Was Germany responsible for the Outbreak of WW1?
There is much evidence to suggest that German Aggression was responsible for the outbreak of a general European war in August 1914.Both Sources 1 and 2 play on the idea that both the Kaiser and Bethmann Hollweg used its foreign policies to create tension within Europe which consequently led to a European war.Source 1 argues ‘Germany’s foreign policy aims were focused on annexation, and that she went to was to achieve these aims’ highlighting the forceful nature which Germany could have possessed in this era.
However, Source 3 argues that infact the growing tension in Europe arguably led Germany to fight a defensive war and that it was infact Britain, Russia and France through Germany’s fear of invasion who stimulated the war; ‘The British were determined to maintain their naval superiority, whatever the financial and political cost’.
This leads to the judgement that although there is some evidence to suggest that Germany did fight a defensive war to some extent, overall German aggression did lead to the outbreak of a general European war.
Firstly, the idea that Germany did fight an aggressive war can be seen through Germany’s increasing desire for European Hegemony. The fact that Germany was slowly but surly disabling European peace in its quest for Weltpolitik shows how Germany were looking for confrontation. The Moroccan Crisis’ of 1905-11 highlights the Kaiser’s desire to expand the German empire into other continents as well as just Europe. The consequences of this crisis furthermore increased the bitterness between the Germans and the French; showing how the idea of Weltpolitik played a large part in the why Germany had an aggressive attitude to war.
Both Source 1 and 2 follow the line of argument that the aggression had led to war, and that ‘Germanys foreign policy aims were focused on annexation, and that she went to war to achieve these aims’ shows that Germany had had every intention to go to war. That, in conclusion with the latter emergence of the Schlieffen plan suggests how Germany were prepared to go to war highlighting that the idea they were fighting an defensive war could be hard to believe. Source 2 furthermore states that