Germanys invasion of Belgium in 1914 was completely unjustifiable. Use sources A-E to show far the evidence confirms this statement. (AS May/June 2009)

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‘Germany’s invasion of Belgium in 1914 was completely unjustifiable’. Use sources A-E to show far the evidence confirms this statement.

Germany invaded Belgium on 3 April 1414. There is evidence from these sources that both supports and contradicts the claim that Germany’s invasion of Belgium was unjustifiable.

In both Source C and Source D, they agree that Germany’s invasion was unjustified, although Source D agrees to this to a limited extent only. Source C describes the invasion in almost personal tones by the use of the word ‘painful’. It is clear that the Belgian Government was unsympathetic to the German army’s request of free passage through their country to reach France. Germany’s advance is an “attack on her independence”, and this is emphasized by “no military or strategic interest justifies such a violation”. Therefore Source C is of the view that the invasion was completely unjustifiable. Source D makes the point that the British Government was in support of the Belgian Government. The British Government were bound by the Washington Treaty of 1839 to come to the aid of Belgian should she be invaded. Germany’s advancement was clearly a ‘violation of law’, and so the British were bound ‘in honour’ to declare war on Germany. Source D, however, does not claim the German invasion to be justifiable or not. Source D only makes the point that the British Government condemns the invasion, and would not allow it to happen. The Source makes no mention of the German’s possible motives. It is important to consider the provenances of both sources. Source C is a message between the Belgian and German governments, and will therefore accurately reflect the point of view from the Belgian government. Source D, on the other hand, is from a British newspaper. It is viable to assume that the report may contain bias, but because the article only reports facts and direct quotes from politicians and the writer makes no opinion himself, it can be considered reliable.

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In total contrast, Sources B and E share a similarity with the view that the German invasion was completely justified. Source B offers the view that Germany is on the defensive against France, and that the German Government fears that Belgium will be unable “to resist such a considerable French invasion” without the aid of Germany. This puts the blame of the Belgium invasion squarely on France, as Germany is portrayed as a friend of Belgium who seeks only to help them. The source fails to mention that France was not hostile to Belgium at all. The reliability of this ...

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