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The Actions Of Germany Before World War I

972 words - 4 pages

During the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, the Entente diplomats from Great Britain, France, United States, and Italy created a document which would seal their future for the upcoming years. The reason why the treaty would become infamous resulted from one article, article 231. This simple article in one phrase summed up the entire philosophy and rationale of the end of the war, according to the Entente leaders, “The Allied and Associated Governments affirm and Germany accepts the responsibility of Germany and her allies for causing all the loss and damage to which the Allied and Associated Governments and their nationals have been subjected as a consequence of the war imposed upon them by the aggression of Germany and her allies.”In terms of the logic behind the onset of World War I the Allies statements remain valid due in part for two reasons. The two reasons are two separate but linked events that in my opinion justify the reason for the war guilt clause. The first event would be in the days leading up to the first German soldier to cross into neutral Belgium when Kaiser Wilhelm called for a complete reversal of troop movement to the east, only to have it denied. The other would be in the case of H.M.S. Goeben’s forceful entry into Constantinople.
In any circumstance, whether it is the dilemma faced by German, British, or French military leaders, Belgium and her neutrality would be the crux of any future war. Before Germany set about invading Belgium, French military leaders were keenly aware of the tactical benefit Belgium played. The reason for this was due in part by the row of fortresses the French had erected after the Franco-Prussian war along the French-German frontier. An added geographical problem lay just south of the fortresses in the mountain range of the Alps. Since the Germans, like the French, understood the tactical dilemmas, Belgium became the most feasible means of invading France.
In the days leading up to the inevitable German invasion, French leaders were exhibiting caution as the crisis loomed. On August 1, 1914, once German mobilization was in full swing but before Belgium’s neutrality was broken, the French generals called for a mass retreat away from the border. The order to withdraw French troops was instituted because of reports coming in where enemy scouts were coming into close contact. Therefore to lessen the chances of staring a war by accident, General Joffre ordered a retreat so as not to heighten hostilities. As well as the general retreat, General Joffre added to the present order a warning for any French troops, “By order of the President of the Republic, no unit of the army, no patrol, no reconnaissance, no scout, no detail of any kind, shall go east of the line laid down” (Tuchmann,110). The importance of the order was to guarantee that no French soldier was to break Belgium’s...

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