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.
‘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.
Because Germany was surrounded by the Triple Entente (the Great Britain, France, Russia). So Germany was land-locked. Germany needed a strong navy so that it would have a place in Europe, and to confront other countries. c. Based on the state of the arms race in 1914, if you were a German citizen, how would you feel? Explain why.
These tensions started to disrupt their dual alliance with Austria-Hungary, even with a ‘Blank Cheque’ being given to them. With the Kaiser believing that foreign policy and civil war was increasingly the same, it can be assumed that aggressive foreign policy may have been set to distract the German public away from things at home and more onto how to become a strong world power. A factor that both strengthens and weakens the argument of aggressive foreign policy being the reason for the outbreak of war in 1914 is that of encirclement. Source V mentions ‘They felt encircled not merely by the Triple Entente, but also by the forces of change.’ First of all, Germany became sceptical about the alliance between Britain, France and Russia, the Triple Entente, they thought it was not going to work and did not fear it until they tried to cause problems between France and Britain with the ownership of the Balkan islands, which was unsuccessful. When Germany realised that the entente was a
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
By doing this Wilhelm aggravated Britain because they had the largest navy in the world and because Wilhelm was colonizing along the borders of British colonies. Wilhelm’s increase in German navy fleets started an arms race with Britain in 1910; losing hope of an alliance with the country and also losing hope of keeping France isolated, a hope in which Bismarck also had. Because Bismarck (along with Wilhelm) dreaded a two front war with France he strung a web of alliances with countries such as Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Italy and was hoping to add Britain to his long list of allies. The differences that Bismarck
were really defensive in nature, where Germany tried to gain an edge before the western Allies grew too strong. Thus the question, why did the western Allies fight? Their centuries old goal had been to limit German power. Despite having vast overseas empires and large European territories, both England and France considered any German
World War 2 & Hitler Nationalism was a large part of the second world war. Hitler wanted to achieve the status he desired for Germany, and there for he displayed multiple forms of ultranationalism. I agree with Margret MacMillan that Hitler would have always wanted more power no matter what happened, but I do not agree that the Treaty of Versailles had no effect on world war two. The Treaty of Versailles had a direct impact on the second world war, without Hitler violating the treaty Britain would not have declared war in 1939 kick-starting the second world war. I agree with Margret MacMillan that Hitler would want to gain more power no matter what happened.
This is implying of course that the decision by Nicholas II to go to war against Germany and it’s allies in 1914 was wrong, but this is not the case. Russia actually had many reasons to risk war again; the war was weighed heavily in the allies favour as the combined forces of Great Britain, France and Russia were far stronger than that of Germany, Austria and Hungary. Russia was aware of it’s major failing though, it’s slow modernisation had left it trailing behind that of the other countries, and Russia would have to be prepared for the rapid social and economic change that a war brings. This was Russia’s best chance to modernise and not be left behind. Russia’s early hopes were soon dashed however.
I disagree with the statement “ Increased militarism was the main cause of the second world war.” Due to the fact that it was one of the many reasons why the second world war started. I think that Appeasement was the main cause of the start of the second world war. Firstly , Britain and France followed the policy of appeasement. Appeasement was by chamberlain to satisfy Hitler’s demands. This gave Hitler confidence that Britain and France would not stop him when he invaded other countries.