The long-term factors that would have built tension and rivalries throughout Europe are the alliance systems and the arms race, whereas the short term factors would be the mismanaged crisis, the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which was ultimately the trigger of total war. The Balkan crisis 1908 -12 both increased the likelihood of war. As there had been tensions growing since 1912 between the Serbians and the Austro- Hungarians after their attempt to secure control. These tensions were inevitably going to cause a war; as in the words of Otto Von Bisamrck, quoted at the time, a war was going to brake out due to “some damn fool in the Balkans.” The first Balkan crisis of 1912 didn’t break out into war, however it left tensions high. As Serbia’s confidence was now at its peak, as there sized had doubled, and the army had increased to 400,000, so if the were now confronted by the Austro- Hungarians they were now willing to fight.
Great Britain, France, and Russia all formed the Allies while Germany, Austria- Hungary, and Italy formed the Central Powers. The position of Germany might have led to an early declaration of was because it was surrounded by the allied powers. Nationalism and extreme patriotism towards the country was also a reason for the outbreak of the war. This over-confidence gave birth to a fatal misconception: that in the event of war in Europe, one’s own country would be victorious
Was Germany to blame for the start of world war one? Germany was to blame for the First World War, but only to a certain extent. Germany was not solely to blame, but did contribute greatly to the sequence of events that led to war. Germany were a major contributor to the Arms Race, caused tension between many European countries, made alliances, were extremely nationalistic and encouraged Austria – Hungary to declare war on Serbia. In 1904, Germans were encouraged to become nationalists.
“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.
Why did Germany go to war in 1914? There are many reasons as to why Germany went to war in 1914 such as fear of encirclement, various alliances formed, internal policies and domestic and military factors. I personally think the most important reason was due to their internal politics. Germany was formed as a country in 1871 and so felt like they had to prove themselves as a nation to the rest of Europe. They did this through aggressive policies, which they hoped would achieve their aim and build up their empire.
This meant more power for their empire. This is why Britain backed France as they didn’t want Germany to gain land as they could potentially get more land and a bigger empire than Britain. In the long term this caused problems between Britain and Germany because they was both power hungry and the thought of another country having a bigger empire or navy made them angry. Wilhelm tested the Entente Cordiale again in 1911 when he demanded compensation
Nationalism, Imperialism and Militarism have been seen by modern historians as being some of the most important causes of the war yet others believe that events that happened eventually built up gradually until the outbreak of WW1. These include events such as the Sarajevo assassination, The Schlieffen plan and the formation of alliances and empires. But which one was the most important? The causes- Nationalism- This could have been seen as a cause at that time since Serbia and Bosnia showed examples of this when they were fighting for their own independence as a country. Serbia had decided that they would unite with Bosnia in order to be able to have their own Balkan state.
Overall, Source W challenges source V, as it indicates that Germany’s aggressive actions since the turn of the century resulted in war. Source X implies how it is a matter of great controversy however leads more towards the fact that Germany had always wanted colonial expansion. Although it could be argued otherwise, it is evident that outbreak of war in Europe was due to an aggressive foreign policy which had been waged c.1900. Source V states that Germany, ‘felt encircled not only by the triple entente but also by the forces of change’. Although it is true that Germany was surrounded by an alliance system, indeed an extensive alliance system did surround Germany, whether they posed a threat or not is questionable.
A German diplomat named Bismarck knew that Germany’s neighbouring European Powers’ reaction would be to unite against their new empire. He was determined not allow the nation to become isolated or overpowered, so it was he who began the chain of international alliances which would form over following years. Bismarck practised a particular type of diplomacy called ‘Realpolitik’. This is defined as politics based on strictly practical, rather than idealistic, notions. However this particular style of diplomacy was also described as unprincipled and unscrupulous.
France might have also been frightenend by the progressing German unification. There were other more politically domestic long term reasons for the war. These were that Bismarck wanted to unify the land that he had won as a result of the Austrian and Prussian war in 1866. Bismarck also used France as a common enemy of Germany all together so that unification could take place much more easily. France thought the war would not only help by stopping Germany’s increase in power.