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Who bore responsibility for the start of World War I? Show more Show less
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Lasting from 1914 to 1918, World War 1 claimed over 16 million lives, bolstered military technology, and brought world powers to the European theater to fight till ultimate destruction. Who can be blamed for the carnage seen throughout this conflict?

Everyone shares responsibility Show more Show less

Considering the interconnectedness of allyship, rising global tensions, and widespread imperialism, all actors must bear some responsibility for the outbreak of World War 1.
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European expansionism led to the outbreak

Imperialistic and nationalistic feelings were widespread, and naturally, tensions rose due to competition between powers and opposing empires.

The Argument

Before the onset of WW1, there was a great scramble for colonies in Africa, resulting in various diplomatic issues between European actors. With the age of imperialism in full swing, most European powers were greatly interested in spreading and imposing their culture and values onto Africa's inhabitants. A specific crisis, known as the First Moroccan Crisis, involving Morocco, France, and Germany, stands out. In this case, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany declared support for Morocco to maintain their independence amidst France and Britain's attempts to colonize the territory. His declaration also served to dispute the balance of European powers at this time, which was dominated by the Entente Cordiale, France, and Britain.[1] By declaring support for Moroccan independence, the Kaiser also advocated for equal trade opportunity for Germany in Morocco. Although unintended, this action strengthened the relationship between France and Britain, united by distaste in Germany. A second Moroccan crisis arose in 1911 when a German gunboat, the Panther, was dispatched to the territory.[2] This led to a series of negotiations and dialogues between the powers to discuss both the Morocco crisis and compensation to Germany for events occurring in the Congo, another African colony. These conflicts, risen from the imperialistic foreign policy employed at the time by many major powers, resulted in increased tensions, formations of allyships, and ultimately caused World War 1.

Counter arguments

Although many world powers of the time were involved in imperialist foreign policy, Germany was one of the aggressors in both imperialism and foreign policy with other European powers. All the other actors can not be held responsible. Germany contributed to the tension more and in different ways compared to the other European powers.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-first-moroccan-crisis
  2. https://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/boshtml/bos137.htm

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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020 at 00:30 UTC

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