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To what extent was Germany responsible for WWI?

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Introduction

´╗┐To what extent was Germany responsible for WWI? Many countries were involved in WWI, Germany being one of them. It is debatable as to whether Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWI as Fritz Fischer would argue it or rather the responsibility of individual countries such as Britain, Russia, France, Austria-Hungary and the Balkans collectively. However, this essay Germany was responsible to a significantly large extent for WWI due to underlying reasons that built up over the course of time that led up to WWI. Fritz Fischer is a historian who argues that Germany?s desire for world power was the reason for the outbreak of WWI. Germany had plans for a war before the 1914 crisis and merely used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as an excuse to put them into practice. Germany also deliberately encouraged Austrian war plans to provoke a crisis in which it could solve the problems of ?encirclement? by France and Russia, dominate Europe and expand its territories. France and Russia signed a full military defensive alliance in 1892-95 which opened up the possibility of a two-front war, given Germany?s geographical location between these two very powerful enemies which it would be likely to lose. In addition, France resented the defeat of 1870-71 and the seizure of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany. ...read more.

Middle

However, the document was only produced when the war had already begun. As a result, such an assumption is not fully justified. It is arguable, though, that the document proved to a large extent that Germany was prepared to play an aggressive role in the war instead of taking a defensive stand. However, the roles that other countries played in the outbreak of the war must also be taken into consideration. Revisionist historians such as Sydney Bradshaw Fay argue that all European powers should share the blame for the war. These include countries such as Britain, Russia, France, Austria-Hungary and the Balkans. Niall Ferguson blames the UK for causing WWI, using counterfactual history to argue that Britain should not have interfered in 1914 and Germany would have won a short war which would have denied existence of WWI. Sir Edward Grey might also have misinterpreted Germany?s ambition and Expressionism and influenced the British parliament into a declaration of war, arguing that German?s aims were essentially defensive. However, Germany?s Weltpolitik meant that Anglo-German conflict was a real possibility as it challenged Britain?s claim to be one of the greatest governing races, showing that it was prepared to play an aggressive role from the start, which is supported in its battle plan created by Alfred von Schlieffen. Russia was also involved through an alliance network through its allies of France and Britain, and this encouraged them to act as it had the assurance that these nations would support the Russians. ...read more.

Conclusion

The unrest in the Balkans played a significant part in the outbreak of the war. The Balkan Wars of 1912-13 resulted in militant anti-Austrian groups in Serbia which caused Austria to view Serbia as a threat and an enemy. It also caused the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand to take place which was the trigger event for the war as Austria responded with an ultimatum that Serbia refused to meet as it relied on support from Russia, who was also allied with France whilst Austria counted on the support of Germany. Austria?s approach to Germany for support against Serbia and Russia planted the idea that was a possibility. This was encouraged by Russia?s mobilization in response to a likely conflict at the rejection of Austria?s ultimatum. The events that took place in the Balkans gives significant reason to Austria-Hungary and Russia and Serbia to wage war, and it can be argued that it was because of Austria-Hungary?s reluctance to act alone and its alliance with Germany that led to escalation. However, it was ultimately Germany and not Austria-Hungary that made the first declaration of war on Russia, leading to its network of allies of France and Britain to get involved too. Although there were other countries with their own respective reasons to be involved in the outbreak of the war too, it was the German?s vulnerability to attack, fear of encirclement, naval expansion, alliance with Austria-Hungary and tension between France who had a military alliance Russia that caused them to be responsible in causing WWI. ...read more.

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