Germany And Taking Responsibility For World War I

2271 words - 9 pages

Germany and Taking Responsibility for World War I

The outbreak of World War One in August 1914 caught European
politicians by surprise: the German attack on Belgium, as a prelude to
their attack on France, was almost the last in a series of events that
dragged the world into war. Thus the attack on Belgium was exactly
the reason the English needed to enter the war. But the question
remains as to whether Germany should be held accountable for this
war. Unfortunately during June, August 1914 the peace was balancing
itself on a pinhead. All that was needed was one unfortunate event to
knock the peace out of balance. Unfortunately the July crisis was all
that was required for the world to degenerate into war. I believe
that Germany played a key role in escalating the situation.

In order to understand the complex causes of World War One, we will
have to examine both long and short-term causes over the long term
growing imperialism and nationalism threatened to upset the balance of
power in Europe, a balance maintained by secret and uncertain
alliances. The Kaisers “Weltpolitik” represented the main challenge
to the status quo. In the short term July crisis, triggered by the
assassination of Franz Ferdinand on 28th June 1914, provided the
spark, which initiated the war.

Here are the sequences of events: the Austro Hungarian heir is
assassinated by Gavrillo Princip, a Serb nationalist, on the 28th of
June. After the assassination the Austro Hungarian leaders were
contemplating a full scale retaliatory attack, however one leader,
count Tsiza, sent a written protest to Franz Joseph, and warned that
an attack on Serbia “…would in human possibility, provoke a world
war…” how right he was. However the German leaders didn’t care about
what the Austro Hungarians thought, they paid no heed to Count Tsiza’s
warning and pressed the Austro Hungarian to attack; they gave Austria
Hungary the infamous ‘Blank Cheque’, basically a pledge of complete
support if the Austro Hungarians commenced with and attack on Serbia
as the aftermath for the assassination of their heir to the throne,
Franz Ferdinand.

All these facts show that Germany had a major, but not exclusive, role
in the outbreak of the war. As the historian GP Gooch stated “The
Belief that any nation as statesmen was the arch criminal in 1914 is
no longer held by serious students of History”.

In Europe all the politicians, bureaucrats and others were busy with
their traditional summer holiday, when the July Crisis occurred. Even
though the Austrian heir to the throne had been assassinated, many
thought there would not be much of an aftermath. This was the
attitude mainly because assassinations like this were extremely common
during those times. Many people expected, if anything, a short local
war to be waged between the...

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