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The Great War Essay

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Historians disagree about the causes of the Great War as there are numerous different sources of the conflict, both long term and short term. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is considered the catalyst that sparked the war but there are deeper, more complex reasons for its beginning. The extensive alliance system throughout Europe, as well as the German foreign policy of expansionism helped to ignite what was a relatively small international conflict into a worldwide war. Imperial tensions also added to the friction in 20th century Europe and these three factors all contributed to Great War beginning in July 1914. One of the many causes of the Great War was the German foreign policy of expansionism. This policy came about as a result of a feeling of growing pressure from Russia and France. Historian Fritz Fischer was allowed access to the entire Imperial German government archives and found that a War council meeting in 1912 seemed to discuss the possibility of European war. During the meeting Army Chief of Staff General von Moltke stated ‘war is unavoidable and the sooner the better’ as they feared Russia would only grow stronger as their economy modernised. The leaders wanted war to start in late 1912 however Admiral Tirpitz argued Germany’s navy required improvement to stand up to the British equivalent. This meeting paints Germany as a guilty party, however Annika Mombauer states ‘there is no direct evidence to prove that military decision-makers understood
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