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

How far can Germany be held responsible for WWI?

Extracts from this document...


Alexandra Rousseau World War I Topic Question: How far can Germany be held responsible for WWI? After World War I fingers immediately began to be pointed as to who caused the war. At the Versailles Peace Conference, 1919 the victorious powers, the Triple Entente, placed entire fault on Germany, forcing them to admit blame and pay the huge war debts. However even in this day and age who is to blame for the First World War is still a much-debated subject, as historians presented new interpretations to the events, which lead up to WWI. This essay will discuss to what extent Germany was responsible for the war in perspective with other key events, which also played a part in igniting World War I. The Unification of Germany threatened the balance of power within Europe. A new great power in the heart of Europe raised fears in her neighboring countries, which the new Kaiser Wilhelm did nothing to defuse after Bismarck was relinquished from his post. Kaiser Wilhelm's change in foreign policy from non-confrontational to confrontational, called the Weltpolitik, arose distrust and suspicion within the other European nations as to German's true expansionist intentions. This was amplified by Germany's imperialist desires for colonies. Since Germany was newly unified, it was harder and slower for her to acquire an empire, seeing as most territory had already been divided among the older European powers. ...read more.


The suppression of the Balkan States by the Ottoman Empire for many years had finally reached its end, as the empire found it virtually impossible to control such an explosive region. The Balkan states demanded their independence however Austria refused to watch this happen, as she too was a crumbling empire, built up of nations demanding their freedom. Austria was thus in opposition of Balkan nationalism and in favor of oppressing the nationalist movements within the Balkan states, as to not let it spread within her own boarders, whereas Russia, who desired access to the Again Strait supported the Balkan nationalist movements. The Balkan wars placed Germany in an awkward position, terminating her alliance with Russia, as she chose Austria-Hungary's side. Serbia which eventually gained her independence from the Ottoman Empire was a boiling pot for nationalist groups. After the assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand of Austria Hungary, while visiting Serbia, a chain reaction of events resulted, after an impossible list of demands were sent to Serbia, which, in historian John Remak's view brought about the war. He considers World War I to be the 3rd and final Balkan War and blames Serbia and Austria-Hungary for selfishly brining all the major European powers into a squabble for supremacy in the Balkans between the two of them. ...read more.


Imperialism among all the European nations created an atmosphere of heightened nationalism, know as jingoism. Jingoism is the glorification of armed force, and the denial of national self-determination to small powers (such as the Balkans). Each power competed for their individual needs and desires, creating as A.J.P. Taylor labels it an "export of tensions" out of Europe but into Africa, Asia, and other colonies. In Konine Zillias's view, a Marxist historian, no European nation went to war in 191 because of treaty obligations, moral issues, or the rights of small nations, but to defend imperialist's interests which consisted of the private interests of finance of monopoly. Paul Schroeder however does not follow this argument and instead points out that the structure of international power politics was the key dererminate in the origins of WWI, not the economic factors. As reviewed, each power shared in the liability of causing World War I. No one power was more to blame than the other, as a chain reaction of events, which began long before the July Crisis seemed to show the true origins of WWI. Germany was no more to blame than the other great European powers and other aspects such as militarism and nationalism, which evidently played a key role in creating an atmosphere of paranoia as to who was going to make the first strike. David Lloyd George describes it best his memories in suggesting that "all the nations of Europe slithered over the edge of the boiling cauldron of war in 1914." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE International relations 1900-1939 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 GCSE International relations 1900-1939 essays

  1. To what extent was Germany responsible for causing the First World War?

    They believed a war would be quick, lasting for about 90 days. How could a war last for much longer - the cost would be too great? Perhaps they should have paid more attention to past wars, such as the American Civil War fifty years earlier.

  2. Who Was Responsible for The Tragedy at Gallipoli in 1915?

    Eventually, the British released that victory was not possible, and as a result, the order was given to withdraw all troops residing in the Dardanelles Straight and Gallipoli. However, I am convinced that with better organization and better planning, the British could easily have gained victory over the Turks in the battle at Gallipoli, 1915.

  1. The Long Fuse by Laurence Lafore - Chapter Three: The Europe of the Armed ...

    The nation at this point was the leading industrial power known for its efficiency, good education, and strong economy. Germans were feeling quite self-satisfied. They began to dream of extending their empire and becoming the leading nation in Europe. German Dreams and German Diplomacy Various nationalistic groups in Germany at

  2. Unification Movements - Italian unification

    * In 1867, the constitution was drawn. * Impact on Austria * 1. Decline of Austria (after Metternich had lost power) * 2. Diverted the attention to the Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Danube * 3. Lost Venetia to Italy * 4.

  1. "Tension between the countries of Europe increased in year before 1914 due to the ...

    There was agreement on the other Great Powers that Germany was the nation most likely to upset the balance of powers in Europe. In 1862 King Wilhelm I of Prussia was determined that Prussia would take from Austria as the main German Power.

  2. Explain the importance of the war in the air to the final outcome of ...

    Nonetheless, these raids were exaggerated somewhat and measures were put in to display the exposures of Zeppelins. Searchlights, fighter planes with incendiary bullets, night fighter planes and barrage balloons could all halt Zeppelins. Their slow nature, weak armour and flammable hydrogen gas could all be targeted.

  1. Questions on World War One.

    The peace settlement was supposed to be based on Wilson's 14 points. Wilson's original ideals. But at the end, few of Wilson's points been applied. Why ? The presence of pressing problems : need to have quick settlement secret agreements popular passions at home reconstruction conflicting national interests The peace settlement as a result was practical solutions to these problems.

  2. As demonstrated by these five historians, the theories on the primary cause of WWI ...

    Archduke Franz Ferdinand's tour of Serbia proved the perfect opportunity, and with the Serbian governments knowledge, they arranged for the Archduke's assassination. As predicted, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria took action against Serbia, sending an ultimatum intended to provoke a local conflict.

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