Is Germany responsible for the war of 1914?


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Proof against Germany being responsible for the war of 1914

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Is Germany responsible for the war of 1914?

  1. 1. What are the main argumentsagainst the proposition that Germany was responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914? (Notes and summary) Europe 1871-1990(textbook –directly taken): -They stressed the validity of Germany’s fear of encirclement and sought to lay greater emphasis on French desires to regain Alsace –Loraine, and Russian designs upon Constantinople. -Austria started a crisis in the Balkans; Germany was trapped due to close links with Austria. -Ritter accepted that it was sadly true that the civil authorities had steadily abdicated their responsibilities in the face of military pressures during the reign of Wilhelm I, but argued that this did not amount to the premeditated aggression. -Zechlin argues that Bethmann-Hollweg’s objectives were defensive, aiming to break the diplomatic encirclement which he believed to be stifling Germany. -Koch’s emphasis has been upon Germany’s fear of isolation, and upon the concern of its leaders with the consequences of staying out of the conflict. -Some blamed it on other states or the alliances -Austria and Serbia have been blamed for being most irresponsible and the cause of the “third Balkan war” which became the First World War. Origins of the First World War (directly taken): -New research has confirmed that Britain, France and Russia did not want war in 1914, but they were willing to fight rather than allow their allies to be beaten. -New research had also confirmed that the Austrians were determined to use force against Serbia and they saw little chance for avoiding war with Russia. -In 1997, Holger Herwig concurred: “the leaders in Berlin…saw war as the only solution. -France, Britain and Russia were just reacting to Austria’s aggression towards Serbia Other sources (directly taken): 1) War was seen as inevitable at that point by many countries, not just Germany. There was a peacetime draft. Britain and Germany, for example, saw each other as natural enemies. Russia and Austrian relations deteriorated. Austria was tensely watching Serbia grow in power and was waiting for their chance to strike.
  2. 2. 2) Germany hardly had other choices to not enter the conflict. After the breakdown of the Bismarckian system, Austria-Hungary was the only ally. Russia, France, and England became allies to oppose Germany's growing power. In the event of the assassination, Austria was determined to declare war on Serbia. With the mobilization of Russia to help Serbia, the possible consequence of Austria being defeated would cause Germany's power to decline. This idea certainly contributed to Germany's decision to offer its support to Austria and declare war accordingly. 3) Although Germany knew in that in supporting Austria they were risking a European war, they expected to win. The Schlieffen plan was aimed at primarily defeating France in just a few months. They believed that Britain would not be entering the war (it was dealing with industrial unrest, a possible civil war) and did not expect other non-European countries to enter as well. (Taken directly from): My opinion/summay: To summarize yes Germany is responsible for part of the blame, but I don’t think Germany is to fully blame for WWI. It was all the major powers’ fault, they all went to war, they all had human weaknesses and all found a reason or cause to fight/ create enemies. Some blame Serbia because if the Serbian didn’t kill Ferdinand then Germany wouldn’t have issued a blank check to Austria, leading Austria to feel powerful due to their support and blinded by thinking other countries would be sympathetic. Others believe that Austria wanted to attack Serbia to control them, etc. and the fact that a Serbian killed Ferdinand it gave Austria a reason to attack. Some people think Austria overreacted to the assassination or think that Austria pulled Serbia into war once they issued an impossible ultimatum. Others believe that Kaiser’s ‘blank check’ contributed to the war or that Germany was avoiding isolation. The fact that France lost Alsace-Loraine and got involved gave them motive to get Alsace-Loraine back. The fact that Russia came in fully mobilized might seem to cause others to have acted irrationally. Many believe Austria and Russia just acted out defensively. Austria wanted to control the Serbians so that an assassination and revolt doesn’t happen, but Serbia called to Russia for help, and Russia, even if they didn’t want war, defended their ally, which people would blame the alliances for war. There are many factors to the war, everyone interprets things differently. I don’t think there was a turning point that started the war, because there isn’t one action that caused all the Major Powers to go to war, every little thing lead to another than finally lead to war. Austria was attacking Serbia, Russia was defending Serbia aka fighting Austria, Germany declared war on Russia defending Austria, France attacked Germany and Britain got involved because France got involved. So it’s all based alliances and the decision makers of the countries and the different motives and the want or protection of prestige. “Precious Prestige”