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To what extent were Germany and her allies responsible for the outbreak of a general European war 1914?

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Introduction

To what extent were Germany and her allies responsible for the outbreak of a general European war 1914? The initial response after the war was that Germany along with her allies was fully responsible for the general European war this however completely ignores input and responsibility of the Allies. Germany and Austria-Hungry are seen by all for, at least, creating conditions for conflict however historians such as Fritz Fisher see the outbreak of the war as fully their responsibility. There is clear evidence to show Germany's responsibility of pre-war tension, caused by the policy of Weltpolitic. Fisher claims the Germany "willed the war" to distract from domestic problems namely rising tensions. He believed that the traditional ruling class within Germany pursued war to increase nationalism and to fulfil imperial aims. Fisher compared the expansionist aims of pre-1914 Germany as similar to those of Hitler. Fischer claimed that the decision to pursue war at the most favourable opportunity was taken at a in 1912 during a "war counsel" meeting however this claim has been heavily criticised as during this meeting the chancellor was not present, therefore war would not have been decided then. ...read more.

Middle

These problems were caused by the vast number of people of varying nationalities living within Austria-Hungry, instability was caused by this. A war would unite the country and subdue certain nationalities from trying to gain independence. Austria-Hungry needed little prompting from Germany to benefit from the Sarajevo murder However the lack of speed in doing so led to the crisis becoming a war by allowing time for other powers to become involved through the alliance system. Lastly both Austria-Hungary and Germany shared one "aim" this was to get rid of embarrassment caused by the Balkan crises' by going to war they believed they could show their strength and gain respect of the other nation, the strength of memories of past defeat is noted by historian James Joll. Russia was the first to order mobilization. Most of Europe and Germany in particular had a long standing fear of Russian expansionism and militarism. When the Tsar refused, despite some pleadings from his own counsel, to stop the mobilization, Germany had no alternative but to begin mobilization also as a defensive measure. Germany had only one basic military plan. ...read more.

Conclusion

France bears responsibility for scaling up the pressure and international mobilization in the weeks leading up to WWI. Kaiser Wilhelm tried to reign in Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria and Tsar Nicholas II; France, however, worked feverishly behind the scenes to arrange a multi-lateral attack on Germany in retaliation for the Franco-Prussian War, and did in fact encourage Russia to mobilize before Germany. Of the four initial Great Powers involved (Germany, France, Russia, and Austria) German armies mobilized last. Austria and Russia are more to blame, and France, therefore, bears responsibility. The First World War can thus be seen in this light as simply revenge (on their part at least) for the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The extent of responsibility can be shown to very little as both the President and Prime minister were at sea during the critical period in July. In conclusion all the Great Powers were responsibility for the war with Germany deserving more than an equal share of this. They (great powers) became caught up in nationalistic, overconfident, imperialistic and militaristic policies leading to the shared belief that war was positive and quick. Opportunity led to Germany playing such a large role in the outbreak. ...read more.

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