September 5, 2011 Origins of World War 1: Compare and Contrast During the twentieth century Europe seemed to enjoy a period of peace and progress. But below the surface several forces were at the work and would lead Europe into the Great War. World War 1 was the mayor conflict that made its appearance in the beginning of the twentieth century. As we read in “The origins of the first World War” by Ruth Heing and in “The Iron Dice: World War 1” by John G. Stoessinger, World War 1 began in 1914 it had many countries involved but not all of them entered at the same time.
At the beginning of this war there were two sides to choose from. The triple entente that was unified by Great Britain, France and Russia; Later called the Allied Powers and also they included Italy. The other Alliance was the Triple Alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungry, and Italy; later on called the Central Powers whom instead of Italy who had join the Allied Powers, Turkey join this alliance. Although both chapters attempt to explain the origins of World War 1 they differ in various aspects. In the Reading “The origins of the first World War” by Ruth Henig, it is stated that cause of the war was the system.
The system that was managed before the war was conformed by MAIN; which stands for, Militarism: Every country in Europe except for Great Britain had conscription, which means that every men over 18 years old should register for the army; The conscription plan resulted because as the time was going by all of the countries in Europe had a great growth in their military power; Also they were working on arms race, which means that they were developing new arms, the country that was the most benefit was Germany.
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MAIN also stands for Alliances: Alliances were a key concept because the alliances began the conflict in Sarajevo, if it weren’t because they had a close relationship with Germany this conflict would have been local, therefore Russia and Germany and later on France and Great Britain would had not participate. There would not have been a world war. The third letter in MAIN stands for Imperialism early twentieth century saw a great deal of colonization of Asia and Africa by European powers, each trying to colonize this lands.
These colonies funded a great part of the ruling countries’ economies and expansion became necessary and desirable to advance the glory and the wealth of each European power. The last concept N stands for Nationalism, which means the identity that the government or the rulers created towards their population so they were proud of their country and wanted to fight for them. Through out the reading of “The Iron Dice: World War 1” by John G. Stoessinger, we are able to appreciate that it perfectly explains that the causes of world war 1 were attributed to the people in control.
It perfectly examples that the lack of self-confidence in the leaders, the wrong perception on their adversary and specially the lack of empathy that was based on personal decisions, not based on facts but fears were the causes of the war. The reading is perfectly stating it in the following quote: “The Kaiser was indeed to blame. His flaw was both moral and political, for his form of loyalty demanded sacrifice beyond himself. It offered up the German nation, and it emboldened the senile monarchy of Austria-Hungary o take a desperate gamble….
What is closer to the truth is that he permitted other to rattle and ultimately use the saber for him”(p. 4-5). The lack of self-confidence is stated in the last sentence, he preferred that other people made decisions; it also states that he offered up the German nation because Archduke Franz-Ferdinand was a close friend. Between these two chapters we can distinguish that both chapters state that the fault of the origins of war was of Germany.
In the second reading we can see this in the following quote: “succumbed to a power he had not reckoned with: the power of Fate; had not been for that, the war would never have started” (p. 4); and it is also clearly shown on the first reading when it is stated that if it weren’t for Germany who intervene in the conflict of Sarajevo, therefore there wouldn’t exist a war. There are not many similarities between these two texts, but different perspectives of presenting the information.
In these two chapters it is clearly marked that the contrast between each other relies on the justification they give to the origins of war; the points of view stated in each chapter are related to different points of view. In the first reading “The origins of the first World War” by Ruth Henig it is clearly marked that the problem was the system failure. And as it is stated in the second reading “The Iron Dice: World War 1” by John G. Stoessinger, “Mortals made these decisions. They made them in fear and in trembling, but they made them nonetheless. We can infer that in this reading the ones to blame are the ones that were in control of the country: the leaders. Another difference between these two chapters is how the information is managed in the first reading the type of writing is strictly informative and in the second lecture it is more like a critique as we can see in the quotes that are stated in paragraphs before. In the second reading it is shown the relationship between leaders in a level where they interacted and send telegrams to each other; which it is not shown in the first reading.
In conclusion I find more interesting the contrast between these two readings because that is the whole point of history; Specially in the causes (origins) of war can and must be shown from different perspectives. The reading I found more accurate through the reading is “The Iron Dice: World War 1” by John G. Stoessinger, because in my opinion the ones who have control of the system are the “mortals”, therefore they had in their hands the power to debilitate the system and stop the war from happening. Even if the system (MAIN) went out of control the ones how had the decisions to stop it in there hands where the leaders.
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