The First World War started more by accident than by design'. Discuss.
To some extent it is correct to state that the First World War started more by accident than by design. However, it can be argued that many nations within Europe had planned for war and some even pushed for war. Despite this, those nations never wished for a full scale World War'. They were hoping for a war on a much smaller scale, for example, the earlier Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913. In this essay I will discuss both sides of the argument; an accidental war and the planned war. I will then conclude the essay with which side of the argument I believe holds the strongest position.
There are many different angles to be looked at on the origins of the First World …show more content…
Britain did not have a war strategy like France, Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary. Britain certainly did not desire war and was only keen to protect her vast overseas empire. Britain only joined the war after it broke out and campaigned to its people that it was coming to the aid of Belgium, making it a moral war.
The neutral kingdom of Belgium could never plan for war. Its troops were grounded in defence of Antwerp when the Germans invaded.
Serbia had a very straightforward war plan. They would increase their army divisions upon the declaration of war and would strike against Austria-Hungary when they knew what Austria's plans were.
It is obvious that many countries had rigid war plans that were to be used for a possible and perhaps inevitable war. This goes some way to show that the First World War was in fact more of a design rather than just an accident.
However, the causes of the First World War are complex and include many factors. The war did not just happen due to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand or because of these war plans. The origins of the war can be traced back to the problems of the last four decades leading up to 1914 and the changes in Europe since 1870.
One particular factor was the unifications of Germany and Italy as single nations. Nationalism had spread through Europe during the 1860's and 70's. It was
World War I was a tragic episode in European history. As with most wars, there were some causes that led to this event. A few of these causes were militarism, alliances, and imperialism. The first spark of the war was on June 28, 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist group called the Black Hand. The Austrian leaders demanded an apology from Serbia, they got upset and Russia said they would help Serbia. With no apology and the threat of Russia, on June 28 Austria-Hungary declared war on them; Russia in return declared war on Austria-Hungary. Germany declared war on Russia, France on both Germany and Austria-Hungary. Finally Britain had joined France and Russia, then all of Europe was at war.
Decisions for War, 1914-1917 by Richard Hamilton and Holger Herwig investigates the origins of the First World War detailing individual country’s reasons for entering the war. Historians at War by Anthony Adamthwaite explores how scholars have understood the origins of the Second World War throughout varying times and differing national view points. Both works share a common theme of determinism; a retrospective notion placed on historical events by historians that Europe was inescapably predestined to go to war and that nothing nor anyone could inhibit that. Both remark that this popular approach does a disservice into the explanation of war as it does not accurately depict the economic and social agency present in Europe at the time. In
Through the book ‘Europe’s Last Summer’ David Fromkin tackles the issues of pre WWI Europe, and the surrounding political, economic, social, debacles that led paranoid countries to go to arms after nearly a full century of relative peace within the European continent. While Fromkin certainly points his fingers to all the nations of Europe his primary focus lies with Germany and Austria-Hungary. Though he continues to stress throughout much of the book that Kaiser Wilhelm II and Archduke Ferdinand were fervent keepers of the peace within their nations, the fault of the war ultimately could be laid at the feet of their two nations and their constant attempts at war-mongering. He claims the war could have been avoided for the moment, had all the nations of Europe wanted peace, but the two bad eggs of Europe drew them all into an unavoidable general war.
Nationalism: is a strong feeling of pride in one’s country and believing that one’s country is better than other country and this aggressive nationalism in the early 1900’s was a source of tension in Europe, which fueled the war. Nationalism was very strong in France and Germany; it unified the Germans, as they were proud of their growing military and industrial strength. While, France wanted to regain its position as a leading European power. Similarly, Russia had encouraged a form of nationalism in Eastern Europe called Pan Slavism. It drew all Slavic people and Russia was the largest Slavic country ready to defend small Serbia. Multinational Austria Hungary opposed Slavic national movements. After Napoleon’s exile to Elba congress of Vienna was held and it tried to solve the problem in Europe. Delegates of Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia agreed upon a new Europe whereas Germany and Italy were left as divided states. So there
Britain realized in 1907 that their biggest threat was Germany. As for support Russia and France were with Britain and together they made the tripe entente. In 1914 Britain was determined not to enter the war. Germany hoped England would not enter the war but also realized under the Treaty of London of 1839 England defended Belgium. Although, Britain ignored the treaty and let Germany through Belgium but made their duty to protect Britain. Germany controlled Belgium ports and Britain ignored it until the events where Germany attacked France through Belgium which led Britain to enter the world war on August 4,
Many contributions lead to the spark of World War I. The three main causes included the assassination of Francis Ferdinand, alliance systems, and militarism. Although imperialism and nationalism are said to be contributing factors to the cause of World War I, the assassination of Francis Ferdinand, alliance systems, and militarism were three of the most important causes of The Great War. An immediate cause of World War I was the assassination of Austria-Hungary’s archduke, Francis Ferdinand.
