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

Assessing the view that the outbreak of World War One was the responsibility of Kaiser Wilhelm II

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Mathieu Boutet Assess the view that the outbreak of World War One was the responsibility of Kaiser Wilhelm II gggg Kaiser Wilhelm II ascended to the throne in 1888 when he was only twenty-nine years old. Though, it is generally unclear how large a role the Kaiser actually played in leading Germany into the First World War with various views of which contrast from him only playing a slight role in the outbreak of war to the Emperor being a key individual responsible.1 There are many arguments from prominent historians that dispute over what degree Kaiser Wilhelm was responsible for the outbreak of World War One. However, many find it difficult to distinguish whether it was Wilhelm II's mismanagement of his government or the type of government itself, known as the Wilhelmine system. It was not solely the fault of Kaiser Wilhelm II which led to the start of the First World War but a mix between the Kaiser's personal ambitions and that of the government he created. The view that it was Wilhelm II's responsibility is generally a broad argument given the circumstances under which many other events took place, and the individuals that participated in them. ...read more.

Middle

Added to which, the Kaiser failed to negotiate a settlement with Britain where their diplomatic relations were unstable. Thus, this put Germany in a far worse state in terms of diplomatic relations not just with Britain but with Europe in general- France was no longer isolated from the negotiations of 1871-1890. This is seen as one of Wilhelm's most dire mistakes as it led to a chain reaction of events. The Duel alliance of 1894 between France and Russia ensured that if war were to break out, the Germans, much to Wilhelm's military advisers' dismay, would have to fight on two fronts. This would consequently leave them increasingly reliant on Austria-Hungary whose empire was nearing collapse. Because Germany became too reliant on Austria-Hungary, they became drawn into the crises in the Balkan region, and as a result plummeting them into an increasing conflict with Russia. In relation to Kaiser Wilhelm's personal ambitions and personality, it is clear that his desire for 'personal rule' along with the German constitution enabling him to have relatively all control over foreign affairs caused disastrous results. Wilhelm's desire to put Germany 'on the map' through military armament and his objective in creating a colonial empire brought the country into conflict with virtually every nation in Europe besides its unstable ...read more.

Conclusion

arguments of Zara Steiner, the German historian Fritz Fischer argues that the "elites" in control of the German government- Kaiser Wilhelm II and his military officials wanted war since 1912 and manipulated the Austrians into pursuing a conflict with Serbia after the assassination of Archduke. Fischer goes on to argue that it was the Kaiser's meddling which provoked the start of WWI.14 In conclusion, many of these arguments do not solely reflect the idea that the outbreak of the First World War was the fault of Kaiser Wilhelm II, but the collaboration of factors that contributed to the Kaiser's actions. Most noticeably, The Kaiser's Wilhelmine system is not easily distinguished from the Kaiser's personal role regarding the responsibility for the outbreak of World War One. Though the arguments are strong in suggesting that the Kaiser did play a rather large role in the years before the Great War; noticeably his plundering through the web of alliances left by the German Chancellor Bismarck and making radical decisions that sparked off a series of chained events. Through the arguments of the prominent Historians of World War One, it can be seen that the degree to which any entity, country, nation, group, or person, is responsible for the outbreak of the First World War is entirely arguable. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate History 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 International Baccalaureate History essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent was the alliance system responsible for the outbreak of World War ...

    Germany promising support to its alliance Austria-Hungary as a direct consequences led to war. If Germany had not promised support, Austria-Hungary would not have been able to declare war on Serbia, as it would not have risked a war with Serbia and Russia.

  2. Notes on German unification - main events

    His telegram says "Austria should seek peace at any cost as the army was more likely to be destroyed" - The main battle was called the Battle of Sadowa (Koniggratz) - One of the most decisive battles in Modern History - July 3, Austrians fought bravely but were defeated by better led and armed Prussians.

  1. Compare and Contrast the causes of World War I and World War II

    Although nations of Europe looked at each other in less than favourable light, they also realized that alone they were vulnerable. By the end of the first decade of the new century the old alliances were shifting. England, France, and Russia, fearing the rise of Germany, signed an alliance, which was called Triple Entente.

  2. the importance of the role of Bismarck in the unification of Germany in 1871

    Several factors allowed Prussia to beat Austria in what was to be known as the Seven Weeks' War. Firstly, the army reforms had been successfully carried out under General Roon, the Prussian Minister of War and the army was under command of General Moltke, who was a gifted military commander.

  1. Italian Unification Revision Notes. Italian Politics in 1815

    Indeed, he suppressed a number of new peasant revolts, thus winning the support of the landowners. Fearing - correctly - that Cavour might prevent him using the island as a base for an attack on Naples, he did not immediately hand over Sicily to Victor Emmanuel.

  2. To What Extent Were Hitlers Policies the Cause of World War II?

    of a military force and the reluctance of the council members to implicate themselves in world affairs made the League ineffective. Stalin and the Axis powers saw the League's weaknesses after they failed to take action in the Manchurian and Abyssinian crisis and so decided to leave it and pursue their national interest through private diplomacy.

  1. How valid is to claim that "Europe stumbled into a war in 1914"?

    Choosing Austria-Hungary over Russia could be said to be Kaiser Wilhem's greatest diplomatic mistake, as it dragged Germany into war when Austria-Hungary decided to invade Serbia and also stimulated the creation of the Franco-Russian Alliance, where these countries promised to support one another in the event of a German attack.

  2. Extended Essay - The Role of a UN-Secretary General to Achieve World Peace: The ...

    Z.K.Z: Do you think that he has achieved his role as a peace keeper till his death? T.N: An irony is present in this case. On 25th November 1971, three years after his resignation from the UN, U Thant passed away due to lung cancer.

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