Did Germany Cause The World War I

Last Updated: 20 Mar 2021
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When Wilhelm II became a Kaiser, paths for ever-growing German industry were already set and Germany was becoming a world’s super power. New Kaiser, who according to many historians was disturbed mentally, wanted for Germany to become greatest of all countries in Europe through growing military power (potentially war) and through obtaining overseas colonies, what will later on bring Germany in conflicts with other European major countries. Kaiser’s offensive foreign policy and Schliffen Plan are the facts which eliminate every suspicion about Germany being innocent in question of who caused the World War I.

German foreign policy dramatically changed when Kaiser Wilhelm II forced Bismarck to resign in 1890. After Bismarck’s resignation, Kaiser set a new course for Germany. Wilhelm II made an emphasis on militaristic and expansionist policy while he tried to “defend” Germany’s “place in the sun”. This new offensive, provocative and irrational foreign political path ruined Germany’s relations with major European countries. German militarism, which is the crime of the last fifty years, had been working for this for twenty-five years. First proof of Kaiser’s bad methodology came in 1893 when he failed to renew alliance with Russia. Now, the doors for Franco-Russian alliance were opened and the Bismarck’s worst fear about encirclement of Germany in case of war, was becoming a reality. In 1894, Franco-Russian alliance was ratified. In order to prevent fighting on two fronts, German Army Chief of Staff – Alfred von Schlieffen came up with a plan. This plan was worked out in the 1890’s and completed and changed a little bit by Von Molkte in 1906.

The fact that Germany worked out the plan of attack and all the other countries had just plans how to defend themselves, is the reason why Germany was sole accused for causing the war. Schlieffen planned the attack and win over France to be faster than Russian mobilization. So, Germany would attack France through Belgium with 90% of its military forces and 10% would just stay on eastern border to defend Germany against eventual Russian attack. Schlieffen underestimated French forces and that is why Germany in the end faced war on two fronts. The Schlieffen Plan must rank as one of the supreme idiocies of modern times… It estricted the actions of the German government disastrously. In July 1914 they had just two choices; either to abandon the only plan they had to win the next war, or to go to war immediately. Except this expansion in Europe, Kaiser desired to gain overseas colonies. To conquer countries on other continents and to later protect them, Germany needed powerful fleet. By this policy, which Bismarck avoided during his period as a chancellor, Great Britain felt offended because its navy status as the most powerful one was at stake and overseas colonies could be threatened.

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To justify his decisions, Kaiser said that they needed bigger and more powerful fleet to protect their growing trade. With accusations from one and bad defending arguments from another side, naval rivalry began and both countries spent millions on building their new ships. Kaiser Wilhelm II did not think about efficiency of his foreign policy; he just cared about arms build-up and improvement in navy. With this act, he insulted Great Britain and eliminated every chance for friendly relations. There is no comparison between the importance of the German navy to Germany, and the importance of our navy to us.

Our navy is to us what their army is to them. To have a strong navy would increase Germany’s prestige and influence, but it is not a matter of life and death to them as it to us.  All these irrational moves made by Germany and Kaiser, led to making of a new alliance system Entente Cordiale ( friendly ‘getting together’ ) in 1904 between Great Britain and France. Russia joined this alliance in 1907. Not even this did make Germany to change its foreign policy. In stead of getting rational, Germany kept provoking other European powers by interfering in their or theirs colonial governments and intern issues.

There was possibility of French to takeover Morocco. Germany said that they will pledge they allegiance and support Moroccan fight for independence. This conflict was solved on the conference at Algeciras in Spain where Germany sustained grave diplomatic defeat. Russia, Britain, Spain and even Italy supported the French demand to control Moroccan bank and police. In 1908, Austria-Hungary formally annexed (took over) Bosnia. When Russia protested against this decision - because they supported Serbia in ‘fight’ for Bosnia-, Germany supported Austria-Hungary.

Since France did not want to get involved in the Balkans conflicts, they simply drew back. Britain just protested to Austria-Hungary. So, as Russia was alone with out any allies in this “battle” and did not want to engage another war after losing to a Japan – they recognized the annexation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary. This was great win for the Austro-German alliance. In the Bosnia crisis, Germany showed for the second time that they were ready to start the war. They proved it once more, in the Agadir crisis where they needed just a little spark.

When French troops occupied the capital city of Morocco in order to put down rebellion against the Sultan, it looked like the France was ready to annex Morocco. To avert this to happen, Germans sent the warship called the Panther in port of Agadir. British Prime Minister Lloyd George said that Britain is not going to just stand by and he gave warning against further German expansion. After these warnings, Panther was ‘removed’ from port of Agadir and Germany recognized French protectorate of Morocco in return for two strips of territory in French Congo.

In these crises, Germans showed how prepared they were and how hard they wanted something to happen just to start the war. Germany played a more active role in the outbreak of war in that the Sarajevo assassinations served only as an excuse to re-ignite the militaristic Prussian tradition that looked towards war as a method of solving any problems, domestic or international. The greatest war of modern times, and perhaps in the whole history of the human race, was begun by Germany using the crime of a schoolboy as an excuse.

The important political role Kaiser Wilhelm II played was crucial to the outbreak of war in 1914. Through a nationalistic, militaristic and expansionistic foreign policy, Germany did everything to make a mess in a diplomatic world. Germany actually created situation in which the slightest spark would explode in Europe-wide conflict. In the bottom line, Germany first invaded Belgium to get to the France in order to complete Schlieffen plan. They were rightly accused for causing all the damage and the loss to which other European countries and their people have been subjected.

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Did Germany Cause The World War I. (2017, Mar 19). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/did-germany-cause-the-world-war-i/

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