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2.1: The historical debate
The Fischer Thesis
1. Fritz Fischer's 1961 `Germany's Aims in the First World War', 1969 `War of Illusions'
2. Germany had a plan for European domination prior to the war
3. They had an aggressive foreign policy and pursuit for war

Arguments Germany was responsible
1.…

Page 2

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2.2: Did German have a long-term plan for European hegemony?
Weltpolitik
1. 1890s+ Germany sought colonial expansion and dominance in Europe, and sometimes
Eastern Europe
2. Naval expansion and imperial possessions of Africa
3. 1896+ Kaiser built government on ministers who would advocate Weltpolitik (von Bulow)
4. Can be seen…

Page 3

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2.3: Did Germany destabilise peace in Europe before 1914?
Antagonising Russia
1. Kaiser allowed Reinsurance Treaty to lapse in 1890 and began seeking relations with the
Austro-Hungarian Empire
2. 1908, in Bosnian crisis, Germany supported Austria's annexation of Bosnia, which
antagonised Russia who wanted an international conference

Bosnian Crisis
1.…

Page 4

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1.4: Did German actions in the July Crisis of 1914 cause war in
Europe?
The July Crisis and the `Blank Cheque'
1. 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand of Austria assassinated by Serbian nationalistic organisation,
the Black Hand
2. On 5-6th July, encouraged by Ludendorff and Hindenburg, the Kaiser and Bethmann…

Page 5

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1.5: The actions of others and the European system
The actions of others
1. Britain participated in the naval race with Germany, creating the Dreadnought in 1906 which
provoked the Third Naval Law in Germany
2. France expanded her army
3. Russia's mobilisation in July 1914 pushed Germany to carry…

Page 6

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1.6: Possible interpretations
Interpretation A: "The war was caused by a German desire for European hegemony."
1. Germany pursued a war to become a dominate power in Europe (The War Council,
September Programme and the Schlieffen Plan)
2. Germany deliberately destabilised European peace and sought confrontation with the
Entente (naval…

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