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This Is An Essay About Germany In Wwi.

1419 words - 6 pages

GermanyWhen asked to discuss the origins of the first world war, there is generally little debate. Most would site the growth of Germany as an economic, military and naval power, and the rise in nationalism and an arms race throughout Europe. All of which was characterized by the growing occurrence of political disruptions, culminated by the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand in Serbia. This is, of course true, but many historians tend to neglect the effect of demographic change on a society. During the late 1800's and up to 1914, most European nations were undergoing fundamental changes in the makeup of their societies. Some countries experienced dramatic rises in population, while others were stagnating or even in decline. The changes in population in Europe greatly affected the balance of power. This had effects on nationalism, militarism and influenced the popular attitudes toward war across Europe. Demographic changes in Europe made "The Great War" inevitable.Europe has always been politically turbulent. Conquerors and revolutionaries have traded power with rulers and dictators, back and forth, for centuries. Prior to the nineteenth century, Great Britain and France were the two major players. With the conquest of Napoleon, the First and later the Third, it seemed the rivalry was over in Europe. (Taylor, 65) In the late nineteenth century, Europe had a relatively stable, but unsteady, balance of power. The empires could focus their attention toward colonies and trade. This peace lasted until the turn of the century when a new threat to the status-quo arose. This threat to the balance of power was the growth of Germany. In 1850 France's population was almost 36 million, the largest in Europe, with the exception of Russia who had 57 million. France was therefore the central power in Europe. Though Great Britain only had 27.6 million, it remained powerful due to its navy and colonies.(Taylor, 42) In 1850, there was no Germany, only a group of individual states, the largest and most powerful being Prussia. Prussia's population at the time was only 16 million, hardly a threat. Even if you combine the Germanic States, the total population is only 35.9 million.(Taylor, 43) If we skip ahead to1880 though, it is possible to see some trends starting to take shape in Europe. The contrast between the populations of Germany and France is amazing. We see that France's population had only grown to 37 million, while a united Germany's population had grown to 45 million. Great Britain lay somewhere between the two with an increase of just over seven million people to a moderate 35 million people. In 1910 Germany's population had almost doubled its population of sixty years prior. With a population 65 million , Germany was a great force to be reckoned with in Europe. France, on the other hand, had hardly grown at all. Its population was only 39 million, the smallest in Europe next to Italy who was not far behind. Great Britain continued to grow steadily and...

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