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

To What Extent Were Germany To Blame For The Outbreak Of World War One?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent Were Germany To Blame For The Outbreak Of World War One? August 4th 1914 marks the date on which Europe fell into what has become known as "the Great War". What started as a minor squabble between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, in the space of six weeks, escalated into total war between Europe's biggest powers. Almost one hundred years later we are no closer to answering the question of who or what was to blame for it's outbreak. It is easy to assume that Germany were solely to blame, however this assumption would be incorrect. Germany did, at times have an overbearing influence, and with many factors, the underlying fault lies with Germany. However, influence of other nations, states and individuals were also significant in pulling Europe into World War One. In 1871, following a series of Prussian wars, a new nation of Germany was created which significantly altered the politics of Europe. The new Kaiser, Wilhelm II, determined the direction that this nation took, and it was his attitude that created so much fear of the new state. At times, understandably, they felt threatened and vulnerable. Already, she had found enemies in neighbours France after their crushing defeat of them in 1870, and this was to prove crucial in the next few years. On other fronts, Germany had large powers Russia and Austria-Hungary as neighbours. ...read more.

Middle

Thus it is clear that they did, to some extent, plan for a war. The new nation of Germany was not in the wrong to adopt such policies of colonialisation, military expansion and plans for attack: a new nation has understandable fears on securing safety. However the question is not were they right to pursue such policies, but did this policies lead to the outbreak of war, and the answer to that is a resounding "yes". They disrupted the precarious power balance that had been operating in Europe for hundreds of years, increased tension between European states, encouraged military expansion and subsequently disrupted the peace. The trigger event of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife on 28th June 1914 can be cited as a major reason for the outbreak of war. It could easily be said that the young Bosnian assassin, Gavrilo Princip, was to blame for the next four years of devastation. Had he not assassinated Ferdinand which provided the initial spark for conflict, there would have not have been an "excuse" for Austria-Hungarian aggression backed by Germany. However, Germany can be blamed largely, perhaps even solely for the reaction to this event despite having no involvement in the tragic murders. As Austria-Hungary's foreign Minister Czernin said, "Germany demanded that the ultimatum to Serbia should be.....sharp". ...read more.

Conclusion

Their unforeseen mobilisation on July 29th 1914 was not predicted by Austria-Hungary or Germany, as the Russians had seemed almost nonchalant to the 1908 crisis. Also, Britain's ambiguity in where their loyalties lay meant severe misunderstandings on the part of German leaders. Perhaps Britain should have been clearer so as to avoid such problems. Nevertheless, no single nation, state or individual had a more devastating influence than the new nation of Germany. Their desire for glory, power and wealth, their aggressive and at times paranoid policies and their want of an empire intimidated and influenced the nations around them. Were it not for the Prussian war victories that united Germany, then there would not have been the desire which plagued them and Europe, and ultimately started war. However, it would be unfair not to recognise the other factors. Nationalism significantly altered the political structure of Europe; the unstable Balkans were both unknown and feared; and probably all the leaders of all the major powers have some blame for the war. There is little doubt, however as to where the greatest share of responsibility falls. Germany willed on Austria-Hungary; misinterpreted Britain's loyalty; projected an aggressive image with their strong modern army that scared many; and some say even deliberately faced the risk of conflict with France and Russia. Germany was by no means the only reason for the outbreak of war in 1914 but are, without a doubt, the biggest single reason. By Tom Paul 12.8 ...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 the Alliance System responsible for the outbreak of the First ...

    Fischer argues, was the '...aggressive insistence on Germany's claims the next, but never wavered in it's ultimate objective, the expansion of Germany's power.' The arms race was an important factor, which lead to the war because it made country's security be threatened by all the modern weapons but it also threatened the country pride, as was the case of Britain.

  2. The Rise of Nation States in Europe

    * Both Britain and Austria wanted to revise the treaty and threatened to wage war. * In order to deal with the problem of Big Bulgaria, German's Chancellor Bismarck (Germany was unified in 1871)

  1. Germany should bear the responsibility for the outbreak of a general war in 1914 ...

    As for Weltpolitik, it led to a marked increase in tension within the sphere of international relations. Marxist historians hold the view that imperial rivalry and the influence of monopoly capital were major underlying reasons for the war. The Marxist interpretation saw the war as being the direct consequence of

  2. Versailles and Hyperinflation, Germany 1919-28.

    Stresemann called off passive resistance in the Ruhr. Since Germany had begun to pay her reparations again, the French and Belgian troops had no real reason to stay in the Ruhr, so began to withdraw.

  1. How successful was Bismarckas Chancellor in his foreign policies between 1871-1890?

    The Congress of Berlin held in June-July 1878 marked a highpoint in Bismarck's diplomatic career: not only he was able to maintain peace - probably his major aim concerning foreign policies - but he was also able to place Germany in the centre of European diplomacy.

  2. Questions on World War One.

    aroused mutual fear and suspicion among the powers so that France would be kept with no friend. More basic considerations other than just such feelings towards France were important in shaping his policy. Aim : a. Concentrating on the maintaining of peace and order in Europe in which Germany

  1. Why did the Murder of Franz Ferdinand lead to the outbreak of a major ...

    Germany tried to split up France and Britian and invade Morocco. This didn't work and Germany was humiliated, Germany wanted revenge because of this. Like France, Russia had been humiliated by being defeated in war. Russia lost against Japan in a disastrous and costly war.

  2. "The outbreak of the First World War in 1914 grew out of a short ...

    She wanted a "place in the sun', to be a world power like Britain. It had three main goals: To build a superior navy to establish it's status; To make Germany a world power - this would mean territorial expansion outside of Europe; To distract the people back home from

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