‘German aggression’ was responsible for the outbreak of a general war in august 1914; how far do you agree with this argument? Jesse Thompson Evidently German aggression played a key role in the causation of the first world war. Corrigan strongly supports this view and uses Fischer’s Theory to structure his argument as it effectively highlights the nature of German foreign policy in this period. Other historians, such as Joll and Turner, provide opinions which support the view of the question as well as providing evidence for alternative factors such as Fear of encirclement and foreign policy of contending powers; evidence for this can be clearly seen in Joll’s and Turner’s pieces in an equal and different amount. On the one hand, German aggression held the greatest responsibility for the outbreak of a general European war in august 1914.
“The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 was due to an aggressive foreign policy which had been waged since c.1900”. How far do you agree with this opinion? Explain your answer using sources V, W and X and your own knowledge relating to the controversy. The implication that Germany’s use of an aggressive foreign policy led to the outbreak of the First World War is an extremely controversial topic, and has ultimately caused great debates amongst historians. Fischer, the provoker of this controversy, expresses this concept of German aggression by stating that since c.1900 Germany planned, and then was able to execute a war, due to their aggressive weltpolitik; based purely on expansionism.
Why did Germany go to war in 1914? There are many reasons as to why Germany went to war in 1914 such as fear of encirclement, various alliances formed, internal policies and domestic and military factors. I personally think the most important reason was due to their internal politics. Germany was formed as a country in 1871 and so felt like they had to prove themselves as a nation to the rest of Europe. They did this through aggressive policies, which they hoped would achieve their aim and build up their empire.
Was Germany to blame for the start of world war one? Germany was to blame for the First World War, but only to a certain extent. Germany was not solely to blame, but did contribute greatly to the sequence of events that led to war. Germany were a major contributor to the Arms Race, caused tension between many European countries, made alliances, were extremely nationalistic and encouraged Austria – Hungary to declare war on Serbia. In 1904, Germans were encouraged to become nationalists.
Whilst the aims of Germany’s foreign policy had changed dramatically from under Bismarck’s rule, it could be argued that it began to lean towards more aggressive policies including Weltpolitik, which has given reason for some historians to lay the blame of the outbreak of war in Europe solely on Germany. Source X by John Moses agrees with this viewpoint, viewing Germany to have been planning to “unleash a continental war” for a extensive period of time, whilst source W by David Blackbourn still agrees that Germany was to blame, it however recognises the possibility that Germany had to act within their best interests and attempt to make the most of a bad situation. However opposed to this opinion Source V by Volker Berghahn disagrees with any opinion that Germany bared responsibility through their foreign policy, but through this belief that Germany believed others “wanted to destroy them” and combined with the “diplomatic isolation” that arose it was viewed that Germany’s foreign policy was once of defensive purposes, rather than being aggressive, which is the forms the main argument within historians as to what formed the true nature behind the actions of German foreign policy. Sources W and X both agree to different extents with the argument that aggressive German foreign policy was to blame for the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914. Both sources agree that following the Sarajevo murder that Germany actively pursued a course which would lead to continental war within Europe.
‘The outbreak of war in Europe was due to an aggressive German foreign policy which had been waged since c.1900’. How far do you agree? It has been a matter of fervent controversy that Germany went to war with aggressive or defensive intentions. Source V suggests that Germany went to war solely for defensive reasons due to the extensive array of alliances that encircled her as well as diplomatic tension. Overall, Source W challenges source V, as it indicates that Germany’s aggressive actions since the turn of the century resulted in war.
Great Britain, France, and Russia all formed the Allies while Germany, Austria- Hungary, and Italy formed the Central Powers. The position of Germany might have led to an early declaration of was because it was surrounded by the allied powers. Nationalism and extreme patriotism towards the country was also a reason for the outbreak of the war. This over-confidence gave birth to a fatal misconception: that in the event of war in Europe, one’s own country would be victorious
‘The outbreak of War in 1914 was due to an aggressive German foreign policy which had been waged since 1900’ Use source on page 46. The notion that Germany played a pivotal part in the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 is expressed by all three sources, although the belief that it was their aggressive foreign policy which carried the greatest responsibility is voiced especially in Source W. Here David Blackbourn argues that Germany’s naval expansion was highly responsible for increasing international tension. Source V also states that Germany’s foreign policy was to blame for the outbreak of war, focusing on the army’s responsibility. However whilst Source X does suggest foreign policy was involved in the creation of WW1, it challenges the argument to the greatest extent, instead arguing that the Balkans played a crucial part in emergence of war. It can be argued that whilst German foreign policy was a highly significant factor in the outbreak of war, it is important to remember there were many other vital factors, especially the roles of other nations which played a more important role in the outbreak of war.
Differences in warfare became inevitable, and made thinking and ideas very important. The nations were introduced to new weapons such as poison gas, machine guns, submarines, airplanes, more advanced artillery, and tanks ( Prior, Wilson 129). Each of these weapons changed a certain part of warfare and how the armies of the war would defeat their enemy. World War I had been sparked by many reasons, long term and short term. The ultimate long term reason for the war was the unification of Germany in 1871.
This in addition to the point that Germany had just been through an industrialisation stage and was trying establish itself as a world power lead to the First World War as this ambition lead to other countries becoming threatened. Germany was increasing in stature after defeating France in a war in 1870-1; this paired with the fact that Chancellor Otto Van Bismarck had unified the various different states of Germany into one country meant there was a huge surge in Nationalism. Kaiser Wilhelm II ascended to the German throne in 1888 and as a representation of the aggressive personality of the new leader there was a change in foreign policy as Germany embarked on a ‘Neuer Kurs’ this lead to Von Bismarck being sacked and Germany becoming a much more aggressive nation. Apart of becoming a world power Germany needed allies in which they found in Italy and Austria-Hungary in the Triple Alliance in 1882. Another change which made war more likely was when in 1894 the Schlieffen plan was made.