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'Germany started World War One' Do you agree?'

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Introduction

'Germany started World War One' Do you agree?' To a large extent I disagree with the orthodox view that 'Germany started World War One.' I believe that although Germany did play a strong role in the factors behind the outbreak of World War One, through creating major tensions in Europe, it was not the only nation which contributed to the causation of the war, other European nations also played a strong part in the factors behind the war. Germany contributed to the outbreak of World War One, as it was solely responsible for certain long-term and short-term causes of the war, and as it contributed to other long-term factors. Firstly, Germany contributed to outbreak of the First World War as, along with the other dominant European powers, formed alliance systems. The alliance system was an important factor in the outbreak of war. The six most powerful countries in Europe were divided into two opposing alliances. Between 1882 and 1907 alliances were formed. The first was formed in 1882 when Germany and Austria-Hungary (as well as Italy) signed the Triple alliance. The second, Triple Entente, alliance, was formed in stages. In 1894 an alliance agreement was signed between Russia and France. Then in 1904 the Entente Cordiale was signed between France and Britain, although only designed to settle Anglo-French colonial differences, it drew the nations closer together. In 1907, Britain and Russia signed the Anglo-Russian Convention. Thus, by 1907 the Triple Entente alliance between Russia, Britain, and France had been concluded, and Europe had been divided into two rival 'armed camps'. ...read more.

Middle

It highlighted how France would no longer back down in diplomatic disagreements with Germany, unlike in the previous Moroccan crisis of 1905. Germany was now in a very weakened diplomatic position. These last two consequences of the crisis made it highly unlikely that either power would face the humiliation of backing down in a future European crisis, thus, increasing the likelihood of war. Germany also played a strong part in the causation of the war as its support for Austria-Hungary in its dispute with Serbia in July 1914 has been viewed as a crucial factor in the outbreak of World War One. Orthodox historians argue that Austria-Hungary would not have waged war on Serbia in July 1914, if it had not have received the support of the German Kaiser. This is supported by the fact that the Austrian Emperor, Franz Josef I, asked the German Kaiser for his support in dealing with Bosnia on 4th July 1914, and only took action against Serbia after the Kaiser had announced his unconditional support. This is seen as an important factor because the dispute between Bosnia and the Habsburg Empire escalated into the First World War, and if Germany had not offered its support, Austria-Hungary may not have took action against Serbia, and World War One may not have occurred. All of these short-term factors initiated by Germany, played a major role in the outbreak of the war, as they brought the countries of the Triple Entente together, united by their suspicions of the Kaiser's ambitions. ...read more.

Conclusion

On 23 July 1914, Austria sent the Serbian government an ultimatum, demanding they allowed the Austrian police to arrest all members of anti-Habsburg terrorist groups. When the Serbian government declined, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. What was intended as a strictly limited war between the accuser, Austria-Hungary, and the accused, Serbia, rapidly escalated into a conflict engulfing the whole continent. Thus, it was a culmination of complex long-term and short-factors which led to the outbreak of war in July 1914. Short term causes or international crises; the Moroccan Crisis, the Anglo-German Naval Rivalry, the Agadir Crisis, the Bosnian Wars, the Bosnia Crisis, and the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, all gradually built upon the tensions and enforced the divisions and suspicions which already existed between the countries of Europe, created by the long term factors, the most prominent being: Germany's aggressive foreign policy, Bosnian Nationalism, and the formation of alliances. Which all culminated to produce a deeply unstable European environment which inevitably erupted into a World War. In conclusion, World War One was the product of an unstable European environment, created by the combination of a number of short-term and long-term causes. Germany evidently played a major part in the outbreak of World War One, as it solely created many of the long-term and short-term causes of tension. However, responsibility for the war cannot be assigned to Germany alone, as the conflict would not have occurred through Germany's actions alone; tensions and divisions already had to exist between the European powers for the actions of Germany to cause so much tension, and help to create a World War. ...read more.

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