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Did Germany Cause World War I

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Did Germany cause World War 1?

Although in the Treaty of Versailles Germany was to accept full responsibility for World War 1 this in not necessarily the case. Many factors have to be taken into account when considering the cause of World War 1. Germany may have been primarily responsible for the war but the other major powers must accept some of the blame for failing to prevent it. The conflict resulting from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinard should have been local and confined but due to a series of factors, militarism, the alliance system, nationalism, this one incident led to the greatest war Europe had ever seen. As a result of underlying hostilities the assassination led to a chain of events that ensured war on a wide scale.
The alliance system developed by Bismarck for defensive purposes was one of the major causes of the war. These alliances however took a more aggressive tone in the hands of Bismarck’s successors. Also Bismarck’s alliance system was too intricate for anybody other than himself to maintain. While he was alive the alliances preserved peace but in the hands of William the 2nd these alliance were destroyed. Bismarck’s policy was to keep France isolated however with William refusing to renew the Reinsurance Treaty with Russia. France now had an ally thus resulting in the signing of the Franco-Russian Entente in 1891. In 1904 Britain and France formed a non-military alliance called the Entente Cordial. As a result at the outbreak of war Europe was divided into two armed camps, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. The Triple Alliance consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungry and Italy and the Triple Entente was made up of Britain, France, and Russia. These alliances facilitated a political assassination sparking a World War.
Along with the hostile divisions in Europe came the expansion of armies and navies thus leading to an arms race. This arms race was also precipitated by the increase in war budgets after 1900. Attempts to restrict the arms race, like The Hague conference in 1899 and 1907 failed due to mutual suspicion. The great powers also elaborated plans for mass mobilisation. It was thought that a war would be decided in the opening phases and therefore who ever got into the field first and assembled the largest army in the sh...

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...;By 1914 the system of diplomacy in Europe had broken down. Statesmen were thinking of war as a preventative measure rather than a last resort. Lloyd George remarked that Europe “stumbled and staggered into war” (Reasons for War 3). World War 1 was a result of aggression and tension in Europe; all of Europe played a part in the outbreak of war not just Germany. World War 1 had many complex causes rather than one main one.

Bibliography

Delap, S. The Reasons for War. Dublin: The Institute, 1996.
Gardner, D. The Origins of War. New York: YTM Archive, 1998.
MacDonald, L. 1914. London: Michael Joseph, 1987.
Tierney, M. Europe Since 1870. Dublin: CJ Fallon, 1993.
Terraine, J. The First World War 1914-18. London: Secker & Warburg, 1965.
Terraine, J. White Heat. London: Lee Cooper, 1992.
Wohl, R. The Generation of 1914. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980.

Work Cited
Delap, S. The Reasons for War. Dublin: The Institute, 1996.
Gardner, D. The Origins of War. New York: YTM Archive, 1998.
MacDonald, L. 1914. London: Michael Joseph, 1987.
Tierney, M. Europe Since 1870. Dublin: CJ Fallon, 1993.
Terraine, J. White Heat. London: Lee Cooper, 1992
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