the cause of the FirstWorld War, you can not “point a finger” at an individual country.
Myargument is that each European Country involved in the war was at fault. Icompletely agree with Sidney B. Fay in chapter II of An Age of Conflictabout each country being at fault. “. . .
a European War broke out. Why?Because in each country political and military leaders did certain thingswhich led to mobilization and declaration of war. . .
all European countries,in a greater or less degree, were responsible. ” (Fay 30/31). I think thatMichael Duffy, the author of The Causes of World War One says it best inhis article: “The events of July and early August 1914 are a classic caseof “one thing led to another” – otherwise known as the treaty alliancesystem. “(Duffy, http://www. firstworldwar. com/origins/causes.
htm). The easiest way to start this is to explain that Serbia sparked thewar. They assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the Archduke of Austria-Hungry. The next move was Austria’s. Austria and its ally Germany mobilized theirforces and declared war on Serbia and its allies, France and Russia. WhenBritain gained wind of Germany’s plans of crushing the French, they had nochoice but to back France and join the war.
Now I can go into the readingsin Chapter II about the origins of the First World War. The Origins of the First World War is the first argument in ChapterII. Fay opens his statement saying that none of the powers wanted the war,but they knew it was inevitable. Each allied country not including Austriaand Serbia, entered the war to defend their allies.
They where so quick tolive up to their word and keep a sense or pride, but didn’t think to reasonthings out with one another and try to come to a compromise. Fay dosesomething interesting next. In several paragraphs, he explains what eachcountries action was in entering the war. He starts off with Serbia:Serbia wanted one national Government. She waned to bring her peopletogether to have a sense of nationalism. She liberated those under Turkishrule and was going to liberate those under Hepsburg rule.
Serbia asked forRussian assistance and expected the only response to be a positive one. After the assassination, Mr. Pashtich (head of Serbian Government) did notbother to find the killer. He even assisted some of the people involved todisappear. Pashtich wanted to see what evidence Austria had against hiscountry. Eventually Austria gave Serbia an ultimatum.
Pashtich respondednegatively and knew what was to follow. He mobilized forces and repairedfor the worst. He engaged in war knowing Russia would help him out. Austria was more responsible for the war than any other country, butwas simply acting in self defense. She didn’t want to look like a cowardor as Serbian Propaganda called her “worm-eaten” by not issuing anultimatum.
She needed her people’s support, and in order for this sheneeded to crush Serbia. The Austrian minister of foreign affairs,Berchtold, framed the ultimatum issued to Serbia with expectations that itwould be reject. This rejection “gave Austria no choice” in declaring war. He knew by doing this he would be dragging Europe into a massive war. Germany did not want a European war. She made genuine efforts toovert one.
She was a victim of her alliance to Austria. Since Austria’sother allies (Italy and Rumania) were unreliable, Germany had no otherchoice in the matter. Germany feared accusations of being an instigator ofwar. She knew that by entering the war, she would pull Britain into it. The reasoning behind this was due to Germany’s geographic position. Theywere between France and Russia.
As an active participant in the war,Germany would first crush France and turn around and get Russia. Britainwould have to enter the war because they backed France. Germany alsodragged Belgium into the war because they had to march through Belgium inorder to get to France. Russia was basically supporting Serbia and her every move. Russia wasweak from the Bosnian Crisis and Balkin War. She was also exhausted fromthe Russo-Japanese War.
The fact that France and Britain were both alliesgave Russia the confidence it needed to peruse a European war. France is less clear than the other Great Powers because she did notmake a full publication of her documents. M. Poincare made an elaborateand skilful plea in his memoirs saying “La France innocent” but he is notconvincing.
He visited Russia and assured the Tsars that France wouldsupport Russia as an ally in preventing Austria in humiliating and crushingSerbia. Poincare convinced Russia to take strong military action. He knewthis would cause Germany to enter the war and fulfill his intentions ofstopping Germany from hurting his country. Sir Edward Grey of Britain, made many proposals to preserve peace,but these ideas were shot down do to Germany’s attitude toward war.
Greycould have possibly prevented a European war by warning Germany thatBritain would side with Russia ant France and this would have intimidatedGermany and made them back down. This would keep the war between Serbiaand Austria if war were to even break out at all. The next argument is titled War’s Origins and these are Views fromMarxist/Leninist of the Soviet Union. The views expressed in this sectionput the blame on Russia.
It says the working class revolution crushedcapitalism and formed “advanced capitalism”. This made two social classes,the lower working class, and the rich upper-class. What happened was thatmillionaires created monopolies by buying out all of the capital in Russia. This created an unfair capitalist system and affected the equilibrium ofthe world. The reason why Russia is blamed in this section is becausetheir revolution is feared by other Great Powers such at Britain and theU. S.
These powers fear that their working classes will revolt as well. Inorder to keep things safe and sound these Great Powers create propagandaagainst Russia and use military force to bring them down. German’s Aims in the First World War by Fritz Fischer is about howGermany is at fault for the war. Fischer said that Germany was rapidlyindustrializing and growing in power. “Germany’s claim to world power wasbased on her consciousness of being a young growing and rising nation.
“(Fischer 40). Germany knew they were becoming a superpower and wanted toexpand its growing nation. Germany also wanted to expand so they couldacquire raw materials cheaply and easily. Germany claims that the war wasforced on them and that they are not responsible, however the realresponsibility does lie in Germany. The last argument is titled Domestic Causes of the 1st World War byArno J. Mayer.
Mayer explains that diplomatic historians find that thereare two sets of underlying and persistent causes of the Great War. Thefirst being dysfunction internally, and the other being mistakes andmiscalculations in foreign affairs. Other contributors to war are AllianceSystems, Propaganda, Arms Races, and the fact that many leading officershave personal motives and agendas that they carried out. Many of thesepeople did not concern themselves with the benefit of their country. Instead they did what favored their own political beliefs.
Many countries wanted war to take attention away from internaltension. War was a good way to create a sense of nationalism. Usuallyhigh tension inside a country lead to worse problems outside the country. An example would be revolutions cause by labor unrest.
This would causeother countries with similar labor problems to revolt as well. “To a inconsiderable degree, then, throughout Europe the risinginternational tensions, were accompanied by rising internal tensions – bymounting social, political, and economic struggles that radicalized theextremes, eroded the center, and inclined the governments to pushpreparedness and diplomatic obduracy as part of their efforts to maintaina precarious domestic status quo. ” In other words the problems in Europewere matched by the domestic problems each country had. The people of thecountries were torn between two extremes and the only way to keep controland order inside a country was war outside the country. I think that each author makes a valid point as to why the FirstWorld War Occurred. The argument that Fay and Mayer state are the two thatsupport my idea that each European country involved is responsible.
Eventhough the Marxist-Leninist view solely blamed Russia and Fischer solelyblamed Germany, each one argued good points that can contribute to the ideathat not one country is responsible. In conclusion I have proven that you can not “point a finger” at anyone country for starting WWI. Many countries contributed to it. I think amain cause of the war is the idea of allied nations. There were defiantlycontributing facture such as power struggle, internal deputes, and fear orone another.
This is just a short list of problems.