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European Diplomacy And The First World War

944 words - 4 pages

European diplomacy and the First World War 1870-192311. To what extent were the policies of Germany responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914?German policies: In the longer term, Wilhelm II's policies of Weltpolitik, his colonial ambition,caused tensions with both Britain and France (Boer War, Morocco, etc). Naval expansion led tomore tensions with Britain, contributing to the signing of the Entente Cordiale. Wilhelm's failureto renew the Reinsurance Treaty led to the Franco-Russian Alliance which was later extended to the Triple Entente.In the shorter term, Germany's military strategy (Schlieffen Plan) was likely to lead to Britishinvolvement in any Franco-German conflict. Wilhelm's so called "blank cheque" also encouragedAustria to take a hard line with Serbia in the crisis of 1914.Candidates should also consider the role of Austria. Austrian ambitions in the Balkans had led totensions with Russia since the 1870s. The annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 increased tensions between Austria and Serbia and with Russia. The Austrian response to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, and the harshness of the ultimatum issued to Serbia, increased the likelihood of conflict in the Balkans and the bringing into play of the alliance systems.Answers may also want to consider the actions of the other powers, both in the longer term and as a response to the July Crisis, before reaching a judgment. However the policies of Germany should be the main focus.12. Assess the successes and failures of the Paris Peace Settlement at the end of the First World War.The key terms of the settlements (not just Versailles) should be well known. Credit accuratedetailed knowledge which supports analysis. However the focus should be on the successes andfailures in relation to the aims of the peacemakers and the achievements of the Settlement as awhole.Aims varied, but a broad aim was to stabilize Europe, to prevent the spread of Communism and to try to restore economic activity. More specific differences could include Clemenceau's aim toweaken and punish Germany, Lloyd George's aim to restore trade, etc and Wilson's aim to make a peace that was fair and lasting based on the Fourteen Points. In the Middle East the aims of Britain and France were somewhat different from the other peacemakers and could be criticized as being neo-colonial. Italy sought to gain territories (from the collapse of Austria-Hungary) as promised in the Treaty of London.Successes could include: Actually reaching terms relatively quickly (the Treaty of Versailles wassigned six months after the conference began. The other treaties (Saint Germain, Neuilly, Trianon and Sèvres) were all signed by 1920. The Treaties established a forum for the resolution of disputes (the League of Nations). The Treaties met the demands for national self determination of many groups (Poland, Czechoslovakia, etc). The left wing threat at the end of the war rapidly diminished as Europe stabilized.Failures: The...

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