Causes of World War One Essay

Causes of World War One Essay

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Causes of World War One


In the introduction to a recent survey of the origins of World War I, the author begins with a quote from British scholar C. V. Wedgwood:
"The war solved no problems. Its effects, both immediate and indirect, were either negative or disastrous. Morally subversive, economically destructive, socially degrading, confused in its causes, devious in its course, futile in its result, it is the outstanding example in European history of meaningless conflict."
Although Wedgewood was not writing on the 1914-1918 War, but on the Thirty Years' War in the Seventeenth Century, the sentiment expressed is relevant. Europe was never to recover from The Great War. It destroyed a relatively peaceful century of progress, destroyed the very dynasties which it was initiated to save, and laid the foundations for Lenin, Mussolini, and Hitler. In the ethnic hatred, racism, and nationalism of the post-war period lay the seeds of a second terrible conflict. The war solved nothing. The sacrifices were to produce no security; the decisions of the Peace Conference were to produce no peace. Perhaps the Germans could have accepted a straightforward "YOU LOST-YOU PAY" attitude. By placing the chief blame for the war on Germany in the famous "War Guilt Clause," the Allied Powers crippled the new democratic government of Germany and alienated every German patriot. While it is true that the Germans as a whole were and are unwilling to face the truth of their own guilt in bring on he war, the Allies - who had won the propaganda war against Germany from 1914-1919 - gave their victorious weapons to new enemies like Hitler.
In the 1960s with the publication of new scholarly works by German historians, led by Fritz Fischer, the origins o...


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...what must be done if war should break out. According to these mobilization plans, millions of reservists had to be called up from civilian life, issued equipment, and then be transported to the frontier as fast as available railway transport allowed. The irony of the situation was that the more carefully every last railway car had been put to use by the mobilization plan, the more costly any modification of the plan became. Everybody wanted to be prepared to strike first, and in every international crisis there was always the danger that some chief of staff, in an effort to maintain the schedule on his 'timetable', might force an order of mobilization and thus precipitate war. As the fears and suspicions increased the proportion of national production devoted to make guns increased. Europe as a whole was never so well perpared to wage war as in the summer of 1914.

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