Unit 2: Controversy- Responsibility for WW1

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  • Created by: Samantha
  • Created on: 02-05-13 16:31

Theories on Responsibility for WW1

Fischer: Book War of Illusions . Blamed Germany for War, was a bid for world power. G hoped the "Blank Cheque" would cause war. Used September programme and War Council as evidence. Places Bethmann-Howlegg at center of the drive for expansion and therefore war. Claims G government used war as a solution to internal problems.

Ferguson: Disagrees with Fischer. Fisher has no proof these objectives existed before war. Objectives were determined by Britain entering the war, so war aims won't of stayed the same. 

Franco-German Historians (40's and 50's): shared responsibility.

Europe "slithered" into war: David Lloyd George, war was unavoidable.

Encirclement theory: surrouned by enemies, Germany had no allies, what was it supposed to do?

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Events suggesting Germany's Responsibility

Schlieffen Plan: defeat plan quickly, not having to fight on 2 fronts.

First Moroccan Crisis 1905-06 and Second Moroccan Crisis 1911. Lloyd George warned G of further aggression. G gained two strips of land in the Congo but had to promise to accept Fr. control of Morocco. Both Moroccan Crisises showed Germany was trying to expand but failing

Naval Race 1906-1914

The Balkans: Russia was humiliate, wanting revenge and would be unlikely to back down again. Relations are ruined.

July Crisis 28 June 1914: described the events between Franz Ferdinand shot by Princip, Black Hand and Britain declaring war on Germany on 4th August 1914.

Blank Cheque 6 July 1914: Historians such as Gilbert believes this caused war as "The Austrian foreign minister was fired up for war against Serbia, but need Germany's support.                         Germany did accept war guilt in the form of the Treaty of Versailles.

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Events suggesting Germany's Responsibility (2)

War Council 1912

Meeting of top German military staff including Tripitiz, Molkte and Muller. At the meeting the following points were made:

  • Kaiser insisted 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 leaving Germany free to deal with France on land and Britain at sea.
  • Molkte thought that the war against Russia was inevitable, so the sooner the better.
  • Tirpitz suggested the navy needed another 12 to 18 months to prepare the fleet.

Aggressive German Foriegn Policy.

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