In this essay I will argue both sides of this argument using sources to back up my points, however ever maintaining the fact I agree. German aggression can be seen as being responsible for the outbreak of a General European war due to the Schlieffen plan. This plan devised by General von Schlieffen would give Germany the option of fighting a war on two fronts with the French and the Russians. Both sources 1 and 2 agree that this plan was aggressive and therefore agree with the statement herein. Source 1 state’s that ‘as early as 1906, Germany had in place a plan for an aggressive war.’ Suggesting that the plan was put in place to start a war when the time was right.
Contrastingly, James Joll suggests that Germany’s defensive offensive war rooted from a fear of encirclement from the countries that it borders, and so presents the opinion most opposing to that of the question. L.F.C Turner’s opinion arises somewhere between the two other historians’ arguments, and states that Germany was aggressive during Europe’s last month of peace before war, but there were other factors that should be considered equally. On the one hand, it was German aggression that was responsible for the outbreak of a general European war in August 1914. One example of suggested German aggression can be seen in their long term foreign policy, ‘weltpolitik’ (world politics), which had been implemented in 1897. The aim of this foreign policy was to spread German influence throughout the world, the meaning of which is interpreted differently by different people.
Although German signed the Treaty of Versailles, much to the disgrace of many Germans, admitting they were to blame it is undeniable that aggressive German foreign policy had a lot to do with the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, but this neglects other factors that may have additionally added to the tensions leading up to the war. Many historians debate whether it was mainly Germany to blame or whether other dominant powers led them into a no-win situation. Source V, ‘Modern Germany’ by Volker Berghahn suggests that the Kaiser no longer saw foreign policy and civil war as separate issues and that they were now seen to entwine together. The mention of the 1913 Army bill that had aggravated many within the German society due to the growing distress over money and the status quo within the German political establishment, the argument over the tax burdens grew with every bill passed. These tensions started to disrupt their dual alliance with Austria-Hungary, even with a ‘Blank Cheque’ being given to them.
‘The outbreak of the war in Europe 1914 was due to an aggressive German Foreign Policy which had been waged since c.1900’ How far do you agree with this opinion? Discussions over the causes of the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 have caused much controversy due to the breadth of events in multiple countries which took place over a short period of time, concluding in war. The evidence within source V, W and X refer to some of these events, thus hold different countries and individuals to blame to different extents. Whilst source V suggests that aggressive German Foreign policy did hold a considerable proportion of the blame, it places the Germans in a sympathetic position due to their encirclement leaving them no other option. Source W is very similar due to the fact that it blames Germany’s strengthening of the military and navy to a large extent, however proclaims their ‘peaceful intentions’; whereas source X dwarfs Germany’s contributions as a state, placing more responsibility for the outbreak of war on Austria-Hungary.
Considering that Realpolitik focused on preventing a war within Europe and Weltpolitik aggressively asserted German dominance, it can be validly argued that this direct change in German foreign policy played a major role in bringing about the First World War. Another reason that German foreign policy was so greatly scrutinized was because of the Anglo-German naval rivalry which was creating tension within Europe. As long as Germany built, Britain would be a German enemy. The German government dramatically increased the development of German Ships. [i] This arms race and change in German foreign policy, believing they needed to control the seas was seen as a definite and direct cause
All motivated the U.S. to declare war on Germany and help the war torn Allies and defeat the Central Powers. The first major influence in America's push for war with Germany was the German naval policy during the war. This caused extreme strain between the two nations and would
Taylor wrote a book called “The Struggle for Mastery in Europe”, in this book A.J.P. Taylor claimed that German ambitions were the cause of the war. All of these views have merit; however, while imperialism was one of the causes of World War 1, the Alliance system and militarism in the pre-war period were definitely the major causes of the war. The Marxist historian, Eric Hobsbawn, came up with a theory, the "zero-sum game" theory. This theory was applicable to World War One because it was an "age of total war", therefore the war was "zero-sum game".
The Americans had a great importance in the Second Battle of Marne. They helped began because of Germany’s greed for power. There were also many other causes of World War One. Some causes of the World War one was nationalism, imperialism, and militarism. Nationalism was a unifying force, but it also led to intense competition between nations.
Example in histroy Neutrality in the Great War: 1914–1917 Since the 1870s, most of the major countries in Europe had been gearing for war with each other. Preparations had been subtle. The independent German kingdoms united in the 1870s and had quickly become the largest power on the continent. France meanwhile was arming heavily in case its centuries-old rival Germany chose to attack. Russia also feared the growing German threat and sought to ally itself with Great Britain, France, and even Germany itself for protection.
However, it was intercepted, decrypted, and published in newspapers as propaganda. The telegram and the excessive sea warfare definitely played a part in America going to war, however, there are additional possibilities, if not definite reasons, that lead the U.S. into war. Because of possible economic collapse according to the Glider Lehrman Institute of American History, "By 1917, American loans to the Allies had soared to $2.25 billion; loans to Germany stood at a paltry [measly] $27 million." If not anything else, this would be a huge reason to go to war. Two and a quarter billion dollars is a large sum of money, and if the United States were to lose this money, it would have more than likely been catastrophic and it would've brought about economic collapse in America.