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To What Extent Can GermanyBe Held Responsible For The Outbreak Of The First World War?

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Bagmanov Artur 01/02/03 To What Extent Can Germany Be Held Responsible For The Outbreak Of The First World War? In the Paris peace settlement Germany was forced to accept sole responsibility for causing World War I. This was an obvious demand on the part of the victorious powers. The Treaty of Versailles was signed in June 1919 with the participation of 32 countries and the representation of three quarters of the world's population. The outcome was that Germany was forced to accept sole responsibility for causing World War I. Since then there has been much debate concerning the war and even today historians still cannot fully agree upon who is to blame for the tragedy. A theory that Germany was completely responsible for the war still exists, but there is some very important evidence that contradicts that theory. World War I had a direct connection with a series of decisions and courses of action taken by several European nations prior. And also the following assassination of Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian-Hungarian throne which did have a direct effect upon World War I. ...read more.


Germany became involved when asked for help by Austria- Hungary and so Russia decreased it's support for Serbia. Finally two wars developed in the Balkans. The first Balkan war in 1912 was between Turkey and the Balkan countries (Serbia, Bulgaria, and Greece) with Turkey being driven back out of the Balkans. The second Balkan war in 1913 occurred between Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece. Serbian victory strengthened the Serbs position and their confidence, so this gave Austria-Hungary concern regarding its influence in the Balkans. The main significance of the Balkan wars was the position of Britain and France placing limits on Russia and Germany and also securing Austria-Hungary. Also the two Balkan wars resulted in renewed conflict between Bulgaria and the other Balkan states especially Serbia and caused major disputes because of the interference of the Great Powers in Balkan politics. The Balkan crisis revealed the extreme tensions and suspicions between the great powers and fuelled the "arms race" which in effect prepared nations for World War I. The "arms race" which involved Britain, Italy, France, Russia, Austria- Hungary and Germany began in 1896 when Germany started to significantly expand its navy. ...read more.


Though it is suggested that the events leading up to the July crisis such as the arms race, alliances, and the Balkan wars had some affect, but it is not considered to be the major reason. I consider that there was no single major cause for World War I, but there were several major events associated with its beginning. For example the assassination of the Austrian-Hungarian heir, Franz Ferdinand was an extremely important event because it triggered off a series of events that caused the July crisis. Blame can also be shared by Russia, Germany and France over their mobilization plans. And finally Germany was further to blame for its totally pointless support for Austria-Hungary, who was the aggressor in the Serbian war. It seems that Germany expected war to stay within the Balkans. Military alliances resulting in Germany surrounded by it's enemies, diplomatic mistakes, the "arms race", and immediate causes combined to cause World War I. A significant factor is, Germany wasn't responsible, everyone was responsible for the beginning of WWI. It is clear that the Treaty of Versailles, claiming complete German responsibility for causing World War I was unfair, as it was a shared responsibility by all the European powers for the causation of World War I. ...read more.

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