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"Germany cannot be blamed for the First World War" Discuss.

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Introduction

Germany cannot be blamed for the First World War. Discuss The First World War, for many years known as the Great War, or even European War, raged for four years; it devastated parts of Western Europe, destroyed three Empires, killed 9 million men and caused feelings of such bitterness and resentment that attempts were made to find a scapegoat who could be made responsible for the grotesque losses. This scapegoat was Germany, who was made to sign the Versailles Treaty with its war-guilt clause, placing the blame for the war squarely on Germany's shoulders. In many ways, the posturings, ambitions, and sheer recklessness of Germany's governments, and most particularly the Kaiser himself, created an atmosphere in which war could easily break out. The Kaiser was a young man with a mission to prove to his European cousins and neighbours that his country was a first-class world power, ready and able to take its place in events on the world stage. ...read more.

Middle

Forced to concede equal partnership to Hungary 50 years previously, Austria-Hungary was now under intense pressure in the Balkans to give up its position of power and prestige. A series of wars and unrest involving Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Bosnia threatened her personal pride. Her attempts to maintain influence amongst the Slav nations increased tensions with Russia. This posed a potential threat to stability. Austria-H would have been wiser to have adopted a more realistic policy towards the nationalist agitators, but the Old Guard of aristocratic politicians, ruled by the decrepit Emperor Jozeph, decided that a showdown with Serbia was the only possible course of action. Emboldened by the "blank cheque" that was rashly promised by the Kaiser, Austria-H pressed ahead with its claims for retribution against the perpetrators of the crime against the heir to the Austrian Empire. This was one of the serious miscalculations that can be levelled against Germany as a real cause of war. ...read more.

Conclusion

Germany should have realised that its pre-emptive strike on Belgium would drag Britain into the war with its "contemptible army". She realised too late that unconditional support of Austria would involve her in a conflict that extended much further than the local trouble spot in the Balkans. It was the fact that she appeared to relish the prospect of war that caused so many criticisms of her actions in the build up to war. In addition, Germany had contributed to many of the misunderstandings and tensions at the beginning of the century through her "sabre rattling" in Morocco and her rush to participate for a "place in the sun" in Africa. The development of her navy was a direct challenge to Britain's supremacy; the ships that were built were built for warfare; they were not merchant ships designed to service a German overseas empire. Germany was to blame for the war in that she did not do enough to avoid it and had systematically destroyed the stability and mutual trust in Europe that had lasted since the time of Napoleon. ...read more.

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