AQA A Level history coursework help please? Watch

AxSirlotl
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I'm doing whether Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WW1 and I have plenty of substance to the argument from 1871 onward, but I'm lacking anything before 1871. I need to cover the entire period (1815-1914) and I'm not sure where to look to find evidence to show things like nationalism in the 1815-1914 period.
If anyone could give me any tips that would be great.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
I'm doing whether Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WW1 and I have plenty of substance to the argument from 1871 onward, but I'm lacking anything before 1871. I need to cover the entire period (1815-1914) and I'm not sure where to look to find evidence to show things like nationalism in the 1815-1914 period.
If anyone could give me any tips that would be great.
If you're looking at German nationalism (which begs the question about the same factor other countries) then the 'War of Liberation' in 1813 played a significant role in building nationalist sentiment. There's also the revolutions of 1848.

Is your question 'whether' or 'to what extent' Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWI?
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
If you're looking at German nationalism (which begs the question about the same factor other countries) then the 'War of Liberation' in 1813 played a significant role in building nationalist sentiment. There's also the revolutions of 1848.

Is your question 'whether' or 'to what extent' Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWI?
It's to assess the extent of Germany's war guilt. I don't think that I can cover the Napoleonic wars since AQA have given us a time period of 1815-1914. I could do something on the 1848 revolutions but that leaves the period 1815-1848 without much mention. I suppose I might be able to include some of the conferences just after and in 1815. Thanks though.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
It's to assess the extent of Germany's war guilt. I don't think that I can cover the Napoleonic wars since AQA have given us a time period of 1815-1914. I could do something on the 1848 revolutions but that leaves the period 1815-1848 without much mention. I suppose I might be able to include some of the conferences just after and in 1815. Thanks though.
You could mention 1813 as part of a discussion of 1815 and the congresses. If there isn't anything between then and 1848, so be it. This is one problem with having such artificial and precise parameters.

The origins of WWI is my favourite historical topic - I've got more than 30 books either wholly or partially on the subject.
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
You could mention 1813 as part of a discussion of 1815 and the congresses. If there isn't anything between then and 1848, so be it. This is one problem with having such artificial and precise parameters.

The origins of WWI is my favourite historical topic - I've got more than 30 books either wholly or partially on the subject.
I have very little knowledge of the Napoleonic wars, but from what I've seen learning about WW2, there's a heightened sense of nationalism during wars. So I think that excluding those wars from the time period we are allocated reduces the amount of stuff I can talk about when analysing nationalism and it's growth throughout the 19th century.

What are the best books on the causes of WW1 in your opinion? (if possible). I've been reading things by Fritz Fischer such as "Germany's aims in the First World War" and "War of Illusions. I'm thinking of reading Niall Ferguson's "The pity of war" or McMeekin's "July 1914: Countdown to war" although I'm not sure wide of a time span either of those books will cover, and whether they will be sufficient.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
I have very little knowledge of the Napoleonic wars, but from what I've seen learning about WW2, there's a heightened sense of nationalism during wars. So I think that excluding those wars from the time period we are allocated reduces the amount of stuff I can talk about when analysing nationalism and it's growth throughout the 19th century.

What are the best books on the causes of WW1 in your opinion? (if possible). I've been reading things by Fritz Fischer such as "Germany's aims in the First World War" and "War of Illusions. I'm thinking of reading Niall Ferguson's "The pity of war" or McMeekin's "July 1914: Countdown to war" although I'm not sure wide of a time span either of those books will cover, and whether they will be sufficient.
The best book on the origins of WWI is probably, despite its age, Luigi Albertini's trilogy - though that's both difficult to get and I suspect too detailed for your needs. I definitely advise you to avoid Ferguson. To my mind, he's more interested in coming up with a 'controverisal' argument just for the sake of it. And to sell more books. I saw him get absolutely get destroyed in a TV debate regarding his assertion that Britain should have stayed out of WWI 'because although Germany would have won and ended up dominating the continent, it would have been no worse than the way Germany dominates the EU nowadays'! Er, no!

Otoh definitely read McMeekin simply because he will provide a nice counterpoint to Germany being responsible - he blames Russia. Wading through the Fischer books is a tedious task, so I don't envy you that. Note also that Fischer's arguments are generally downplayed by modern historians so I would suggest it isn't worth going overboard on that angle.Have a look at Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers for one such example. Other decent single-volume histories would include Margaret Macmillas's The War That Ended Peace and Otte's July Crisis, which is particularly dismissive of Fischer in its conclusion.

Books of documents would be useful, though they tend to focus on the last few years before war broke out - Mombauer's The Origins of the First World War and Geiss's July 1914 might give you material which you wouldn't get elsewhere.
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
The best book on the origins of WWI is probably, despite its age, Luigi Albertini's trilogy - though that's both difficult to get and I suspect too detailed for your needs. I definitely advise you to avoid Ferguson. To my mind, he's more interested in coming up with a 'controverisal' argument just for the sake of it. And to sell more books. I saw him get absolutely get destroyed in a TV debate regarding his assertion that Britain should have stayed out of WWI 'because although Germany would have won and ended up dominating the continent, it would have been no worse than the way Germany dominates the EU nowadays'! Er, no!

