Germany's Responsibility in WW1

Unit 3 D1, Controversy 1 - Key points, no evaluation or linked points

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  • Germanys responsibility for WW1
    • Planned war of agression
      • Maintained the policy of Weltpolitik, which was an agressive expansionist policy
      • War Council meeting 1n 1912 decided that war would be ideal sooner rather than later (was a highly informal meeting)
      • Was antagonistic, attempted to push Europe into a general war, Kruger Telegram, Moroccan Crisis, and the Blank Cheque
    • calculated risks
      • Had a consistent expansionist policy which was prepared to go to war to further their foreign policy the Leaders regarded war as a viable option as they could win
      • foreign policy was based on calculations - free hand policy (moroccan crisis), defeat of france in 6 weeks, 6 weeks mobilisation of Russia, Britain would not uphold the Treaty of London...
      • Bethmann failed to constructively mediate the situation in 1914 in hopes that a European crisis would weaken the Entent.
    • Offensively constructed defensive war - Geostratagy
      • Danger of Russia - Growing military power, military spending on the triple entent was greater than triple alliance - Russia also agressive
      • Encirclement - polarised europe between the tripple entent and triple alliance, Germany forced to support its only reliable ally what ever the cost
      • Sooner rather than later - by 1917 Germany would not be in a position to fight due to Russia's rearmament and Frances military expansion set to take place in 1916
    • Escape Forwards
      • The budget Deficit, growing political power of the SPD and Zabern Affair  generated a domestic crisis that threatened the traditional elites
      • War could be used to deflect internal social and political tensions, thereby preserving the traditional elites ('escape forwards' theory)
    • Shared Guilt
      • Marxist - conflict the result of the imperial nature of Europe - however this view is slef-serving
      • RealPolitik - European powers only aim to further their own position, led to alliances, arms races, creating tension between all powers
      • War by Timetable - great powers were boxed in by war plans. Germany had to defeat france then russia (Schlieffen Plan), Russia took 6 weeks to mobiles - countries could not wait even if war had not begun


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