The long-term factors that would have built tension and rivalries throughout Europe are the alliance systems and the arms race, whereas the short term factors would be the mismanaged crisis, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which was ultimately the trigger of total war. The Balkan crisis 1908 -12 both increased the likelihood of war. As there had been tensions growing since 1912 between the Serbians and the Austro- Hungarians after their attempt to secure control. These tensions were inevitably going to cause a war; as in the words of Otto Von Bisamrck, quoted at the time, a war was going to brake out due to “some damn fool in the Balkans.” The first Balkan crisis of 1912 didn’t break out into war, however it left tensions high. As Serbia’s confidence was now at its peak, as there sized had doubled, and the army had increased to 400,000, so if the were now confronted by the Austro- Hungarians they were now willing to fight.
They clashed with the main powers of Europe over territory like morocco, which ultimately strengthened Franco-Anglo relationships. Weltpolitik was a huge political risk and in the end the risks outweighed the positive factors, which resulted in the failure of the plan and ultimately was a great cause of WW1 In 1893 the Franco-Russian alliance was formed which meant that it allowed the possibility of encirclement of Germany, which made them paranoid. The Kaiser at the time was Wilhelm II and he surrounded himself with military figures so had a very militaristic point of view. So his response to the possible encirclement was to come up with a new plan called the Schliffen Plan. This stated that if a possibility of a two front war with France and Russia was ever to arise they would mobilise their troops quickly and beat the French within six weeks and then march back in time to meet the Russian army.
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.
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
As a result, relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia began to decrease. Then in 1908, after a change in foreign ministers, Austria-Hungary tried to annex (take without permission) some Serbian territory. This made Serbia angry even more than they already were. Then between 1912 and 1913, Serbia was involved in two Balkan Wars. The first Balkan War involved Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro fighting against the Turks of the Ottoman Empire.
As you can see there were also many other reasons for the war besides the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. After Serbia declined the ultimatum, the Austro-Hungarian Empire waged war on Serbia on 28th July 1914. Since Russia was allied to Serbia, they announced mobilization of troops in defense for Serbia on August 1st 1914. Germany was allied to the Austro-Hungarians and took the Russian mobilization as a threat and declared war on Russia on August 1st 1914. Since Russia and France were allies and France didn’t like Germany due to the lost war against them in 1870, they declared war on Germany on August 3rd 1914.
‘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.
It can be seen as of key importance as Russia was not able to keep up with the demands of the war and therefore it was inevitable that social unrest would arise and the already unstable autocracy would fall. Without the war Nicholas II may have been able to continue coping with the demands for more liberal and constitutional reforms. This is seen after the failure of the Russo-Japanese war in 1905 which caused a series of changes including the October Manifesto and an emergence of a national parliament, the Duma, which essentially abandoned
Germany was forced to take all the blame for damages received by the allies. They were also forced to accept charges of starting the war. This left much of the German population feeling cheated by the ‘Big Four’, moreover, Germany had to pay all damages incurred in the French and Belgian territories during fighting. This subsequently caused great tensions in Germany, as they were bemused as to how they could be held responsible for starting the war, when they felt it was equally the faults of the four allied countries. It is commonly accepted that Germany were eager for a war, however in 1914 they were only responding to events in Sarajevo by agreeing to back Austria, as opposed to starting a war with no origin.
So for example if the allies in the west did not promise to rebuild Germany and try to stop every country from becoming communist when they threatened to even if it through fair vote (rare as it was). It can be argued that the cold war was an avoidable one. Firstly the Russians were very aggressive in creating a buffer zone and in fact created communist states practically all over Eastern Europe and made much more than a buffer zone and Stalin was at the heart of all these communist political movements and was trying to spread his influence to even Italy and France. This worried the west very much because they thought their very freedom was being threatened but more importantly the more states that became communist the less ttade there was. The west needed trade partners in the east and they couldn’t trade with communist states.