To What Extent Was German Aggression the Cause of the First World War?

2833 Words Jan 13th, 2011 12 Pages
Some historians argue that blame for WW1 is with Germany, through her aggressive foreign policy, whilst others believe it to be with Austria-Hungary for instigating the clash in the Balkans, which eventually, it is argued, created war. Many believe it was the effect of colonial imperialism, and greed that compelled the world leaders to launch an attack enhancing their individual status in the balance of European and World-power. The issue of blame is one which has caused vast controversy throughout history, and was controversially re-opened in the 1960’s by Fischer. Other theories include, the impact of trade rivalry on tension between powers and in launching the arms race thus reinforcing the competition for power and deterioration of …show more content…
France agreed to fund the Russian military programme and subsequently, France and Russia joined together in mutual fear of Germany. This reinforces the claim that Alliances escalated small conflicts into world-wide competition.
Historians suggest that alliances made violence almost inevitable and comment that without them, international squabbles would never have led to such a catastrophic war. For instance Germany’s aggression in Morocco was an attempt to display Germany as a more necessary and influential ally than Britain. It was however, unsuccessful as Germany’s increasing threat to the European distribution of power, and the Kaisers menace to relations that encouraged France and Britain to launch the Entente trio of WW1. It can be argued that Germany more frequently exploited the alliances than the members of the Entente, as emphasised by Fischer, who demonstrates how whilst the alliances were formed for defence, they were in most cases not implemented with the same aim considered, becoming offensive. As Schmitt believes, the alliances ‘when put to the final test, almost mechanically operated to convert a local quarrel into war.’ However, Joll suggests, the alliances alone were insufficient for causing the war. He suggests that they influenced the readiness of military plans, but didn’t increase the opportunities for them being implemented. The European powers didn’t consider alliances to be concrete and were therefore reluctant to apply military
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