Decisions made in Berlin from 1900 determined the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914. Do you agree?

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‘Decisions made in Berlin from 1900 determined the outbreak of war in Europe in August 1914.’ How far do you agree with this opinion?

The various decisions made in Berlin in 1900 were seen by some to determine the outbreak of war in 1914. However some argue that the decisions made in Berlin during this period didn’t or only to some extent determine the outbreak of the First World War; this is evident in the opinions and views expressed in the three different sources.

   Firstly source 1 shows to a certain extent that it agrees with the opinion despite the limitations that it was published many years after the event described. According to the author, Wehler, the events described in the source show Germany’s aggressive intent in particular Germany’s focus under von Tirpitz to expand the navy. This began to cause tension with Britain as they saw this expansion as a threat to their naval dominance, particularly as Germany had no need for such a large navy as they didn’t have an Empire to protect. This increase in tension and collision course with Britain could then be seen as a decision that was made by Germany which helped determine the outbreak of war, or at least contributing to it. However, it could also be argued that this action wasn’t the cause as Britain may have joined the war to support their allies in the Triple Entente, or that if this was the cause Britain may have misinterpreted the action as a threat to their dominance and that may have pushed them to war.  

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   Source 3 also agrees to a certain extent with the opinion, as the decisions made from 1900-1914 were essentially to let the Schlieffen plan determine events, this is evident that it wasn’t a decision that would help Germany or at least the outcome of war as Keegan describes the Kaisers attitude as though he panicked into making the decision. This occurred in 1914 and so just before the outbreak of war 1914 so the motives of the Kaiser at this time could be questioned, as he may have felt humiliated following the actions of both Moroccan crises. The source ...

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