Causes Of World War I: Germany

1596 words - 6 pages

World War I was a war between the allies, which included Russia, France, Serbia, and Great Britain, against the central powers of Europe; Germany and Austria. When war broke out between Austria and Serbia in 1914, the alliance system drew the other European countries into the war; consequently the rest of the world was brought into the conflict. In the early twentieth century, Germany was witnessing a prospering economy alongside an increased sense of national pride. With the growing economy, Germany began to make progress in the Arms Race and in the development of their navy. Under the control of William II, Germany made a series of unlawful decisions that added to the animosity between European superpowers. With the introduction of weltpolitik, Germany ruined its relationships with other countries, such as Britain, France and Russia. With increased nationalism, Germany started to feel more powerful, as a result they began to conquer more land in continents such as Africa. Consequently, this created conflict between powers that had preexisting claim to the African colonies. In the end, German imperialism, nationalism, progress in the Arms Race and increasing naval strength greatly led to the outbreak of World War I.
During the years between 1900 and 1914, many European powers were in the process of strengthening their military. Each country wanted to have a military that would be stronger compared to those of other countries. By 1914, Germany had increased their military by 73% in terms of equipment and weaponry in relation to the 1910 levels. Germany expanded their navy by building ships, such as the Dreadnoughts and Battle Cruisers. Furthermore, they developed a Naval Law in 1900 that stated that their navy would double in the coming years, surpassing the naval superpowers like Great Britain (Rickard). Moreover Germany was recruiting additional soldiers into their army every year leading up to the Great War, it is estimated that 170,000 German infantry was recruited into the military in just the last year before the war (HW Poon).The French saw the growing German land army as a serious competitor and threat to their own army, notably France was recognized for having one of the largest land armies in the world at that time. As stated by Suzanne Karpilovsky, “The standing armies of France and Germany doubled in size between 1870 and 1914.” (Karpilovsky, Fogel and Kobelt). In this way, Germany’s rapidly growing military expenditure made other European countries feel insecure about their safety. Great Britain had its own insecurities regarding Germany; in particular Great Britain’s “Balance of Power” policy was being disrupted as Germany’s military strength was making Germany the most powerful country in Europe. This led to increased feelings of tension between Germany and other European powers; as Henry Kissinger stated, “Germany became the strongest and as such proved disquieting to its neighbors.” (Kissinger 169). This is why Germany’s...

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