Outbreak of World War I and Germany's Responsibility Essay

2798 Words12 Pages
Outbreak of World War I and Germany's Responsibility The War Guilt clause has been called the 'historical controversy par excellence[1]'. At the end of the war article 231 explicitly placed the guilt for 'all loss and damage' of the war on the defeated Germany and her allies. This clause was bitterly denied by Germany and has been a subject of keen debate ever since. The issuing of the 'blank cheque' to Austria in 1914, their strong "will to war", the aggressive Schlieffen Plan, the arms race and vital miscalculations on behalf of the German leaders have all been cited as causes for WW1 that were solely Germany's fault. In the face of this almost overwhelming evidence against Germany other…show more content…
Closer examination suggests the origins of this statement lie more with fears of the shortcomings of their war plan, than with an overwhelming 'will to war.' The logical conclusion is not drawn from this quote, which would be 'to present Russia or France with an ultimatum, which would unleash war with right on our side.2' Germany definitely saw war as a way to escape her problems, following the example of Bismarck in 1871, but the war council in itself is not evidence enough to prove that they were planning on starting a war. It only reveals that they were prepared to take a huge risk on European safety to achieve their aims and due to their inadequate war plans (which relied upon Russia being ill prepared for war) needed to take that risk sooner rather than later. It has been argued that the "sole cause for the outbreak of war in 1914 was the Schlieffen Plan"3, because whilst other countries' mobilisations were diplomatic the very nature of Germany's meant war would be certain. As early as the 1920's when the acceptably held view was that of collective responsibility, Albertini was demonstrating that Germany held more responsibility for the outbreak of war than the other nations, his view supported by German's risky declaration of support
Open Document