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

"The nations of Europe stumbled into war by Aug 1914" Do you agree?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

History "The nations of Europe stumbled into war by Aug 1914" Do you agree? Although this is a period of history of which there is as much controversy as there are resources, it is difficult to determine the beginning of the causes for war, or the motives of the Powers. Some historians would date the beginning of the amenity and discord between the European Powers that eventually led to "the Great War" from as early as the end of the Franco- Prussian war and the unification of Germany in 1871. Since then, there followed a period of peace, but during this period, tensions continued, sometimes even threatening to "boil over" into war. The start of the tensions, or the "long-term" causes of the First World War is in debate, but most historians date this back to the end of the Franco-Prussian war (1871). Not only was the defeat a blow to French prestige, but the peace treaty also mean the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, an area of much dispute for many centuries, caused many of the French harboured hostile feelings towards the Germans, and this public opinion may have put pressure on the French government to pursue a vengeful, aggressive foreign policy based on "revenge". Many countries, especially France, became cautious of Germany, a newly unified country that would soon become a formidable force in European affairs. ...read more.

Middle

and internal affairs, however, but by 1902, perhaps as its colonies and home, Britain, was affected by European relations, broke out of its isolationism by aligning with Japan in 1902. These long-term causes for war, which do, by all means explain why there should be resentment behind a war, does not explain why the war broke out a particular time, or why the Powers allied as it did. At this stage, although to many, war seemed inevitable and only a matter of time, improved communications and relations between the Great Powers was not impossible, as the cordiality in early 1914 shows. However, although there was now feelings of animosity that may have affected international relations, they only really serve to illustrate the reasons for resentment. In themselves, the long-term causes are not sufficient to war over, or to cause a war of such large scale. None of them show that any one country had the aim of starting a war, although some, like Germany may have been prepared to go to war to achieve their means. Also, the Alliance system, which is often pointed out to be the Powers planning to go to war, have been overstated. Much of the "alliances" were merely understandings, sometimes even omitting any military related issues, that may have sought only better relations. The Anglo-French Entente Cordiale of 1904, for example, was simply an understanding. ...read more.

Conclusion

Europe was certainly preparing for a war by August 1914. Some even looked forward to it, inspired by Jingoism and by the years if resentment of other countries. However, war was not inevitable. The improved relations between Britain, France and Germany in early 1914 show this. Even after the July Crisis, no country went to war unwittingly or unintentionally. By this time, it is clear that most countries wanted war, perhaps to sort out internal problems or to end all the surmounting tension "by Christmas". Even after the July Crisis, war did not have to be an option as there was no formal military obligation to do so, nor were the Balkan problems so significant that the Powers have to go to war over hostility and possible war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia. Many even see Britain defending Belgian neutrality as a means of joining the war. Although it can be seen as some countries, such as France, had no other choice but to defend itself when Germany declared war on them, they still knew the implication of siding with Russia and by introducing conscription, they showed that they were prepared. I don't think that the nations of Europe "stumbled into war" as they did know what they were doing, many wanted it, and they had other alternatives to avoid war, but most headed straight for it. ...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. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    had cleverly given the impression that they had double their actual number of B-4 bombers. o After the Soviets tested the first ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) in 1957, US experts predicted a 'missile gap' by 1961 (USA would have 10 times fewer than the USSR).

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

    A secret society 'Narodna Obrana' was set up, which included generals and politicians among its members. * This organisation was a front for the Black Hand, a terrorist group, which began to assassinate Austrian officials. * Austrian hostility to Serbia grew when the Serbs almost doubled the size of their country after the two Balkan wars from 1912 to 1914.

  1. Why Was The Great War Not Over By Christmas 1914?

    Gradually, both sides dug a series of trenches that stretched from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border- 700km. The Western front moved little over the next four years. The land around it scarred the face of France and Belgium.

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

    The Russians, in turn, also appeared content to wait, in the meantime working militarily to secure maximum leverage for achieving their sphere-of-influence goals. What neither leader nor nation realized, perhaps, was that in their delay and scheming they were adding fuel to the fire of suspicion that clearly existed between

  1. American History.

    *Intellectual Trends: The Enlightenment* - Throughout the 18th century a new colonial elite was developing, and one of the things that began separating them from most other people was education, their use of "leisure" time, and their knowledge of the European intellectual movement known as The Enlightenment, which stressed a

  2. How And Why Did Britain Survive The War From 1940-1943?

    For example, pilots were brought in from the West Indies. Between July and September of 1940 waves of German bombers accompanied by Messerschmitt fighters attacked RAF bases in England, but due to the radar system the attacks were known to be coming.

  1. United Nations: The Wounded Dove

    But once again the UN had success in stopping the civil war. But the national elections which were held in Angola were not as successful because the UNITA rebels renewed fighting due to the outcome of the elections. The UN's came up with a compromise where Angola would have a

  2. How Stable Was the Tsarist Autocracy in 1914?

    It shows the general level of discontentment with the autocracy, showing us that protests were not strictly tied with economic principles but also, and much more importantly with political motivations. If the print workers, exceptionally well paid individuals, were "the most promising candidates for" roles in the strike processions, then

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