The controversy surrounding Germany's 'War Guilt'


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The controversy surrounding Germany's 'War Guilt'
To What Extent was Germany Responsible?
Over the year Britain ended its 'Splendid Isolation' and subsequently allied with Japan and the
Entente agreements left Germany overly reliant on Austria.
In 1901 the British made overtures towards the Germans for an alliance.
France sought Revenge for the loss of Alsace-Lorraine and humiliation in 1878.
The Kaisers 'new course' meant not signing the renewed reinsurance treaty with Russia.
Flottenpolitik and Navy Laws directly challenged British Navy supremacy.
German support for the Bore war antagonised relations further.
Triple Alliance of 1882 - Austria-Hungary, Italy and Germany.
Dreikaiserbund of 1881 - Austria Hungary, Russia and Germany.
The Fischer Controversy,
German historian post World War II.
Crucial work in the understanding of the causes of World War One, thinking radical and
He believed that Germany was to blame.
Fischer proposed that;
Germany deliberately went to war because they wanted world domination.
Germany issued the 'Blank Cheque' in order to push Austria in to war.
Germany's expansion caused war; its roots lay in an internal society, economical and political
Criticisms of Fischer were;
Assumption that Germany's war aims as stated after the war were the same as pre war aims.
Germany part of the push for war (all countries slid into war) but did not plan for war.
Germany pushed into a preventive defence.
Little evidence suggested that Germany wanted to be a world power; war was a result of
How significant was the 1912 'War Council'?
The tensions in European capitals at the end of December 1912 were all too apparent. Serbian
expansion to the sea had alarmed Austria to the point that, in November 1912, the Austrian
government announced its opposition to such expansion. In response, the Russian government began
to mobilise, and Austria sought support from Germany and Italy in the case of a general European
war. On the 5th of December the Triple alliance was renewed, but two days before the British
Minister of War warned the German Ambassador in London that Britain would not tolerate the
defeat of the French if a war between Russia and Austria led to a German attack on the French. In this
context the Kaiser called a meeting of top military staff. At the meeting the following points were
The Kaiser insisted that Austria-Hungary should be supported in her actions against Serbia.
If Russia decided to fight then so be it. Austria would be supported by Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria
and Albania, which would leave Germany free to deal with France on land and Britain on sea.
Molkte thought that war against Russia was inevitable and the sooner the better.
Tirpitz suggested that the Navy needed another 12 to 18 months to prepare the fleet and for
the Kiel Canal to have opened to allow larger German Naval vessels to pass from the Baltic to
the North sea.

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