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

Who is to be blamed for the outbreak of the First World War?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Michal Golebiowski, kl. II IB Who is to be blamed for the outbreak of the First World War? While talking about collective responsibility of states for the outbreak of the First World War it is necessary to mention the following faults: nationalism, economic rivalry, imperialism and colonial competition ('Tangier Incident' in 1905 and 'Agadir Crisis' in 1911), the fatalist mood of 1914, armaments, and miscalculation. Tension was heightened by the arms race. Increased armaments might have been justified in terms of defence and deterrence but had a cumulative effect. System of alliances (formation of two opposite armed camps: Triple Alliance and Triple Entente) , although many historians claim that earlier events proved that there was in fact nothing binding about it, meant, according to George Kennan, American diplomat and historian, the creation of an excessively rigid diplomatic framework, within which relatively small detonator- even a very localized conflict could produce huge explosion - a great European War. The several general staffs made their strategic plans to fit the alliance pattern, and the danger was that soldiers and civilian ministers could be locked into an irreversible sequence if it was triggered off. Mobilisation of forces had become so complex and speed was so critical that plans could not be easily changed without producing chaos. ...read more.

Middle

Britain would be therefore justified to undertake diplomatic actions leading to putting strains on German expansionist policy in order to protect her own predominance in the world, so that any movement of encircled Germany, even with a significance of a mere gesture in support of her Austro- Hungarian allies in military actions in the Balkans, must have ended with war waged against her two greatest neighbours: Russia and France. By isolating Germany and sending inconsistent signals, Britain was also at least partially responsible for wrong conclusions, relating to a probable scale of European conflict that was to break out, of the German leaders. In 1961 a German historian, Fritz Fischer in his book "German Aims in the First World War" argued that Germany had to bear the main responsibility for the outbreak of the war. Fischer's main theses were: 1) that the German government under the Kaiser's direction deemed a European war inevitable, prepared for war, and decided to seize the next opportunity to start it. Fischer points out the expansive aims of the industry and Junkers; 2) that the German government and general staff precipitated an escalation of the Austro-Serb crisis in order to launch what they considered a preventive strike against Russia and France. Germany, after her failure in taking control over Morocco, might have come to feel that she could expand her overseas empire only after she had destroyed the European Balance of Powers. ...read more.

Conclusion

Herwig, the editors of a collection of essays "The Origins of World War I" (2002), accept the opinion that ultimate responsibility for war rests with Germany and that her outbreak was deliberately provoked by German leaders. However, particularly in the light of aggressive Austro-Hungarian moves and misleading diplomacy of Great Britain it would be wrong to blame Germany alone. The more closely we study the origins of the war the more clearly the general truth emerges that no state was entirely free from blame. All had their national policies and ambitions which could not but clash fatally some day. For many of the states, to be sure, a European War might seem to hold out the possibility of achieving various desired advantages: for Serbia, the achievement of national unity for all Serbs; for Austria, the revival of her waning prestige as a Great Power, and the checking of nationalistic tendencies which threatened her very existence; for Russia, the accomplishment of her historic mission of the Slav leader; for France, the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine and the ending of the German menace; and for England, the destruction of the German naval and economical danger. Distrust between different European states was at a peak and ruling circles were dominated by the idea that war was inevitable. Each state government accused the other of aggressive intentions; each accepted the risk of a war and all of the states were not willing to abandon their conflicting interests. ...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

    Historians argue the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand was nothing to do with Germany therefore as a country it had no need in which to get involve. Unless of course, war was always there intention. This is yet another piece of evidence that suggest German was a cause of WWI; she seemed to thrive on causing endless disputes and unrest.

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

    In Italy he was becoming increasingly unpopular. Why was the invasion of Abyssinia important? * Italy was a Permanent Member of the Council of the League of Nations. The invasion deliberately broke the Covenant and severely weakened the authority of the League.

  1. Total War, Britain during the Second World War

    What made this worse was that women away from home often had to live in hostels, which could cost them 25 (�1.25) or 30 shillings (�1.50 a week). This made it impossible to save money for a visit home. The work of women factory workers was, however, recognised by the government.

  2. To What extent was German Foreign Policy responsible for the outbreak of general European ...

    They were an influential group who had the ear of the Tsar. Russia has also been regularly attacked for being the first of the Great Powers to order General mobilisation. The historian A.J.P Taylor argues that this then made war unavoidable, as it could not be stopped in time due to train timetables and logistics.

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

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Cold War was a state of hostility between the two remaining superpowers after World War II, the USA and the USSR. Although once allies, they quickly became arch rivals. The USSR wanted to control Germany, but the USA supported an independent, democratic Germany.

  2. To What extent was Germany Responsible for the outbreak of World War One?

    a war was to be fought it would now be on two fronts. This increased Germany's feelings of entrapment and added to her desire to go to war to escape from the 'stranglehold' of France and Russia. Wilhelm II was a determined, forceful leader but despite his strong interest in military matters was neither a skilled commander or diplomatic.

  1. To What extent was the German Government responsible for the outbreak of the First ...

    They were used to initiate conflict with the assurance of backup meaning any disagreement could activate war. Germany expressed fear of encirclement, whereby they were surrounded by enemies, fearing that they would not be supported in European disputes. The Triple Alliance originated out of German need to keep the French isolated after her quick recovery from 1871.

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

    Rationing of food and other goods was one of the minor frustrations of the war. The population was issued with books of ration coupons for various provisions, and currency transactions almost ceased for some products and services. People often grew their own food, or sometimes bought illegal goods on the black market.

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