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

To what extent was Germany guilty of causing the First World War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent was Germany guilty of causing the First World War? By Phillip Preston 12.8 The topic of German guilt in relation to World War One is one of the most fiercely debated ones in history. Although it is far easier to blame just one country, we must consider others that had a hand in the causing of the conflict, and to take a critical look at those countries that won the war, since they also are partly to blame. This blame however has been diminished in the classic 'victor code' (i.e. those who win have done no wrong and can write the story to suit their own glorification). What cannot be refuted is the aggression of Germany, and their desires for conflict to aid their international situation. It is therefore necessary to decide how far this contributed to war. This essay will demonstrate other factors and views that shed light on the fact that Germany was not completely to blame for the war, as so many think it is. Incidents such as the Alliance systems, the Imperial situation and of course, the Balkans, where the whole war started and was not, ironically, the direct result of a German action. ...read more.

Middle

What the alliances did lead to however, was the situation in the Balkans. The situation in the Balkans, with the two crises, was made ever more dangerous thanks to the alliances, as the two largest countries with interests in the region were Russia and Austria-Hungary whom were on opposite sides. This immediate situation can be attributed to Germany, since they started the alliance systems, and so they must take blame for this. Yet the two crises themselves cannot be the fault of Germany since they played no part in them. The Bosnian Crisis especially, since that was entirely owing to dealings between Austria-Hungary and Russia. Germany, and indeed the rest of the world, had no idea that these deals were going on! When the crisis came to fruition, Germany initially took the side of the Turks, leaving their ally in the lurch, and completely avoiding the possibility of conflict with Russia. This absolves Germany of blame entirely. The second crisis as well did not concern Germany. In fact the only hand that Germany had in these two crises was being the 'silent' power behind Austria-Hungary and took no direct action against or for any side, she is almost entirely absolved of any guilt on this charge. ...read more.

Conclusion

This again cleared Germany of any damning guilt associated with the war until the discovery of the 1912 'War Council' controversy in which German military leaders planned a war two years into the future. This again is not proof that they were guilty for the war, as Britain also wanted to wait for war so they could prepare their navy and so on. Indeed the Schlieffen plan was drawn up 20 years earlier and this cannot be taken as war guilt for its sheer ludicrousness. A military tactical plan drawn up by one German general 20 years earlier cannot be classed as proof they started the war since the French were doing exactly the same. As I said earlier, it was the presence of many such documents from all the different countries that led to war rather than the alliances. It is clear to see therefore, that whilst the evident aggressor of the period and driving force towards war was Germany, the many factors that caused the war can only be partially attributed to Germany, or in some cases, not at all. In light of the Treaty of Versailles, it is evident that the 'victor code' has indeed been enforced upon Germany who was made to take the blame for everyone. Surely denying your involvement in such a perpetration of destruction on an unimaginable scale is far worse than admitting your own small part in 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. To what extent were germany to blame for the outbreak of ww1

    If Germany were not directly involved in backing Austria she still may have declared war on Russia and Serbia. The arms race and the Morocco crisis are two long term causes that increased tension between the powers too. Overall, Looking at the events that occurred in the pre - war

  2. Total War, Britain during the Second World War

    During the war an extra 27,000,000 acres were ploughed up for arable. Land girls were often badly treated. One woman described her work in 1941. In a large farm in Lincolnshire we worked for twelve hours a day at very hard and monotonous work and received no training.

  1. Truman - Guilty or Innocent

    This was called the Truman Doctrine. It is often said that Truman advocated containment (stopping the Soviet getting any more powerful), but Truman did not use this word and many Americans spoke of "rolling back" communism. In June 1947, General George Marshall made a visit to Europe to see what was needed.

  2. American History.

    2.War in America is the same as war in Europe. 3.A military victory will automatically make the colonies come back to mommy Britain. - Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. They greatly underestimated American commitment to resistance and also didn't see that military victories would just not be enough to bring

  1. Causes of WWI.

    In March of 1918 Russia signed a treaty in Brest-Litovsk which put a formal end to the war and agreed to stop fighting. Russia was also forced to give up some of its land to the enemy. The war that was supposed to be over by Christmas seemed endless; however,

  2. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    * However, Khrushchev did not intend to weaken the ties between the Soviet Union and the other countries of Eastern Europe. o He set up the Warsaw Pact in 1955. This was a defensive alliance of the Eastern European countries, controlled by Moscow.

  1. The Prelude to the 1975 War and the Cairo Agreement.

    The absence of the Lebanese Army during the Israeli attack angered Lebanese Muslims. Prime Minister Saib Salam claimed that Army commander General Alexander Ghanim--a Maronite--had disobeyed orders by not resisting the Israeli raid, and he threatened to resign unless Ghanim were stripped of his rank.

  2. Interpretations of The First World War.

    The person who took the photograph must have been a soldier because it was taken from inside the actual trench. It couldn't have been a normal person because they couldn't get into the trench while a battle commenced. Considering the amount of violence and bombs it would be impossible!

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