Germany was treated in this way because, by invading Belgium, it was seen as starting the war by the Allies, as it had unnecessarily marched through a neutral country to invade a country with which it wasn’t yet at war. Many of the people of Germany viewed this as unfair, especially when they were told of the harsh retributions which were being imposed upon them. In fact, some Germans felt that, rather than having been defeated, they had been conquered by the Allied forces. What reasons did they have for feeling this way? Firstly, they were, under a ‘War Guilt’ clause, expected to accept all of the blame for the war.
Germany had to either get involved in the war and be on the front foot against France and Russia, or they could wait until they were attacked and be unprepared. They showed this fear in the German Imperial War Council of 1912. As well as this, they had pledged to defend Austro Hungary, and had a burden of responsibility after their show of support in November 1912. The Austro Hungarian Empire also had reasons for war, they had a large empire and wanted to protect their land from the rebelling Serbs. There was also the widely accepted claim that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the event that tipped the scales of war.
It is fair to say however that Germany, in any of these scenarios, was very much responsible which is why their aggression points towards the outbreak of a general European war. German aggression was responsible for the outbreak of a general European War and in Source 1 Corrigan offers the Fischer idea support stated very clearly by the use of the words ‘undeniable’ and ‘aggressive’ to explain some of Germanys actions. He points towards the September Programme as a reason for Germany’s responsibility because ‘Germany’s foreign policy aims were focused on annexation’. Fischer’s argument for this was that as Germany had planned their ‘peace talks’ within a month of the war starting Germany’s leaders must have had these ideas before the war had even started in August 1914. The fact that the September Programme detailed territories in Northern France, Belgium and buffer states between them and Russia (such as Poland) very much show that Germany’s expansionist aims would cause a general European war.
People argue that this was just because in the armistice, it was clearly set out that Germany would have to accept war guilt and the German leaders signed this at their own free will. As well as this, the German invasion of Belgium was what pulled the war into one of physical action in the form of man to man fighting rather than political discussions. However, I disagree with this; I think that although the Germans had originally agreed to this, it was not, in truth, the German's fault entirely. For example, many of the countries involved such as Serbia when Serbian gunmen assassinated the archduke Franz Ferdinand. Furthermore, the German people didn’t see themselves as a defeated state, many of them were unaware that they had lost; they thought that a temporary ceasefire had been introduced as there were no foreign soldiers marching down their streets.
Meanwhile, other Historians, such as Steven Ozment in, sources one, believe the First World War started from various other reasons such as alliances, arms race and all countries just slithered into war. In this essay I will analyse the sources and make a judgement on whether World War I was a result of planned German aggression or due to many other reasons. Firstly, source one completely agrees with the source, that the war did not arise primarily as a result of planned German aggression. “A deliberate German programme to occupy Central Europe came after, not before”. This disagrees with the argument that Fischer states.
German Appeal to Americans The question of who was the primary culprit of the First World War is still in debate today. At the end of the war, treaty of Versailles was signed and concluded that Germany has sole responsibility for causing the war along with many harsh punishments for Germany. The cause of this harsh treaty can be traced back to the very beginning of the war. The early invasion of Belgium has not only cost German its humane and peaceful reputation but also caused a defeat of the propaganda war. In order to minimize the damage of Germany’s reputation after the invasion, Germany wrote an appeal to the neutral United States explaining the reason of its entrance to the war.
The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 was due to an aggressive German foreign policy which had been waged since c.1900. How far do you agree with this opinion? It has been a matter of controversy within Germany on whether or not they went to war with aggressive or defensive intentions. Source V seems to be of the opinion that Germany went to war solely for defensive reasons due to the extensive array of alliances that encircled the country as well as diplomatic tension in Europe. Source W seems to take the opposite approach deeming how Germany’s aggressive actions since the turn of the century resulted in war.
Why did Britain go to war in 1914? Whereas world war two the cause was straightforward, the causes of the Great War have been debatable, but a general consensus amongst historians has been agreed. It is said that the assassination on Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the catalysts of series of event that led up to full-scale war. The Great War essentially started on the 28th July 1914, with Austria declaring war on Serbia, but it was not until the 1st August (Historyonthenet, 2008) where the war escalated with the German declaration of war on Russia. It was not until the 4th August, where the British declaration of war was announced.
So did something go wrong in the handling of the crisis, or did one or more of the countries involved exploit the situation to plunge Europe into war? (The view that somehow Europe simply stumbled into World War 1 by accident is generally not accepted by historians). It is at this point that controversy begins. Austrian Response to the Assassination The Austrians delivered an ultimatum to Serbia that was almost guaranteed to be turned down by Serbia, but in the event Serbia accepted almost all the points. Austria then declared war on the grounds that it had not been accepted in its entirety.
Austria-Hungary made the Serbs fear annexation while the Slavs inside the country wanted a Great Serbia. he assassination of the Archduke occurred due to the Serbs nationalism, to warn Austria-Hungary to stay away from Serbia. However, it had the completely opposite effect because Austria-Hungary now had a valid reason to give Serbia an Ultimatum that would allow them to attack the country. Austrians did not only do this because they wanted Serbia but also because they realised that the Slavic nationalism could cause another loss of their land as they had experienced in the Second Balkan War in 1913. There was also a significant number of Slave living inside the borders of Austria-Hungary who’s wish for a Great Serbia could not be ignored and so they needed to be shown their limits.