Weltpolitik could be argued to be a factor relating to the breakout of the First World War in August 1914. Although, it could be said that the war was avoidable and not inevitable, supported by Geiss in source 2 and Mombauer in source 3. On the other hand there are a two other main views which the sources suggest could be accountable for the outbreak of the war, with Deist source 1 mainly pushing for the political decision makers in the Kaiser and his military cabinet, such as Molkte and Tiripitz. The final factor that all three sources partially suggest is the impact of the tensions in the Balkans, mainly between the Austro-Hungarians and the Russians. Altogether, the idea that Weltpolitik made the First World War inevitable by August 1914 is short sighted as this is not entirely accountable for the war but was a contribution.
Source 2, even though it agrees with the statement also disagrees to an extent as well and supports source 3, blaming the immobilisation of Russia for the outbreak of war, linking to source 3 as Russia would have carefully thought out the plan to immobilise and rearm. Source 1 also slightly blames the Austrians for the start of the war due to the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in relation to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand which is an important reason that should not be overlooked. Another reason for the outbreak of war is also the triple entente between Britain, France and Russia which caused Germany to feel encircled due to these countries geographical location, this could disprove source 2 about the schlieffen plan, arguing it was done in order to knock France out before war began officially and put ends to a 2 front war. Source 1 agrees with the statement that war broke out as a result of decisions made by the German military. ‘German military which ultimately secured by a combination of persuasion and defiance, the mobilisation orders, the ultimata and declarations of war which unleashed the conflict’ This shows the German military were the ones who ordered the mobilisation and rearmament of Germany and the use of the word ‘defiance’ means source 1
Although both authors agree on the fact that Germany bears much of the responsibility, this author emphasizes that it is all Germany’s fault. Berghahn’s main point was that the decision made by the Kaiser to activate the “Schlieffen Plan” was one that changed everything. This plan called for a small troop deployment against Russia while the rest of the German army would invade western France, by way of Belgium. When France was defeated, the plan was then for the German army to deploy to the east, against Russia. However, because of the ultimatum given to Belgium on August 2, 1914, by France, war was declared between the two countries on August 3.
A somewhat controversial notion is that Germany was responsible for the outbreak of the war, evident in the country’s aggressive actions towards foreign policy and their non hesitant approach to the devision of the military planning and developments. It is difficult to conclude whether this opinion is totally reliable due to the strong part Germany did play in the build up to the war. Whether their actions were protective, in attempt to gain higher power status or preparatory for war, Germany cannot wholly be to blame. As many historians have less controversially said, the fragile alliance systems; the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance; in the setting of early twentieth century Europe meant that several countries were involved in the issues occurring in this time. Britain, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Germany all had a significant part play in the the outbreak of the first world war.
Source 1 seems to suggest that the Kaiser was the main cause of many of the problems apparent in Germany were due to the unchallengeable authority of the Kaiser. “It was the Kaiser…who insisted on exercising that authority” suggests that the dominance of the Kaiser was responsible for creating a lot of the problems in early 20th century Germany. This view is also shared by the historian John Rohl, who argued that Germany “was run as a ‘functioning monarchy’ with power concentrated in the hands of one man”, and therefore the Kaiser alone was responsible for successes or problems. Source one also suggests that the Kaiser “was responsible for ruining Germany’s relationship with Britain”. A key example of this would be the “Kruger telegram”, in which the Kaiser sent a personal telegram to President Kruger of the South African Republic, congratulating him on defeating British raiders.
This shows that appeasement, in which is designed to avoid conflict, war and death was causing it anyway by letting a country being invaded by an Aggressive leader such as Hitler. This factor of surrendering the Sudentland under appeasement is key to why British Foreign Policy was a disaster. The factor that War had broke out in 1939 despite the actions under the British Foreign Policy shows that the policy was a disaster. It had failed the main achievement of avoiding war in Europe, however with the aggressive leaders such as Hitler and Mussolini in Europe; many believed they needed to be confronted with rather than given what they wanted. Source 4 is an extract from a speech by Winston
The Treaty of Versailles in the mind of the Germans stabbed them in the back, especially the guilt clause that made them take blame for the First World War. Hitler capitalized on these sentiments and used them to rally the German people for his own Nazi Party. This is made obvious in his books “Mein Kampf” and its unnamed sequel. Another example is found in Triumph of the Will, in one of the speeches made during the movie. Without the Treaty of Versailles Germany would not have been in bad shape to begin with, thus not needing Hitler and second without it, Hitler would have lost a major public relations tool.
The three powers did not consult with Benes and the Czechs, nor with Russia. This made once again increased tension. Hitler had again achieved his aim by threatening force. Although Chamberlain declared that the appeasement meant ‘peace in our time’, he had at the same time authorized a great increase in arms spending. Hitler’s policies had led to a renewed arms race in Europe.
This treaty placed blame solely on Germany resulting in loss of the Rhineland, also Germany had to demilitarize and pay back billions to allies as part of war reparations. This push by the Allied powers left Germany defeated but not destroyed as this loss offered a starting point for a political push away from the imperial government of the past to a new republic as Germans began to revolt. Named the Weimar Republic, the new government in place was incapable of dealing with the complex problems via the Treaty of Versailles. Hyperinflation and political revolts began to affect the country. The sanctions of the treaty placed Germany was in dismay, this offered neighboring European countries the ability to take advantage of Germany.
This highlights the perception of Russia as a protector of the Slav people. This was the most significant reason for Russia going to war in 1914, and since Russia had vowed to protect Serbia, when she was threatened, Russia was required to become involved. This therefore shows that the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was the most important cause of Russia’s involvement in the war. Another important reason for Russia’s entry into the First World War was the mobilisation plans. This was important because the signing of them meant that Germany and Austria-Hungary felt threatened, and joined together in attacking Serbia.