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The First World War was a result of Anglo-German rivalry. How true is this statement?

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Introduction

The First World War was a result of Anglo-German rivalry. How true is this statement? When Bismarck resigned in 1890, and Kaiser Wilhelm II took over, rivalry was increased between Britain and Germany. This was largely due to Wilhelm II's more aggressive foreign policy, and desire to build up the German Navy, which threatened Britain. This provided the basis for long-term problems, which led to World War 1, however there were many other causes. For example the alliances, the Schleiffen plan, The Eastern Question, German Aggression, the two Moroccan Crises and Sarajevo, which were all, factors in World War 1's outbreak in 1914. The origin of Anglo-German rivalry lies in the substantial differences in the foreign policies of Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Between 1879 and 1890, Bismark wanted Germany to have a large empire, however he tried not to annoy Britain, as he knew that this was the only country he had to be afraid of. However when Bismarck argued with Wilhem II and resigned in 1890, this left decisions in the hands of the Kaiser, who had a far more aggressive foreign policy. ...read more.

Middle

This agreement gave Russia control of Afghanistan, on the condition that it did not interfere in India. It also split Iran between the two countries, and although there was no formal alliance, it identified Germany as the enemy. This system of Alliances and ententes is largely responsible for creating a World War from a war that may otherwise have been contained to the Balkans. It meant that when Germany declared war on Russia, France also entered the war, Austria was involved due to its alliance with Germany, and when German troops entered Belgium in accordance to the Schlieffen plan, Britain was forced to join the war as well due to it's alliance with Belgium, thus creating an actual world war. The Schlieffen Plan was another of the major causes of World War 1. It was, in theory, the perfect solution to Germany's problems, however in practise this was most certainly not the case. The Schlieffen plan theoretically meant that Germany would attack France, and defeat her, before Russia was ready for war, thus avoiding war on both countries at the same time. Unfortunately there were 3 major flaws in this plan. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wilhelm was afraid that France was going to completely take over Morocco rather than simply control it, so sent a warship to the port of Agadir. The British then believed that Germany was trying to build a naval base in Agadir and so nearly went to war. However another conference was held, where it was agreed that France would give Germany a slice of the French Congo, and Germany would allow France to do as she pleased with Morocco. Because of this crisis, the British and French increased their naval co-operation, knowing that they now had a virtual alliance against Germany. This shows that there were many other causes of World War 1 and in fact Anglo-German rivalry alone probably would not have had such a large impact. It took a combination of the alliance system, the Schlieffen plan, German Aggression and Differences over the Eastern Question, as well as the short term causes, the two Moroccan Crises and Sarajevo to finally bring about world war. It was a combination of these causes, and no single cause which was responsible for this, therefore the original statement is partially true, as Anglo-German rivalry was responsible, but vastly underestimates the many other reasons for war. ...read more.

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