kuomintang regime, which is the political agent of his exploiters and oppressors.

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

    A similar warning from Poincare to the Austrian ambassador in St Petersburg that 'Serbia had friends'4 did nothing to deter Vienna from its course of action. By 31st of July the Common Ministerial Council met again following news of Russian mobilisation but, determined to stay their course, they consciously risked a general war with Russia (and therefore France)

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