The World War I is regarded to be the most important and influential event in the 20th century, setting the stage for and enabling future events that reshaped our understanding of the war and what it encompasses. However, during the events, one couldn’t have anticipated that the Great War would leave such a significant mark. The piece by Grey (2007) and Remarque’s (1982) All Quiet on the Western Front, provide essential information that gives a reader a broader insight on such complicated topic. Though they differ, both readings make up a puzzle where one can see that nobody was prepared for such catastrophic event, which only resulted in massive destructions and death of the millions.
First, it is vital to examine what is the cause of the war presented by each reading. In Grey’s (2007) readings, there is an emphasis on the hostile role of Germany, which initially acted out of solidarity, but later took it as an opportunity to promote its geopolitical interests. Grey (2007) argues that it wasn’t ambition to conquer that drove Germany; rather it was fear that somebody else would through off the balance of power and gain more influence. In addition, even though the Serbian crisis did trigger the decision to mobilize, other nations also had own motives that were completely unrelated to the catalyst of the events that followed. Grey (2007) argues that both Russia and Austria-Hungary wanted to reassure their positions as great nations after failing to deal with crises that culminated from the Balkan Wars. However, he (2007) also mentions that the great powers had no choice, but to fight in order to preemptively maintain and improve the anticipated decline in their relative position of power. On other hand, there are the characte...
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...cular policies of the state guided the warfare, despite the fact that certain situations needed to set realistic, rather than, demanded outcomes. Even in All Quiet in the Western Front (Remarque, 1982), in Chapter 9, the characters come to the realization that they, along with other millions of soldiers and civilians, have to pay the price for the irresponsible decisions made by a few.
In addition, Kaiser was so sure that Germany would win short war; it simply needed to do that, since they weren’t prepared in any aspect for a long-term war (Grey, 2007). Schlieffen plan and U-boats show reckless examples of how the state gambled with ambitious short-term solutions, as well as how they underestimated their opponents. Eventually, the World War I proved to be a war of competing resources, whereby the Allies were superior in having the means to sustain war of attrition.
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