World War One” How Appropriate And Sufficient Is This As Essay, Research Paper
4. ?Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War One?
How appropriate & how sufficient is this assertion?
Many historians have disputed over the origins of World War I, who started it, who is to blame for the outbreak of the war? And there are no accurate answers to the questions. To support the statement ?Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War I? to a full extent is impossible. First of all the war was never a World War until much later (arguably not until us intervention in April 1917), second there were many other factors and countries involved in the outbreak of World War I.
First would be to analyse the ?powder keg? theory to the outbreak of World War One, to see which countries were involved in the outbreak of World War One. In 1907 you already had a major split between great powers in Europe, The Triple Alliance 1904 (Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary) and The Triple Entente 1907 (Britain, France and Russia). This was a evident factor as to who fights who an for what reasons. The two alliances, aware of rising tensions, began their preparations for war long before 1914. The Naval Race began between Britain and Germany. Germany had their Risk Theory, to create a big enough fleet to threaten Britain?s fleet to stay in their ports. And Britain had their ?two power standard?, for their fleet to be big enough to fight two major naval powers at once. This reasoned to long-term tension before the war.
The Great Powers also began their preparations for war on land long before the war broke out. Again, Germany created the Schlieffen Plan 1905. Named after German general Count Alfred von Schlieffen who created the plan, which later proved unsuccessful (arguably, they didn?t actually follow the plan). The main idea of this plan was to avoid fighting a war on two fronts simultaneously, first take out France in the west and then move to the East and fight a slower mobilizing Russia to the East. Now it is true to say that expansionist Germany had the most aggressive and ambitious offensive plan of all the European countries. But could then mainly be accused for the general outbreak of a regional war in Europe, not a World War. Although they are mainly to blame for the U.S intervention because of their U-Boats sinking U.S merchant ships, there are still other incidents to account for. Britain planned to insert (1906) an Expeditionary Force in Europe, including a Territorial Army of volunteers and Officer Training Corps to lead the large army. The French hungered for revenge against Germany after their loss of the provinces Alsace and Lorraine. And they created plan seventeen (1913) for an all-out French attack on the provinces attacking the enemy fast and hard whatever the odds. Three other major incidents to account for The Moroccan Crises, Where Germany tested the ?entente cordiale? between France and Britain. Germany was curious to see to what extent Britain would follow through if Germany acted against France. The first Moroccan Crisis; The Tangier Crisis (1905), was Germany testing the French Government to see if they would declare war on Germany, and to see if Britain (French recently acquired ally) would come to her aid. The Allies decided not to declare war instead they would settle the dispute over the Algericas Conference (1906). Much to Germany?s disappointment, although Germany had settled what they wanted to confirm; that Britain and France would not join together and fight against Germany. The second Moroccan Crisis, The Agadir Crisis (1911); started when the French inserted 2o?ooo troops into Morocco to drive out rebels. Germany accuses the French of invading Morocco and sends down a warship to the port Agadir. Britain is alarmed as Agadir is close to their naval base in Gibraltar, and deploys ships ready for confrontation, Germany backs off at the last minute to avoid war.
So far we have only glanced upon the western scene, Germany has been the main player in rising tensions here. But there is much more to add to the powder keg for it to become a real regional war. The Balkans had always been a source of tension, Austria-Hungary had parts of the Slav countries as part of their empire. She feared that these Pan-Slav rebels (for a united Slavic country-Yugoslavia) would break up the Austria-Hungary ?Patchwork Empire?. And Russia wanted Turkish land in the Balkans so they could set up a naval base with easy access to the Mediterranean. Germany wanted a railway to go through Berlin to Baghdad through the Balkans. And Italy wanted land across the Adriatic Sea. And Serbia wanted to unite all Slavic countries at any cost (Pan-Slavs). In 1908 the Balkans become unstable with the ?Young Turk? revolution that creates chaos in the Balkans. Bulgaria becomes independent from Turkey. Austria-Hungary seizes Bosnia and Herzegovina, two Turkish provinces. Which would later result in the sparking of the ?powder keg?. In 1912 The Balkan League (Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, and Greece) was created and they went to war on Turkey. This was the first Balkan war (all of the wars remained local), it lasted fifty days and Turkey was defeated and its empire in the Balkans divided among the Balkan League (Albania created in the process). The second Balkan war in 1913 was triggered by Bulgaria?s expansionist ambitions in the Balkans. Bulgaria was left beaten and resentful and wanting revenge against Serbia.
Now that the ?powder keg? was sufficiently filled, all it needed was a single event to trigger a series of events. That event turned out to be the Pan-Slav assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his wife. Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia that they partially refused; and so Austria-Hungary invades Serbia July 23 1914. Serbia was allies with Russia. And as Russia mobilizes towards Serbia, Germany sends an ultimatum for Russia to halt and Russia refuses. And Germany declares war on Russia, and the French mobilize their armies to support Russia. August 2 Germany begins the Schlieffen plan; they begin their invasion through Belgium and towards France/Paris. Britain issues ultimatum to Germany, which Germany doesn?t reply to, and Britain declares war on Germany. A regional war in Europe had begun, and later the empires colonies were involved all over the world.
To come back to the statement, Germany were partly to blame for the regional war in Europe as they escalated the war by declaring war on Russia and so on France with no other intentions but to expand their borders. But the war wouldn?t have become as great as it did had it not been for the series of events before the breakout, which Germany cannot be completely held accountable for.