Essay about The Origins of the First World War

Essay about The Origins of the First World War

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The Origins of the First World War

The study of diplomatic history has led to many different theories on
the origins of the First World War. Each historian focuses on
different aspects of the events preceding the war. In viewing them
from a different time periods, many come to radically different
conclusions. For example, the theory of German responsibility proposed
directly after the war was soon revised with the release of various
diplomatic documents. Many historians then went so far as to place
primary responsibility on France and Russia. However, following the
Second World War many historians again stressed German responsibility.
The complexity of the events surrounding WWI allows for much
interpretation and speculation, making a definitive theory virtually
impossible. However, the study of contradicting theories allows for
some insight into the causes of WWI.

Barnes

The concept of war guilt was formulated directly after the First World
War as justification for indemnities demanded primarily from Germany.
However, Barnes believed that the initial provocation for the war was
created by the secret alliance between Russia, France, and Serbia,
surmised that the majority of the war guilt could be assigned to them.

Since 1870, European politics had been characterized by secret
alliances and rivalling military and imperial expansion. These
elements combined created an environment inclined to war, but do not
justify its outbreak in 1914. Previously, all the military alliances
in Europe had been passive, defensive agreements. However, in 1912,
the Franco-Russian alliance was altered to become an offensive treaty,
through whi...


... middle of paper ...


...f power, Taylor believes its breakdown was a
partial cause of the war, while Schmitt argues that attempts to
maintain it was the cause. Fay and Seaman hold contrasting beliefs
about responsibility within the Triple Alliance, but Fay maintains
Austrian responsibility and independence from German control and
Seaman blames Germany for its own, and Austria’s involvement. Taylor
and Seaman agree that Germany entered the war with no decisive war
aims, but disagree on Germany’s level of responsibility. Taylor and
Barnes contradict each other entirely, Taylor maintaining the original
theory of German responsibility, and Barnes placing primary
responsibility on France, Russia, and Serbia. Through studying these
contradicting theories, one can obtain a clearer, more complete
picture of the possible causes of the First World War.

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Essay about The Origins of the First World War

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