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The Outbreak Of World War One And Germany

1682 words - 7 pages

The Outbreak Of World War One and Germany

August 4th 1914 marks the date on which Europe fell into what has
become known as "the Great War". What started as a minor squabble
between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, in the space of six weeks,
escalated into total war between Europe's biggest powers. Almost one
hundred years later we are no closer to answering the question of who
or what was to blame for it's outbreak. It is easy to assume that
Germany were solely to blame, however this assumption would be
incorrect. Germany did, at times have an overbearing influence, and
with many factors, the underlying fault lies with Germany. However,
influence of other nations, states and individuals were also
significant in pulling Europe into World War One.

In 1871, following a series of Prussian wars, a new nation of Germany
was created which significantly altered the politics of Europe. The
new Kaiser, Wilhelm II, determined the direction that this nation
took, and it was his attitude that created so much fear of the new
state. At times, understandably, they felt threatened and vulnerable.
Already, she had found enemies in neighbours France after their
crushing defeat of them in 1870, and this was to prove crucial in the
next few years. On other fronts, Germany had large powers Russia and
Austria-Hungary as neighbours. It is understandable, therefore, that
Germany would want to secure their position. They did this hastily,
comprehensively and most importantly, aggressively.

The "Weltpolotik" of Germany meant consolidation and increase of
power. They wanted an empire, and to achieve this they needed economic
stability and subsequently military significance. German economics
boomed in the early 1900's. Germany produced more pig iron (14793000
metric tonnes) and steel (13698000 metric tonnes) in 1910 than any
other European state. This economic stability allowed the military to
grow and colonise. Germany looked for colonies in Africa, which
antagonised the French and the British who had had colonies there for
years. Their relatively unsuccessful search led to concentration on
Europe.

Chancellor Bulow said "without a strong army and navy, there can be no
welfare for us". Bismarck provided Germany with a strong position in
Europe by allying with Austria-Hungary in 1879, which encouraged
military expansion. In the early 1900's, Germany's military expanded
to greatly and demonstrates their aggressive nature. The German army
and navy could be seen as a means of defence, but whatever the
function of the system, it was intimidating to say the least. The
subsequent arms race was as a direct result of German expansion and
created European tension. Their army increased to be just 100,000 less
than that of the Russian army, and their navy expanded ten-fold, which
in turn made the British navy...

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