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To what extent did militarism contribute to the origins of the First World War (19141918)?

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Noemie Derhy To what extent did militarism contribute to the origins of the First World War (1914?1918)? Militarism is at the core of the origins of World War I. The concept of militarism is to emphasize on the military aspect of a nation. Although militarism can have advantages and is sometimes a very ?typical? trait of a country, it did not prosper during the World War I, as it reinforced the tensions and didn?t leave room for options other than war. The French army along with the German army had doubled between 1870 and 1914, and there was a huge competition between Britain and Germany for the monopolization of the sea. In fact, from 1910 to 1914, Germany had increased military expenditure by 73%, clearly preparing for war. France for example, had a growing pre-war militarism. Victor Hugo proclaimed that ?France will have but one thought, to reconstitute her forces, gather her energy, nourish her sacred anger, raise her young generation to form an army of the whole people, to work without cease, to study the methods and skills of our enemies, to become again a great France, the France of 1792, the France of an idea with a sword. Then one day she will be irresistible. Then she will take back Alsace-Lorraine.? Since 1890, Germany had led an aggressive foreign policy with the aim of expanding Germany?s borders. ...read more.


It was definitely one of the biggest causes of World War I, David Stevenson states that it was "a self-reinforcing cycle of heightened military preparedness [...] was an essential element in the conjuncture that led to disaster [...] the armaments race [...] was a necessary precondition for the outbreak of hostilities." The United Kingdom had the biggest and most powerful navy in the world at the time, and the Kaiser was enthusiastic about the expansion of Germany?s naval forces. With the help of Grand Admiral Alfred Von Tirpitz who designed four Fleet Acts from 1898 ? 1912, he set the goal to achieve an expansion of their navy that would represent 2/3 of the British navy. Wilhelm II?s desire to expand his navy was mostly sparked by the aftermath of the Kruger Telegram and the British Foreign Office?s threat to kill the German Economy by blockading the German Coast. The British noticed their expansion and quickly joined the race to keep ahead of the Germans. During the arms race between the two nations, Britain came up with a ship that revolutionized naval power; the HMS Dreadnought encouraged Germany to build something that could match the ship. Nonetheless, by the beginning of World War I Britain had 49 ships in comparison to Germany who only had 29 which is approximately 60%. ...read more.


That is how all the great European joined in. The Treaty of Versailles was a peace treaty that ended the war. It required Germany to bear all the responsibility of the war, and it was impossible to meet all the requirements considering that Germany?s economy was devastated by the loss of the war. All the nations wanted something from Germany, from territorial changed to military restrictions. Alsace and Loraine were regained by the French, the Province of Posen was ceded to Poland, Czechoslovakian gained the Hulltschin area of Upper Silesia, etc. The total sum of reparations demanded to Germany would be US $442 billion by today?s standards. The people of Germany were bathing in poverty and everything had to be taken away from them, giving conditions of desperation that rose to World War II. Every war has more than one cause, but militarism is always at the heart of the problem. Though Germany had indeed a sense of militarism much too strong, it wasn?t correct to impose such large demands in the Treaty of Versailles, as it was not the only nation whose militarism had contributed to the source of conflict. World War I was probably preventable if each nation had eased down the emphasis on military forces, and if their webs of alliances had been less complex, not leading to a domino effect in the end. ...read more.

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