Is Germany Really to Blame For World War One Watch

rmisra
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Just want to get a debate started
incase you already dont know, germany recieved the war-guilt clause in 1919 stating they were to blame for the war.

Do you think this was fair, or would you say that perhaps it was Austria or the black hand gang's fault or even Europe in general for forming the triple entete and triple alliance and having such a fierce arms race etc etc.
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hyakushiki1234
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It was hardly at all Germany's fault. All of Europe was equally guilty of it, IMO. That Arms Race was only ever going to end in disaster, and I think that Edmund Blackadder summed up the idea of the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente best: It was *******s.

The Black Hand and the assassination of the Archduke were the spark. The war was pretty much an inevitability by that point anyway and if that hadn't sparked it, some other minor incident would have.
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FloydRix
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always blame the germans
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J.R.W
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I don't think any country was innocent in this war. Russians killed their own royal family!
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Solemn Rain
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the past is the past and it is time to move on.
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Taimmi
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No. It was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand which was the main flashpoint.
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Captain Hindsight
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*sigh*, not this debate again :P The Kaiser to Fuhrer module really took it out of me... I think it's important to realise that any one factor isn't mutually exclusive, for example the schliefflen plan remodification of 1905 can be considered as aggressive but then again can be considered as defensive as a reaction to the 1904 Anglo-French alliance. I think it's important to realise that these factors are not mutually exclusive, and that it's a bit of everything that caused it, german aggression, british interests defending their navy, the balkan wars and tensions there, european situation of mistrust, alliance systems, Germany's domestic problems... It wasn't one single factor, although there is evidence to suggest that any one of these factors is responsible, particularly german aggression, for example.

What do i think? primarily the european situation of mistrust is responsible...
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Norton1
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I heard it was because some bloke called Archie Duke shot an Ostrich because he was hungry.
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InsideMyBrain
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It really started when the Ottoman Empire fell, it was a sort of vaccuum for the Balkans war to start. This made Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Germany and Russia involved and when Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by a Serbian, Germany put their Schlieffen Plan into action which made Russia spring to action and then France become involved.

I think that if the Ottoman Empire didn't fall then World War I wouldn't have happened or at least for another couple of years because tensions were really high throughout Europe as well.
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matty123
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Austria was the child who threw a paddy, Germany was the strong dad who took real action.

Jokes aside, I believe that it was the alliances, as it would have been just between Serbia and Austria if no allainces/agreements had been formed.
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Funtry
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The culmanation of decades of bitter dispute and want for imperial expansion, triggered by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand is the general consensus for the start of WW1? Then history got twisted by the "Winners" to make it all rest on the Germans. Not to say they weren't slightly to blame, but everyone had an equal input in my honest opinion.
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JamesPen
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Its strange that history is almost repeating itself in modern politics. Imperialism causing tension, could we be heading for another world war?
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JOSHIK1
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(Original post by hyakushiki1234)
It was hardly at all Germany's fault. All of Europe was equally guilty of it, IMO. That Arms Race was only ever going to end in disaster, and I think that Edmund Blackadder summed up the idea of the Triple Alliance and Triple Entente best: It was *******s.

The Black Hand and the assassination of the Archduke were the spark. The war was pretty much an inevitability by that point anyway and if that hadn't sparked it, some other minor incident would have.
I agree with most of this, but Germany were pretty aggressive:

1) Moroccan Crisis in 1911 where they ignored the agreements made at Algerciras and sent a gun ship to Morocco which was agreed as being under French influence

2) The whole arms race was instigated by the germans who had no real need for a large navy

3) The Kaiser openly taunted the British (calling them mad) (1908)

4) They offered a 'blank cheque' to Austria which meant that they offered to pay any money that was necessary to support them in war

Overall, all to blame, but mostly Germany
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Captain Hindsight
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(Original post by JOSHIK1)
I agree with most of this, but Germany were pretty aggressive:

1) Moroccan Crisis in 1911 where they ignored the agreements made at Algerciras and sent a gun ship to Morocco which was agreed as being under French influence

2) The whole arms race was instigated by the germans who had no real need for a large navy

3) The Kaiser openly taunted the British (calling them mad) (1908)

4) They offered a 'blank cheque' to Austria which meant that they offered to pay any money that was necessary to support them in war

Overall, all to blame, but mostly Germany
It wasn't just Germany who was aggressive, britain for example...

e.g. HMS Dreadnought campaign in 1906
signing a naval agreement with France (I believe it was in 1911) to isolate Germany
Britain in 1905 concentrated 3/4 of its fleet in European waters
Britain being involved in the triple entente in 1907
Britain's anti-german campaign in 1909
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oldham_fran
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There's no point in me repeating the role that Germany had in the origins of the First World War, as it's been clarified pretty well in the rest of this thread.

