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To what extent do you agree with the claim that Germany launched an aggressive war of expansion in 1914 ?

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Introduction

German and the wars in 1914 * To what extent do you agree with the claim that Germany launched an aggressive war of expansion in 1914 ? Nearly a century has passed since the day Germany and its allies triggered one of the largest and bloodiest military operations mankind have ever witnessed, countless "war guilt" debates have been still going on despite the Versailles Treaty1 signed in 1919 already held Germany - "leader" of the Central Powers, fully responsible for the outbreak of the devastating war in 1914, thus turning Germany into the "antagonist". However, as widely acknowledged: "the winner writes history", then the Versailles Treaty should be given little credibility in determining whether Germany did launch an aggressive war of expansion in 1914 or not. Through the use of main background causes and immediate causes of the wars in 1914, this essay has an objective to give some further analysis and judgment on Germany's involvement in these events. As in 1914 there were 3 "different" wars in Europe, but the question does not clearly specify which one, for the sake of full understanding, here we can assume that it should be discussed about all these wars: (i) ...read more.

Middle

navy that would be able to challenge the best in the world, implying the British Royal navy, therefore encouraging Britain to opt for neutrality in any future European wars5. If they did not plan any war, why would they think about forcing Great Britain to remain neutral in any European wars? In the Austria-Hungary and Serbia war, Germany seemed to play no major role, except the well-known "blank-cheque" they gave the Austro-Hungarian government during the July Crisis of 1914. However, from what David Fromkin wrote in his book "Europe's Last Summer", it could be assumed that Germany intentionally encouraged Austria-Hungary to fight against Serbia and they were the ones who tailored the plans for the Austro-Hungarian government. In other words, Austria-Hungary was a mere puppet of Germany, thus Germany was clearly playing a very active role. In the war between Germany and Russia, it appears that Germany was also the aggressor because the government deliberately planned way ahead what was known as the "Schlieffen Plan" as soon as in 19056. The plan was to deter both France and Russia smoothly with the help of Austria-Hungary. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore, Germany was the "leader" of the German speaking group, while Russia was seen as the "protectorate" of all Slavs, so it would be logical that they fought over the Balkans in order to exert their own influence which is again, a form of expansion. Although throughout the essay, "Germany" was mentioned as a whole, but in fact, who really launched the war? If the Kaiser and the German people did not want war, it might not be fully appropriate to say "Germany" wanted the war or launched the war, since there could be only some individuals who orchestrated the war. In "Europe's Last Summer", David Fromkin uncovers the fact that all decisions were made only by no more than a dozen of people and people who actually wanted war more or less were the Chief of Staff von Moltke and Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg... They acted against the will of the Kaiser, who surprisingly opted for peace whenever a chance arose. The people in Germany were deceived in believing that they were fighting a defensive war. However in the end, it still seems that my analysis has came to an agreement to quite a great extent with the claim that Germany launched an aggressive war of expansion. ...read more.

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