At the turn of the twentieth century Europe seemed to enjoy a period of peace and progress. Yet below the surface, several forces were at work that would lead Europe into the “Great War”. Some of the causes of WW1 were Nationalism, Militarism, Imperial Rivalries, Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Alliance.
At the end of World War I, the sole responsibility of initiating the conflict fell on Germany. With the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany took the blame and agreed to pay for reparations. However, the origin of the war was not the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Rather, the origins were nationalism, the creation of entangling alliances, the conflict in the Balkans, and the economic and imperialistic rivalries in Europe. These factors created the right conditions for war to occur. However, the responsibility of initiating conflict can be placed on Austria-Hungary.
World War I was without a doubt one of the defining event of the 20th century. It turned America into an industrial power, tore down the dying empires of Europe, and led the world into the Modern Age. One would think that this war, with how destructive it was, would be conventional in its declaration, or reasons for it, but this it was, in fact, very different from how and why wars now might be declared. The aging political, economic, and governmental systems of the time acted as a very intricately set chain of dominoes, set over hundreds, maybe even thousands of years of different leaders making the system more and more complicated. The leaders had to be capable enough to be able to navigate this system effectively, as the fate of their country was in their hands. With this increasingly complicated system, leaders’ occupations were becoming more and more difficult, and it only took a few chance events combined with leaders not as capable as their predecessors and the system’s intricately set chain of dominoes to set off the defining event of the 20th century: World War I.
For quite a number of reasons, World War II was largely inevitable. In this text, I will take into consideration some arguments that have been presented in the past in an attempt to demonstrate the inevitability of the Second World War. These arguments range from the creation of the Treaty of Versailles to the conditions imposed on Germany to nationalistic issues. Many historians consider German's invasion into Poland the official commencement date of the Second World War.
Being one of history’s major wars, World War One, formerly known as “The Great War”, provokes the controversial question that leaves historians debating: Was World War One avoidable? With prior tensions, naivety to war, and rivalry for pursuit of power, the conditions present in Europe, in 1914, were all the makings of an inevitable war–World War One. To begin with,
Leading up to the First World War (WWI) was a series of crises -- Serbian unification efforts, the Ten-Point Ultimatum from Austria to Serbia, the Kruger Telegram, the Dreadnought Race, the Moroccan Crises of 1905 and of 1911, the Balkan Wars, and the Bosnian Crisis -- that generated significant conflict and division among the countries of Europe, all of which seemed to lay the foundation for the start of WWI. With concern for its own power and security in a rapidly changing Europe, Germany set out to undermine the power of as well as the alliances between other European countries. In his book The Sleepwalkers: How Europe went to War in 1914, Christopher Clark points out that, while ‘not one of the great powers has escaped the
So, Germany made a decision, as too much of the world had been claimed they must fight to gain countries, in order to build their much desired Empire. This lead to the war as it created rivalry between Britain and Germany, who were both powerful Empires in their own right. This meant in the case of a war between nations, such as the one which followed, these domains would be on opposing sides and would have a good motive to want to belittle the others status, Empire, National forces and wealth.
In order to fully understand how Britain’s decision to go to war against Germany is best explained one must engage into the debate revolving around the question of the extent to which Britain and other countries were responsible for causing war. This helps explain the intention Britain had for war which is vital in understanding their decision making process to cause war in the first place. Some schools of thought have come to the conclusion that it was everybody or nobody- the continent “slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war without any trace of apprehension or dismay.”1 That analysis will be considered in this essay as will the widespread thesis that it was Germany’s aggression which not only created the preconditions for war, but also triggered Britain into war with the political imbalance of power being created from the growing naval and colonial expansion of Germany. Other factors that help explain why Britain went to war against Germany
After the First World War (1914-1919), the world was faced with the questions - who was responsible and what was reason for the outbreak of the war. Ultimately it was agreed on the 28 June 1919 that “the Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage” from the First World War. However, there have been many other interpretations on whom and what was responsible for the war. On the one hand, some historians would agree with David Lloyd George’s notion of all “the nations slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war”, however, on the contrary, others would agree with Fischer in arguing that Germany’s aggressive foreign policy was responsible for the First World War. Whether you agree with Lloyd George or Fischer, it is important to understand some of the other possible reasons for the outbreak of the First World War – including the growth of nationalism and imperialism, the alliances within Europe and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although this essay will argue that Germany’s aggressive foreign policy was responsible for the outbreak of the First World War, it will also illustrate why other historians have argued against that notion.