World War I ( 1914-1918 )

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World War I (1914-1918) was the first war to involve almost all of Europe; Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia all participated. The war wiped out a significant amount of the young generation and changed politics, economics and public opinion in Europe for decades to come. While many countries had a role in the war’s outbreak, Germany probably bore the greatest responsibility due to three factors. The Germans had pushed for war since the founding of the modern German state. Germany had poor relationships with many of the countries that surrounded them. Finally, Kaiser Wilhelm II, the head of Germany, and his government made numerous diplomatic errors in months that led up to the outbreak of the war.…show more content…
German militarism and German nationalism led to a strong desire for war. German people wanted a large and strong army, and they not only respected their soldiers; they worshipped them. They believed in the importance of being and appearing strong. Barbara Tuchman in her book, The Guns of August, notes that unlike President Theodore Roosevelt, who believed that a person should “speak softly and carry a big stick”, the Germans believed that a person should “speak loudly and brandish a big gun.” This motto indicated the German belief in not only being strong, but also looking strong. The Germans also believed that war was ennobling. As the German writer Thomas Mann wrote, “[War is] a purification, a liberation, an enormous hope. The victory of Germany will be a victory of soul over numbers.” German officials believed that an effective way to impress Europe was through threats and a show of power. They wanted to win a war and humble Russia; crush Great Britain and deprive the British of their navy, India, and Egypt; to make France pay indemnity; force Belgium to yield its seacoast; and punish Japan. The German people had deep nationalistic views about their country. They believed that Germany was the top country and that all other countries should recognize it. The Germans felt as though they were the most educated and progressive people and as such they would enlighten the world. Many
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