'Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War One'. How far do you agree? World War one has become to be known as "The Great War." It was known as "The War to end all Wars." Many people believe Germany was responsible for the outbreak of war in 1914. To solely blame one country or one single act for the cause of World War One is wrong as there are more than one country involved and more than one event that caused World War One. Even if Germany was responsible for the war the other major powers should take some blame, as they did nothing to prevent the war but fuel it. The origins of World War One go back to 1870 when France went to war with Prussia. Prussia was the states of Germany.
After the war in 1871 Prussia had taken the France's provinces of Alsace and Lorraine and this victory for Prussia led to the German states being united as one whole Germany. The new united Germany leader Bismarck set out to create alliances to make Germany more powerful and in 1879 they made the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, then in 1882 it became the Triple Alliance when Italy joined. 12 years later France approached Russia they agreed terms and the Alliance became known as the Franco-Russian Alliance, this alliance became the Triple Entente in 1907 when Britain turned to France to create an alliance. The European powers had now created a chain reaction ready to be set off. "If France is attacked by Germany, or by Italy supported by Germany, Russia shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany. If Russia is attacked by Germany, or by Austria supported by Germany, France shall employ all her available forces to fight Germany" said by the leaders of France at the Franco-Russian Convention.
The major powers of Europe were now divided into two powerful groups. Like Alex Woolf said in his book the Assassination in Sarajevo "This Alliance system meant if there were a local war between two powers, this would set of a chain reaction leading to war involving all of Europe." The most likely point for a conflict would be in the Balkans which both Austria-Hungary wanted control off. Then on June 28 th 1914 the Archduke of Franz Ferdinand was assassinated on an official visit to Sarajevo. This assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the perfect thing to set off the chain reaction that lead to the war in 1914.
After the assassination Austria-Hungary sent Serbia an ultimatum. Serbia sent Austria-Hungary a response, which Austria-Hungary was not happy with so on 28 th of July 1914 Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Russia, bound by treaty to Serbia, announced mobilisation army in Serbia's defence. Germany allied to Austria-Hungary, viewed the Russian mobilisation as an act of war against Austria-Hungary and declared war on Russia on 1 August. France bound by an alliance to Russia responded by declaring war against Germany and Austria-Hungary on 3 August. Germany promptly responded by invading neutral Belgium so as to reach Paris by the shortest possible route.
Britain who was allied to France placed by moral obligation to defend France, declared war against Germany on 4 August. Britains reason for entering conflict obligated to defend neutral Belgium by the terms of a 75-year old treaty. With Germany's invasion of Belgium on 4 August, and the Belgian King's appeal to Britain for assistance, Britain committed to Belgium's defence later that day. With Britain's entry into the war, Britains colonies abroad variously offered military and financial assistance; these colonies included Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand and the Union of South Africa.
Japan, honouring a military agreement with Britain, declared war on Germany on 23 August 1914. Two days later Austria-Hungary responded by declaring war on Japan. It was the Alliance system that lead to war in 1914. After Austria-Hungary had declared war on Serbia this set off the chain reaction. The alliance system was like a gun waiting to fired and all it needed was someone to pull the trigger and the assassination was perfect thing for the Europeans who wanted to go to war, as the assassination pulled the trigger and sent the world in flames. Though Germany turned out to be the Central Power most involved in the war, there is little or no evidence that the Germans had planned for war.
World War 1 was a result of aggression and tension in Europe; all of Europe played a part in the outbreak of war not just Germany. World War 1 had many complex causes rather than one main one. Bibliography SS web Assassination In Sarajevo Written by Alex Woolf, 2004, Published by Hodder Wayland. SS The First World War 1914-1918 Written by Vyvyen Brendon, 2000, Published by Hodder & Stoughton.
SS Handouts given in Class.