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To what extent was Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War One?

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Introduction

To what extent was Germany responsible for the outbreak of World War One? On the 1st of August 1914 World War One, also known as the Great War, started. The main countries involved were: Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, Britain, France and Russia. World War One ended at 11am on 11th November 1918. In 1919, Lloyd George of England, Orlando of Italy, Clemenceau of France and Woodrow Wilson from the US met to discuss how Germany was to be made to pay for the damage World War One had caused. They decided to create the Treaty of Versailles. In this there were a total of 440 clauses. The first 26 clauses dealt with the establishment of the League of Nations. The remaining 414 clauses spelled out Germany's punishment. This makes it seem that Germany was 100% to blame for the war. - But was this really the case? This is what I am going to explain in my essay. Their are many reasons that suggest that Germany was responsible for World War One. The tension in Europe, caused by Germany, really started after The Franco-Prussian War (1870-71), when the German army attacked France. The Germans won this short war. As a 'prize' they took the regions of Alsace and Lorraine from France. Alsace Lorraine was a province near the border of Germany and there wasn't much point of them taking it, only for Germany to have more land. ...read more.

Middle

Bismarck warned that this violation would be folly in that it would drag Britain into the conflict. Germany decided to ignore Bismarck and carry on. This suggests that Germany almost wanted Britain involved. When the Germans went through Belgium the Belgium Army was there. They put up quite a fight and this delayed procedures. This meant the Germans would have to work even quicker to get back to Russia before they attack. On the other hand many people argue that it is not Germany's responsibility for the outbreak of World War One. One of these reasons is because of Nationalism. People across the world were very eager to let the rest of the world see how strong and important their country was. Many people thought that their country was better than others: and thought that they'd be able to win a war very easily if there was one. This means that other people wanted to go to war, for example the British and French were celebrating in the streets when World War One started. Some people argue that World War One was because of forcibly taking control of a small country, also known as imperialism. By 1900 the British Empire extended over five continents and France had control of large areas of Africa. The amount of lands 'owned' by Britain and France increased the rivalry with Germany who only had some small areas of Africa. ...read more.

Conclusion

This made the two main groups that went against each other in the war. This also made the whole of Europe become part of World War One. From this it could be blamed on Austria-Hungary getting Germany to support them in there own problems, therefore the rest of Europe. The whole issue is extremely complicated however. A lot of information was destroyed because of bombings and the set of 1912 minutes declaring that Germany wanted to go to war could be fake. The Germans could have also changed their mind afterwards and decide that they didn't want to go to war. A lot of views therefore could be created from incorrect information: stories can always be exaggerated. The question "To what extent was Germany responsible for World War One?" is difficult to answer. It is widely believed that this war was caused by Germany. Germany was accountable for many previous causes but there are many other reasons that led to this war, some occurring as far back to the late 1800's. The main factors were nationalism, militarism, colonialism and the system of alliances. The alliance system was one of the important factors, which contributed to the war. It arose only because of several other factors, and did not cause the war single headedly. Therefore I think Germany was not solely responsible for World War One, there were many other factors. I also think that the war happened because many countries felt the need to expand therefore causing a major struggle for power. A war cannot be created out of nothing. ...read more.

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