Did Germany plan for war pre-1914?

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Did Germany plan for war pre-1914?
Yes- Fischer: `a planned and executed war No
of aggression'
Weltpolitik: Active German expansion of `Slide into war' thesis (e.g. Lloyd George):
empire, bid for world power. Would bring Other major powers also involved in pre-1914
Germany into direct conflict with Britain. E.g. tensions over empire, militarism, and alliances.
Arms Race, Naval Laws. Quite aggressive E.g. Britain also involved in the arms races,
actions by Germany e.g. Moroccan Crisis France extended military conscription from 2 to
3 years in August 1913, Russia added 500,000
men to its forces in December 1913. Germany
was not more responsible than any other major
Schlieffen Plan (1905): Plans for war suggesting Schlieffen Plan (1905): Wasn't an aggressive
Germany were planning for war. Plan also plan, it was defensive in the case of a
involved violating neutrality of Belgium which is two-pronged attack by France and Russia,
an aggressive move, which also would have therefore Germany prepared for war however
antagonized Britain wasn't planning for war. `Fear of encirclement
thesis' (e.g. Sturmer)
War Council Meeting (1912): Kaiser War Council Meeting (1912): Was no
summoned meeting of army and navy chiefs, significant, just a response to the Kaiser's
provides support for Fischer's argument shows outburst. Bethmann didn't even attend the
German intentions to fight a war at a time meeting further suggesting how it was just
more suitable for Germany. Wilhelm called for responding to Kaiser's outburst ­ Rohl: `a
increased armaments to confront `racial hastily convened `war council'.
struggle' with Russia Muller argued `the result amounted to
nothing', decisions in the meeting didn't lead
to war
`Blank Cheque' (1914): Germany gave `Blank Cheque' (1914): Could be argued as
unconditional support to Austria if they ever more of a defensive action rather than
came into armed conflict with Serbia or Russia aggressive. Also Germany had given military
knowing that the Austrian ultimatum was harsh assurance to Austria-Hungary before and this
and that Serbia was likely to accept it, suggests didn't result in a war e.g. Bosnian Crisis, Balkan
Germany willing to risk war now as they Wars
believed they could win the war now than in a
few years.
Bethmann: ` if war must break out, better now
than in one or two years'
September Programme : An attempt to make September Programme : Ferguson ­ `it is the
peace with France, but in an aggressive way assumption that Germany's war aims as stated
e.g. France needed to be weakened so that she after the war had started were the same as
was never a world power, Russia must be German aims beforehand '
pushed back from Germany's eastern frontiers Also no evidence that the September
and her dominance broken too. Bethmann: Programme existed before the war, suggesting
general aim of the war = `security for the that Germany wasn't planning for war
German Reich in west and east for all
imaginable time ' Statement of war aims and
plans of annexation of France written in
September therefore must have already been
considered in July or earlier so Germany were
planning for war

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Structuralist historians (Wehler), `escape Questions about whether the chaotic nature of
forwards' : suggests that Germany actively Wilhelm's government was actually capable of
looked for war as a diversion from internal clear-sighted long term planning. For example,
tensions, so Germany was planning for war to after Serbian reply to the Austrian ultimatum,
use it to solve internal conflicts e.g.…read more


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