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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 was seen as a threat to peace in Europe

Along with 'Weltpolitik' foreign policy of colonial expansion and previous rivalries, Germany's aggressive presence on the world stage greatly bolstered tensions between actors going into World War 1.

The Argument

Ill feelings towards Germany began in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War, well before World War 1. The conflict created a unified, powerful, and dynamic Germany, but humiliated and defeated France, who lost territory to Germany. This created tension between German and France as the French bitterly employed a policy of revanchism, eyeing to reacquire the territory of Alsace-Lorraine which they had seceded. Adding sparks to the embers, when Kaiser Wilhelm II took reign in Germany following Otto Von Bismarck's Resignation, he quickly demolished any allyships his predecessor had fostered. The Kaiser also avoided renewing a Secret Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.[1] This gesture, in addition to the formation of the Dual-Alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, caused Russia to feel isolated and threatened enough to join a Rival-Alliance with France. Germany also created tensions with Britain through a shipbuilding arms race from 1898 to 1910, irreversibly damaging their relationship.[2] Additionally, through the employment of 'The Schlieffen Plan' which prematurely mobilized German forces against France and Russia, suspicions of German thirst for war were growing.[3] This, combined with Kaiser Wilhelm aggressive rulership and Weltpolitik policy to spread Prussian culture and thought, heightened tensions and ultimately lit the fire that was World War 1.

Counter arguments

Although there were ill feelings towards Germany, they did not ultimately pull the trigger on starting the war. Unfortunately, the war declaration was Austria's decision, which Germany backed up being the faithful ally they are to Austria (especially since Austria was virtually their only ally). Therefore, Germany can not be held as the sole power responsible.

Proponents

Premises

Rejecting the premises

References

  1. https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/The_Reinsurance_Treaty
  2. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-naval-race-between-britain-and-germany-before-the-first-world-war
  3. https://www.military.com/history/world-war-i-schlieffen-plan.html
This page was last edited on Monday, 19 Oct 2020 at 21:22 UTC

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