“The Outbreak Of War In Europe In 1914 Was Due To

1465 Words6 Pages
“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. However, although many historians have agreed with, or adapted this argument, such as the view it was a ‘calculated risk’, or an ‘escape forward’ in order to relieve Germany from their domestic pressures, many have also criticised the approach. For instance, it is interpreted by some that Germany stumbled into a defensive war in order to protect themselves, and their ally; Austria-Hungary. However, considering these aspects, it could be argued that it is most conceivable that that Germany had planned the war and their aggressive foreign policy aimed to provoke a war in order to help their plans of annexation. Fischer’s argument that the outbreak of the First World War was due to Germany’s aggressive foreign policy, with a harsh focus on annexation, can be regarded as one of much significance. This theory has been backed up by historians such as Berghahn who claims that Germany ‘[tried] to shift the balance of power in their favour’, and did this through a weltpolitik policy of aggressiveness. This, it can be argued, can be shown by The Navy Race, in which Germany attempted to expand their navy in order to compete with Britain. Despite this being regarded by some as an attempt to
Open Document