The Cause Of Ww1 Essay, Research Paper
The causes of W.W.I
It is agreed by most that World War One was one of the most devastating events ever to take place on Earth, but the argument of which nation should carry the burden of responsibility continues on. However, many apparent facts show that this Great War would never would have happened had it not been for the actions of Germany and Austria-Hungry. Once the heir to their throne was assassinated, Austria-Hungry looked for no other possibility but war to solve the problem because of their shortsighted plan to rid themselves of a Slavic Nationalist movement. However, Austria-Hungry would never have started such a war had it not been for Germany’s assurance that they would finance the Habsburg war effort. The blame further falls on Germany as Austria-Hungry wanted this war to be localized and it was the work of the Germans which took this small problem, isolated in the Balkans, to a much larger scale. In their pursuit of world domination, the Germans acted upon a plan to involve Russia and France in a Great War on the continent. Germany had been preparing for such an event since 1905. Although many claim that it was the bullet of Gavrilo Princip which started the war, it was Austria-Hungary’s actions thereafter which mobilized the whole continent for war.
It is important to recognize the diplomatic relations between Serbia and Austria-Hungary before the outbreak of World War One. One word can describe it: tense. Serbia had recently gained independence and was stirring up a nationalist movement in Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary was aware of this and knew they could not afford to lose 8 million Serbs at a time when they were finding it difficult to satisfy so many racial groups in their empire. There is no doubt that Austria-Hungary had a motive in wanting to rid themselves of this Slavic nation. In August of 1914 at the offset of WW1 when they declared war on Serbia, they claimed it was in retaliation of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassination. This was not a valid reason for declaring war though because at the time, Austria-Hungary had no definitive proof that Serbia had any involvement in the assassination. The assassination of the Archduke was just the excuse Austria-Hungary needed to crush their Serbian neighbors. They made no attempt to resolve the situation by diplomatic means except for a ridiculous ultimatum and had already requested the aid of Germany. Despite the fact that Austria-Hungary took no action to avoid a war, they knew that the area in which they were fighting was one in which the Russian’s took great interest. Berchtold, the Austrian foreign minister, was well aware that any move onto Serbia would not be taken lightly by Russia but he felt that retaliation would not take place for years. Austria-Hungary gambled on a localized war but was fully aware of the risk they were taking in starting a World War. Unfortunately, millions of people died because of Berchtold’s gamble. Had it not been for Austria-Hungary’s reaction to the assassination, World War One may never have taken place.
Austria-Hungary, although intent on crushing their Serbian neighbors, may not have done so had it not been for the encouragement given them by the Germans. It was because of Germany issuing them a “blank check” did Austria-Hungary feel confident enough to issue Serbia an ultimatum that no self-respecting nation would agree to. In fact, it was because of the pressure placed on Austria-Hungary by the Imperial Chancellor Bethman that Austria-Hungary decided to go to war.
That we took our decision to go to war on the strength of the express statements both of the German Emperor and of the German Imperial Chancellor that they regarded the moment as suitable and would be glad if we showed ourselves in earnest .
This comment made by Austria-Hungary’s foreign minister shows that Germany was defiantly a culprit in starting the war with Serbia. Germany knew exactly what they were doing when they made these comments and were prepared for the consequences. The Germans knew of existing alliances between other European powers which could have dragged Russia and France into the conflict and were ready for such an occurrence.
In 1905, Germany’s Chief of Staff, General Shlieffen, drew up battle plans in the event that Germany were to be in a war against Russia and France. Along with this plan, Germany began to fuel their growing industries with imperialistic actions. They began taking over parts of Africa and started an arms race with Britain. Even before World War One took Europe by surprise, it seemed as though Germany was the only nation preparing for it. It was then no such coincidence when they pressured Austria-Hungary into a war in which they knew most of the European powers would be dragged into. The Germans were itching for war and they used Austria-Hungary to get it. The new Kaiser wanted his Germany to be a powerful nation and a force to be reckoned with. The only way he could flex his growing muscle was to start a war in which he knew he would win. It was for this reason that Germany started the war in the Balkans. It was Germany’s preparation that scared all the other European powers into mobilization. Had Germany not been preparing for this war before anyone could have imagined such an event-taking place, World War One could have been avoided in 1914? If Germany had not been prepared to fight a war on two fronts, they would not have taken the risk of helping the Habsburg Empire in a conflict that apparently gave them no gain. It was Germany’s preparation and pressure on Austria-Hungary that caused World War One.
Although Germany and Austria-Hungary were not the only nations in the war, they were the only ones on whom responsibility can be placed. Russia, Britain, and France were only reacting to the moves that Germany and Austria-Hungary made. They could not ignore alliances they had made and Germany knew this. Austria-Hungary knew that Russia would react later, if not sooner, to their declaration of war on Serbia. Austria-Hungary and Germany knew the consequences of their actions and still took them. These two nations started the chain reaction, which ignited World War One. One cannot start a fire without a spark. Austria-Hungary was the spark and Germany was the gasoline to keep the fire going.