Causes Of German Imperialism

Decent Essays

Differing interpretations Fischer, Taylor and McMeekin all have different views on the extent to which German imperialism was the predominant cause of the First World War. Fischer argues that German imperialism bears the onus for the Great War, as he concluded that they had gone to war to achieve European and worldwide domination. He states that Germany had ‘confidence in the invincibility of her military strength,’ implying that Germany had been building up their forces. This indicates Germany must have already been preparing for war, strengthening her army until she saw that both France and Russia were ‘militarily weak’ in comparison - to the extent that German elites believed they would remain somewhat unhindered in their continuation of ‘aggressive intentions.’ This is significant for several reasons. First, it was controversial as these ideas challenged the pre-existing general consensus of historians’ outlook since the 1930s: that all involved European nations shared a collective war-guilt from the First World War. Fischer rejects this view. He references a document written by Bethmann’s private secretary on 9 September 1914, outlining the Chancellor’s plan for peace negotiations which he anticipated would soon take place, as according to the September Programme. Fischer extrapolated that these detailed plans (that already had the support of the wider political nation in Germany) must have existed in August and July, and that this was indication towards Germany’s

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