What Caused World War 1 Essay

What Caused World War 1 Essay-85
Populations would only rally and make sacrifices willingly if the cause was just – and that meant fighting a defensive war.The French and Belgians, Russians, Serbs and British were convinced they were indeed involved in a defensive struggle for just aims.

Populations would only rally and make sacrifices willingly if the cause was just – and that meant fighting a defensive war.The French and Belgians, Russians, Serbs and British were convinced they were indeed involved in a defensive struggle for just aims.

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How did Europe get from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife to the situation at the beginning of August when Germany and Austria-Hungary were at war with Serbia, Russia, France, Belgium, and Britain?

Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years, and arriving at a convincing consensus has proved impossible.

The war had not been deliberately unleashed, but Europe had somehow ‘slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war’, as David Lloyd George famously put it.

With such a conciliatory accident theory, Germany was off the hook, and instead of remaining a former troublesome enemy could become a potential future ally against the increasingly threatening-looking Soviet Union.

Many did concede, however, that Germany seemed to have made use of the July Crisis to unleash a war. In the wake of the Fischer controversy, historians also focused more closely on the role of Austria-Hungary in the events that led to war, and concluded that in Vienna, at least as much as in Berlin, the crisis precipitated by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was seen as a golden opportunity to try and defeat a ring of enemies that seemed to threaten the Central Powers.

In recent years this post-Fischer consensus has in turn been revised.

The German establishment, which included leading historians and politicians, reacted with outrage to Fischer’s claims. The so-called Fischer school was accused of ‘soiling its own nest’, and in the context of the Cold War of the early 1960s, it is not difficult to see that the question of the origins of the First World War was of serious contemporary political significance.

Those willing to question Germany’s recent past and those wanting to hide any potential wrong-doings by Germany’s former leaders clashed in a public dispute of unprecedented ferocity.

Austrians and Hungarians were fighting to revenge the death of Franz Ferdinand.

Germans were assured by their Kaiser, Wilhelm II, and their Chancellor, Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg, that Germany’s neighbours had ‘forced the sword’ into its hands.

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