Was Germany solely responsible for the outbreak of World War One?

1820 WordsJan 29, 20148 Pages
Assess the argument that Germany should be held largely or solely responsible for the outbreak of World War One. The extent of which Germany should be held responsible for the outbreak of World War one is debatable. One could argue that Germany and her aggressive and competitive nature towards the other European powers, highlighted by the Schlieffen plan, make Germany largely responsible for the outbreak of war. On the other hand, being in the middle of several great powers, it is fair to suggest that Germany was merely protecting itself against encirclement and aggression from others. One could even argue that Germany was merely trying to ‘fit in’ with the rest of Europe by increasing its military might and had neither offensive nor…show more content…
Bond does however go on to say the naval race was not a cause for the outbreak of war but merely “played a significant part in preparing for an explosive situation.” This was seen by Bethmann-Hollweg who tried to “bring about a détente” between the British and Germans but his attempts were futile as the implementation of the 2nd Naval Law meant Britain didn’t trust Germany so it was probable that, should they be involved in the war, they would be against Germany. Although one could blame German expansionism as a root cause for World War One because it equipped them for war and in-turn made other countries strengthen their defences it is unfair to blame Germany for doing so as Robbins argues, “rivalries characterised the European state system.” Germany was merely trying to fit in. From another standpoint one could view the British actions and involvement in the war as hugely significant because, as Robbins argues, British involvement “expanded the war and prolonged it.” Germany didn’t believe the British would get involved in the war because Britain had refused to sign any documents obliging them to defend any members of the entente and because of the Anglo-German settlement in Africa. “Britain would be neutral.” One could also blame the British for sheer size of the war as British involvement took the war front to Africa as well as
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