Blame For Ww1 Essay, Research Paper
The blame of starting World War One is an issue that until today is still not resolved. Many historians as well as commissions tried to find the country or person responsible for the war but their findings are very different. This issue is unresolved because no one person, event or country is fully responsible for the outbreak of war; it was the actions and circumstances that existed before the war, between the countries that fought, that triggered the outset of World War One.
Sidney Bradshaw Fay was one of the people who wrote about the guilty party of the First World War. Fay states that none of the European countries wanted war however in each of the countries, political and military leaders did certain things that lead to the declarations of war and the mobilization of troops. These leaders also failed to delay the onset of war. According to Fay each country was, to some degree, guilty of the war.
Fay wrote that Austria was more responsible for the immediate cause of the war than any other country. He writes that Austria was acting in self-defense against the eroding Serbian and Jugoslav agitation which her leaders believed threaded he existence . Also after the shooting of the archduke, Count leopard von Berchtold, the Austrian foreign minister hurriedly declared war against Serbia in order to forestall all efforts at mediation. He even refused the advice of his allies to come to an agreement with Russia, on the basis of a military occupation of Belgrade as a pledge that Serbia would carry out the promises in her reply to the ultimatum .
Fay wrote in Origins of the World War that Serbia was partially responsible for the outbreak of war. Like any other country in the nineteenth century they wanted to be liberated from foreign rule. When Serbia looked for help from Russia the two countries became allies. Therefore after the shooting of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Mr. Pashitch the premier of Serbia took no steps to discover who committed the assassination. When Austria asked Serbia to help them find the persons responsible for the crime, Serbia refused. He also wrote that it turns out that Mr. Pashitch was aware of the plot to kill the Archduke three weeks before it occurred but did nothing to stop the assassins from crossing the boarder. Serbia s guilt lies in the fact that notwithstanding the information the premier had nothing was done to prevent the plan from being completed.
Germany too was in part responsible for war. According to Fay Germany mostly tried to prevent the outbreak of war however, Germany s geographical position lead to their need to protect themselves. Germany is between Russia and France where Germans felt very threatened. They felt that they should protect themselves since Russia was likely to intervene in the Balkan Problem and that England would not stay neutral but ally itself with France. According to Fay German mobilization was an act of self-defense and Germany did not at all want war.
Fay continued to write that Russia also was partly responsible for the Austro-Serbian conflict because it frequently encouraged Belgrade; Serbian national unity would be achieved with Russian assistance at Austrian expense. Because of this encouragement Serbia thought she could get help from Russia in case of war with Austria. Otherwise Serbia would have not done so many things that threatened peace. However Russia was not as ready as she appeared, she was still recovering from the Russo-Japanese war and was not ready for a European struggle with Teutonic Powers, said Fay. Due to their unprepared situation, Russia put restraints on Serbia. But in the spring of 1914, Russia felt they reigned much of what they lost in the Russ-Japanese war and were ready to fight Europe, which make Serbia confident in her actions regarding the assassination of the Archduke.
According to Fay the part that France played in the initiation of the war is less clear, because France has not made a full publication of their documents. However during the President Maurice Paleogue s visit to Russia it is clear that he told the Tsar that France would endorse Russia, as an ally in preventing Austria for humiliating or pulverizing Serbia. The president was very supportive and did not try to restrain Russia from military measures which he knew would call forth German counter-measures and cause war , wrote Fay. Therefore the Russian French alliance would cause France to take some of the blame of the First World War, because of the French support of Russia.
According to Fay, the fault of Great Britain in preventing the World War was because Sir Edward Grey did not do one of two things, which could have prevented war. Fay wrote If early in the crisis, he had acceded to the urging of France and Russia and given a strong warning to Germany that, in a European War, England would take the side of the Franco-Russian Alliance, this would have led Bethmann to exert an earlier and more effective pressure on Austria. If this had only been known, the war could have been prevented because, as Fay thinks, Austria would have not declared war on Serbia. Fay also wrote that if Sir Edward Grey had listened to German urging, and warned Russia and France earlier in the crisis, war could have been prevented if England stated that they would remain neutral. England s nonpartisan outlook would have made Russia hesitate with her mobilization and France would have put pressure on St. Petersburg to have peace talks instead of going to war.
The Commission on War Guilt was came up with it s own guilty party on the cause the First World War. According to the Commission the mainly responsibility rests first on Germany, secondly on Turkey and Bulgaria. The responsibility is made all the graver by reason of the violation by Germany and Austria of the neutrality of Belgium and Luxembourg, which they themselves had guaranteed.
The first reason that Germany and Austria-Hungary are at fault, according to the commission, is the empathetic ultimatum with a very short time limit they sent to Belgrade. They expected Serbia to not accept the ultimatum giving them reasons to wage war on Serbia. In order to maintain peace Serbia s allies urged the country to agree to the demands. They yielded. But Germany mobilized before they received Serbia s agreement to the ultimatum. The Commission also wrote that they Entente Powers tried to find a peaceful solution of the dispute. On july 25, Sir Edward Grey proposed mediation but Germany refused stating that this war was an issue or arbitration not of mediation. The following day Russia tried to negotiate directly with Austria but the offer was refused. The day after that England wanted to hold a European conference but Germany refused.
The Commission basically regards Germany and Austria as the main reasons that the war broke out and was not controlled.
Bernadotte E. Schmitt also wrote about the cause of the First World War. He wrote that many of the factors that lead to the war happened many years before, in the turn of the century. For example the October Crisis and then some years later the Balkan Wars in 1912-13.
According to Schmitt, Germany was at fault because they felt that they could win the war on the assumption that England would remain neutral; but England did join the army on the opposing side. Germany also thought that war was a good means of dealing with the menace of socialism, which seemed to be steadily increasing, wrote Schmitt. He also wrote that without Germany being part of the alliance system the war would have never broke out.
Austria-Hungary was at fault for creating the untimatum. They could have predicted that Serbia would accept almost anything to prevent war. However even though Austria go the ultimatum they broke off diplomatic relations and declared war on Serbia on July 28.
Russia s responsibility lies in the fact that they supported Serbia in military power. Even though Russia was still trying to recover from the Russo-Japanese war, they were willing to help Serbia in a war against Germany. Their main reason for doing this was to ensure that Russia could still use Serbia as access to the Mediterranean they needed for trade and military purposes.
Each of these three views on the war guilt have valid points, however this means that no one country is personally responsible for the war. The shooting of the Archduke, although believed to be the main reason for war, was just a small portion of the cause. If the Archduke was not shot some other little thing would have brought out the mounting tension felt by they European countries. It is also not fair ot say that mainly Germany and Austria were at fault. The other nations tried to have peace talks, however nowhere is it written what each country s reasons were for having these talks. Maybe their agendas were not as clear or good as they appeared on the surface.
The alliance system was one of the main reasons for the war. In a situation where every country must be loyal to another in case of a war, no one remains neutral to arbitrate in the war. Had the system not existed any war that potentially broke out between Austria and Serbia could have been stopped or slowed by neutral countries but since none of the great powers of Europe were not in an alliance no one was left to make any effort in stopping the war.