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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?

Germany alone is responsible Show more Show less

With aggressive foreign policy and ulterior motives, Germany is guilty of the war outbreak by bolstering tensions and whispering in the ears of their allies.
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Germany coerced their ally, Austria-Hungary, to begin conflict

Without the coercion from Germany, Austria never would have gone through with retaliation following the Assassination. As the only war to have been caused by assassination, Germany was certainly whispering to provoke an overreaction.

The Argument

Bethmann-Hollweg, Chancellor of Germany, essentially handed Austria-Hungary a "blank cheque" following the initial insurrection caused by the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. [1] This gesture signified to Austria that if they choose a path of conflict, Germany would support them and provide limitless resources to them in order to comfortably win and secure political triumph by fighting for the Balkans.[2] [3] Additionally, by providing this complete and absolute support for their ally, Germany could virtually advocate for themselves. They could insert their interests into a smaller conflict through offering support, but then expand it into a mass conflict of greater stakes and opportunity for both themselves and Austria-Hungary.[4]

Counter arguments

It can be argued that Germany persuaded Austria, but this does not change the role of Austria in the war and the state of affairs between Austria and Serbia. Without the Austrian/Serbian conflict, the War would not have incited and employed as many world powers as it had. Therefore, Germany can not be named the sole responsible actor.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/how-the-world-went-to-war-in-1914
  2. https://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/bethmann.htm
  3. https://online.norwich.edu/academic-programs/resources/six-causes-of-world-war-i
  4. https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/germanys_blank_cheque_to_austria-hungary
This page was last edited on Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 03:27 UTC

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