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Germany's Responsibility for World War I

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Germany's Responsibility for World War I

After World War I fingers immediately began to be pointed as to who

caused the war. At the Versailles Peace Conference, 1919 the

victorious powers, the Triple Entente, placed entire fault on Germany,

forcing them to admit blame and pay the huge war debts. However even

in this day and age who is to blame for the First World War is still a

much-debated subject, as historians presented new interpretations to

the events, which lead up to WWI. This essay will discuss to what

extent Germany was responsible for the war in perspective with other

key events, which also played a part in igniting World War I.

The Unification of Germany threatened the balance of power within

Europe. A new great power in the heart of Europe raised fears in her

neighboring countries, which the new Kaiser Wilhelm did nothing to

defuse after Bismarck was relinquished from his post. Kaiser Wilhelm’s

change in foreign policy from non-confrontational to confrontational,

called the Weltpolitik, arose distrust and suspicion within the other

European nations as to German’s true expansionist intentions. This

was amplified by Germany’s imperialist desires for colonies. Since

Germany was newly unified, it was harder and slower for her to acquire

an empire, seeing as most territory had already been divided among the

older European powers.

The Kaiser’s insistence to make Germany a distinguished power and his

use of foreign policy to draw attention away from domestic issues and

gain public support was another feature, which encouraged fear for

Germany within Europe. The Kaiser’s antics, such as in the case of

both Morocca...

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...hroeder however does not

follow this argument and instead points out that the structure of

international power politics was the key dererminate in the origins of

WWI, not the economic factors.

As reviewed, each power shared in the liability of causing World War

I. No one power was more to blame than the other, as a chain reaction

of events, which began long before the July Crisis seemed to show the

true origins of WWI. Germany was no more to blame than the other

great European powers and other aspects such as militarism and

nationalism, which evidently played a key role in creating an

atmosphere of paranoia as to who was going to make the first strike.

David Lloyd George describes it best his memories in suggesting that

“all the nations of Europe slithered over the edge of the boiling

cauldron of war in 1914.”