But Russia, Austria-Hungary and Serbia all played their parts.
Russia in particular had a point to prove. Having lost the Russo-Japanese War to a nation that was, at the time, viewed as a third world country was humiliating. Furthermore, the Bosnian Crisis and the Russian inability to continue her support of Serbia when threatened by Germany in turn threatened Russia's position as a 'Great Power.' And in the wake of massive defence spending and an increase in the size of the Army, Russia found herself in a position in 1914 to be able to back her political stance with military power.

In terms of Austria-Hungary, she was a power in decline. There was a very real threat of A-H replacing the Ottoman Empire as the 'sick man' of Europe, so backing down to the tiny nation that was Serbia in the wake of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was unthinkable. A-H, similar to Russia, wanted to reaffirm her position as a Great Power. A-H had also had previous problems with Serbia such as the Pig War and the fact that Serbia opposed the annexation of Bosnia. As such, the issuing of the July Ultimatum to Serbia was as much solving the 'Serbian Problem' as it was revenge for Franz Ferdinand's death.

Serbia, on the other hand, was a firm advocate of Pan-Slavism and thus believed that Bosnia, as another Slav nation, should be under Serbian control, putting them at direct opposition to A-H during the Bosnian Crisis. Additionally, allowing A-H to annex Bosnia increased the Serbian fear that they would also become a protectorate nation.

So in regards to Serbia, A-H and Russia there were other underlying factors that contributed to their decision to go to war. Furthermore, none of Europe's Great Powers knew how a conflict that originated in the Balkans would pan out. The majority thought that the conflict would remain localised, hence the lack of any real attempt to solve the 1914 crisis. Subsequently, the Alliance system meant that each Great Power was dragged into conflict and meant that by the time war was declared, anything that France and Britain did could only be reactive rather than preventative.

So, to answer the OP's question, Germany must take it's fair share of the blame for the outbreak of World War One but there are plenty of other nations plus a few unfortunate factors that also contributed.
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RyanT
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I just view it as a tool by the elites in the allied nations to try and preserve their legitimacy.

Could you imagine the British establishment saying, yes there's dead from every single parish in England, but it was our fault too.

A skin saving exercise by the elite and it shouldn't fool anyone.
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Djordje
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The Black Hand and the actual assassination of Archduke hardly had anything to do with the actual reason to start the war - this was used as an excuse by Austro-Hungarian Empire to declare war on Serbia (after an ultimatum where Austria demanded what was de facto Serbia to denounce its sovereignty). The actual reasons for war lie in the fact that Germany and Austria were "jealous" of French and English colonies. The country that suffered the most despite major victories at the beginning and the end of the war - Serbia lost 1/3 of all adult men - had no interest whatsoever in the war and didn't desire any colonies but was merely a chess board on which the war started by Austrians and Germans.
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That Bearded Man
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Having the Scheiffer plan probably didn't help - but I blame the Black Hand, the Archduke's assassination was the trigger.
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Historiana
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(Original post by rmisra)
Just want to get a debate started
incase you already dont know, germany recieved the war-guilt clause in 1919 stating they were to blame for the war.

Do you think this was fair, or would you say that perhaps it was Austria or the black hand gang's fault or even Europe in general for forming the triple entete and triple alliance and having such a fierce arms race etc etc.
The clause that is known as the War Guilt Clause of the Treaty of Versailles (Article 231) only became known as such well after the treaty was finalised, the result of German reinterpretation to obtain sympathy and relaxation of the penalties/reparations imposed upon them...

The clause was written, after the Allies had agreed that Germany could not foot the bill for all of the damage directly inflicted by German forces - they weren't expected to foot the bill for the whole cost of the war in the Reparations, just a sufficient amount of damage that their own troops had caused. Which is fair enough: the damage done throughout France, was a result of German aggression/invasion and French attempts to defend themselves. As the clear aggressor (show in the invasion of Belgium and France), it is only right that Germany made some financial compensations for the damage resulting from their choice to be aggressive.

It's also been long accepted that Germany could have paid the reparations but it suited the political mood and agenda of post-war Germany (and later Hitler etc) not to do so. The fact Germany remilitarised so quickly after the financial crisis under Hitler and reconstructed their infrastructure etc shows that the Germany economy would have been sufficiently strong enough to follow through with payments - their economy was not ruined after the problems with inflation/the Weimar - but for political reasons they attempted to project the image that it was, to default on the payments. Indeed, this was so successful that the British public soon began to believe that the TOV was far too harsh and accepted and supported Chamberlains Appeasement policy.

I think that the TOV was in tune with the public mood within the allied nations. To have done less, would have been humiliating for the Allied 'victors'. Worth mentioning also, that no one 'won' the First World War. As an armistice, it was a truce - except the Allies construed it as a victory. This, perhaps, was unfair, to treat Germany as a solely criminal participant when they agreed to end the war rather than lost it outright. There's some debate as to which side would have won otherwise.
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Presenttime
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Yes, but let's move on now
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