Essay On Origins Of World War I
Essay, Research Paper
The thesis in the article The origins of the World War , by Sidney B. Fay, can clearly be stated as the explanation for World War I. Fay states that no one country is responsible for the creation of the war. Furthermore, he goes on to explain that each of the European country s leaders did, or failed to do certain things to provoke the other countries into a war. Fay states, One must abandon the dictum of the Versailles Treaty that Germany and her allies were solely responsible. It was a dictum exacted by victors from vanquished, under the influence of the blindness, ignorance, hatred, and the propagandist misconceptions to which war had given rise. (Fay, The Origins of the World War). His main arguments are his explanations of how each country was responsible for the creation of the war. His first explanation is that of how Serbia was partly responsible. Fay explains that Serbia knew that by not co-operating with the Austrian government over the implications of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassination they were indirectly preparing for a war they would fight but did not want. Fay says that Austria was more responsible for the war than any other power but not in military attack, but more in the form of self-defence. He makes it clear that Austria was justified in their battle and that they didn t have to, sit back and await the dismemberment at the hands of its neighbors. (Fay, The origins of the World War). Fay believes that Berchtold wanted a local war with Serbia but knew and was content with the fact that the rest of Europe could very easily become involved with the war. Fay s third country s explanation was that of Germany. He believed that Germany did not want a war and tried to avert one completely. It is his belief that since Austria was Germany s only dependable ally, they were dragged into the war. Furthermore, he explains that Germany s geographical location, being in the middle of the conflict between France and Russia, they had little choice in the matter and had to defend their territory as well as Austria-Hungary s. Fay s fourth country and major power discussed, was Russia. He believed that Russia supported Serbia because of the frequent guidance and encouragement given at Belgrade, and if a war were to break out they would more than happy to fight along with the belief of France and Britain helping out. Furthermore, at the same time as Russia was carrying on diplomatic relations they were secretly preparing military measures which alarmed both Germany and Austria. Fay believed that France s part in the creation of the war was not as clear as the rest of the major powers, although they did assure Russia that they would support them as an ally in preventing Austria from invading Serbia. Fay then begins to explain how Sir Edward Grey was in favor or preserving peace but his attempts failed owing partly to Germany s attitude. He feels that Sir Edward could have prevented the war if he had firstly, told France and Russia and given a strong warning to Germany that in a European war England would take the side of the France-Russia alliance and form the Triple Entente. This would have, led Bethmann to assure an earlier and more effective pressure on Austria; and it would have perhaps thereby have prevented the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia (Fay, The Origins of the World War). Secondly, Sir Edward Grey could have listened to Germany, and warned France and Russia that if a war was to go on, England would remain a neutral party. This in turn would have given Russia a hesitation with there deployment of troops and at St. Petersburg France may have been more cautious. Fay further explains that Sir Edward Grey could not say that England would take the side of Russia and France because he had a Cabinet evenly divided, which meant that he was unsure if his people would support his opinion in the war effort. Grey also wrote in his memoirs that he could have resigned but that would have put France in a tough position because they were counting on British support. Grey then decided to do nothing and stay neutral until of course Germany entered into neutral grounds, which was Belgium. This act by Germany gave the British Cabinet the decision to enter the war on the Franco-Russian side. His secondary reason for making the move on siding with the French was the fact that he had a moral obligation to aid France based solely on past naval conversations, and his belief that Germany was unjustly defending Austria. Fay believed that Italy and Belgium had little influence in the creation of the war, but did in fact see the danger they were quickly getting involved in. He then concludes that the verdict of Germany and her allies being responsible for the war was historically unsound .
The thesis of the article, Germany s Aims in the First World War, can be clearly stated as Germany s objective and claim to world power. Fischer can be quoted as saying, Germany found herself, as Moltke put it, in a condition of hopeless isolation which was growing ever more hopeless. (Fischer, Germany s Aims in the First World War). Fischer s first explanation for this statement is that of Germany s rapid increase in population over the late 1800 s and early 1900 s, while France s population remained roughly the same. He believes that Germany s youth in population gave the national consciousness a feeling, which reinforced the demand for market and industrial expansion. Furthermore, the life expectancy of the Germans was on an incline, and the infancy death rate was on the decline. Fischer was making the point that Germany was developing into a highly industrialized country and the problem of finding markets and raw materials to support her population was growing increasingly urgent . (Fischer, Germany s Aims in the First World War) Fischer was quick to point out that at the time economic expansion was the basis of Germany s political world diplomacy . This need and want for economic expansion brought forth Germany s ultimate objective , which was to claim world power. Fischer then explains how Germany s confidence was greatly depleting in their military strength as the French and Russians were quickly improving theirs. He also states that although Germany found themselves in a risky situation , they were confident they could win. Moltke was quoted as saying, We are ready, and the sooner it comes, the better for us. Fischer was quick to defend the statement that much of the German propaganda after the war had maintained that the war was forced upon them, or at least that they all stumbled into the war . Furthermore, shortly after the war broke out during the crises on the Marne and in Galicia, the Austrian allies asked the Germans for help against the Russian armies and were refused. Fischer defended this statement buy quoting the message by Berchtold. He said, the Austrians originally decided to go to war mainly on the fact that they were ensured by the German Emperor, and of the German Imperial Chancellor, that they regarded the situation as suitable, and would be glad if Austria showed themselves in earnest . Fischer was able to use official documents to prove that during the July crises, the Emperor, the German military leaders, and the Foreign Ministry were pushing Austria-Hungary to strike against Serbia without delay. Furthermore, Fischer went on to say that if Austria was not to comply that the Germans would dispatch an ultimatum to Serbia demonstrated in terms as to make a war between Austria and Serbia more than probable. Fischer then points out that this alone proves the deliberate risk taken by the Germans of a continental war against Russia and France. In retrospect, this deliberate risk taken by the Germans was seen as a win-win situation so to speak. They believed that they had the military force to win this continental war, if it was to come to that. They also in turn had the belief that France may panic, and advise peace . This would have been a diplomatic win in the German s books. This would have split Russia from France and isolate both without war . Although this second point was believed to be unlikely by the German s it still was a happy, and reassuring possibility. Fischer then went on to say that Hollweg told Bulow that any war that was to occur would last at the most three to four months. Hollweg then went on to explain the possibilities of a friendly relationship with England, and then through England, a similar friendship with France. He then stated that this would bring forth a triple alliance with England, France, and Germany all extinguishing the existence of Russia, which would easily threaten the civilization of Europe. Fischer then concludes his essay in Hollweg s address to the Central Committee of the Reichstag at the beginning of October during the ever increasing debate on the unlimited submarine warfare. Fischer states that, this outlines Germany s real guilt, her constant over-estimation of her own powers, and her misjudgment of realities.