Arguments for the causes of the First World War

For the unit 3 controversy; how far was Germany responsible for the first world war?

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Controversy Arguments
Argument Explanation & Evidence Counterarguments
1.The war was Germany deliberately forced a war for her own The war council
caused by German gains; she wanted to become the dominant power amounted to `pretty
desire for European in Europe. much nil' according to
Hegemony War Council 1912. Deliberately planning Muller
for a war in 18 months' time, a war Bethmann-Hollweg was
occurred 18 months later not present at the war
September programme 1914. Germany had council
clear war aims, that were aggressive The September
Schlieffen plan. The German mobilisation programme was devised
plan was more aggressive than defensive after the war had begun
The issuing of the blank cheque was a The Schlieffen plan was
calculated move to encourage Austrian a result of German fear
aggression and force a war, no matter the of encirclement, she was
cost acting defensively
2.Germany pursued Germany planned for an aggressive war, but to It is clear there were
a war to help resolve internal tensions, not because she wanted many domestic
distract from European hegemony. problems in Germany in
domestic difficulties There were huge internal tensions in 1914, but there is pretty
Germany, particularly on the political much no evidence to say
scene, with political parties and pressure that this was the actual
groups motivation for war
There was a huge budget deficit A nice theory, but there
The Zabern affair was turning the public is no evidence for it
against the government; the Kaiser
supported the affair
Germany promoted the war as a defensive
one, to help encourage national unity
3.Germany was The German fear of encirclement caused a war in The triple entente was
acting defensively 1914, she felt she was acting defensively. clearly not being
Although the Schlieffen plan was an aggressive, their opting
aggressive plan, the Germans saw this as for a conference at the
the only possible way to win a war against treaty of London 1913,
Russia and France proves this
The triple entente geographically encircled Britain offered an
Germany alliance with Germany
It was Russia that mobilised first, not Russian mobilisation
Germany, so how can Germany be only meant getting their
responsible? troops to the boarder;
The various arms races in Europe at the war could still have been
time (naval arms race with Britain, Russian prevented at this point
rearmament programme) gave Germany a
genuine cause for concern

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Germany felt a Germany felt a war was inevitable and therefore There is little actual
war was inevitable wanted to fight it on her terms, to give herself the evidence to suggest that
best chance of victory.…read more

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