Otoh definitely read McMeekin simply because he will provide a nice counterpoint to Germany being responsible - he blames Russia. Wading through the Fischer books is a tedious task, so I don't envy you that. Note also that Fischer's arguments are generally downplayed by modern historians so I would suggest it isn't worth going overboard on that angle.Have a look at Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers for one such example. Other decent single-volume histories would include Margaret Macmillas's The War That Ended Peace and Otte's July Crisis, which is particularly dismissive of Fischer in its conclusion.

Books of documents would be useful, though they tend to focus on the last few years before war broke out - Mombauer's The Origins of the First World War and Geiss's July 1914 might give you material which you wouldn't get elsewhere.
The place where I'm doing my research only has McMeekin's "The Russian Origins of the First World War". Is that a good book to read in your opinion? I can actually get access to Albertini's books so I'll check them out. My only worry is that I'm struggling to find any books which cover pre 1871 causes of WW1 in detail. I've found a book called "The origins of the World War by Sidney Bradshaw Fay which covers briefly causes such as nationalism and militarism. However the bulk of the book focuses on the years 1871 onwards. Do you know of any books which shed light on any causes from the years before 1871? Thanks for the books.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
The place where I'm doing my research only has McMeekin's "The Russian Origins of the First World War". Is that a good book to read in your opinion? I can actually get access to Albertini's books so I'll check them out. My only worry is that I'm struggling to find any books which cover pre 1871 causes of WW1 in detail. I've found a book called "The origins of the World War by Sidney Bradshaw Fay which covers briefly causes such as nationalism and militarism. However the bulk of the book focuses on the years 1871 onwards. Do you know of any books which shed light on any causes from the years before 1871? Thanks for the books.
I didn't expect you to have access to such a wealth of material! Not a school library, I assume?

The only McMeekin I have read is his slightly later book, July Crisis (2013). I believe it has essentially the same arguments regarding Russia so you should be safe there.

By all means look at Albertini, but there is no concluding chapter because he died while writing the book so it is difficult to see where he puts the blame. Fay is another good account though similarly old.

Your basic problem is that the further away from an event you look, the more tenuous any connection becomes. How would you find causes of May's election debacle back in 1918?
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
I didn't expect you to have access to such a wealth of material! Not a school library, I assume?

The only McMeekin I have read is his slightly later book, July Crisis (2013). I believe it has essentially the same arguments regarding Russia so you should be safe there.

By all means look at Albertini, but there is no concluding chapter because he died while writing the book so it is difficult to see where he puts the blame. Fay is another good account though similarly old.

Your basic problem is that the further away from an event you look, the more tenuous any connection becomes. How would you find causes of May's election debacle back in 1918?
It's a university library so it's got a lot of stuff. My teacher has told me to look for things on nationalism to ensure that I write about events before 1871. However it makes sense that the vast majority of books start at the earliest 1871 (when writing about causes of WW1). I'm reading "The Long Fuse" by Lafore which I think briefly mentions the Conference of Vienna (I think) however I'm not entirely sure how useful his book will be.
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
It's a university library so it's got a lot of stuff. My teacher has told me to look for things on nationalism to ensure that I write about events before 1871. However it makes sense that the vast majority of books start at the earliest 1871 (when writing about causes of WW1). I'm reading "The Long Fuse" by Lafore which I think briefly mentions the Conference of Vienna (I think) however I'm not entirely sure how useful his book will be.
I understand that you have to write about pre-1871 in order to satisfy the terms of your 100-year brief, though it is a little awkward. I assume you will include something on 1848 in Prussia. I've just had a brief look at The Pursuit of Power by Richard Evans - a brief section on Prussian gains at the Congress of Vienna (p23-25 in my paperback edition) might help you a little.

Don't forget that nationalism wasn't just a Prussian/German issue. It played a considerable role elsewhere in the 19th century and in influencing the lead up to 1914 - not just the other Great Powers, but in Serbia, and even Hungary if you want to go into one of the more subtle factors leading to the outbreak of war.
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CoffeeAndPolitics
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(Original post by AxSirlotl)
I'm doing whether Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WW1 and I have plenty of substance to the argument from 1871 onward, but I'm lacking anything before 1871. I need to cover the entire period (1815-1914) and I'm not sure where to look to find evidence to show things like nationalism in the 1815-1914 period.
If anyone could give me any tips that would be great.
I'm not familiar with Germany pre 1871 and anything before WW1 but it would be good if you took out some books relating to those periods and do some research that way and also look online if you can. Of course what people said below and recommended will be good as well. Hope this helps.
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sachet05
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check out some of the activities that Germany was involved in pre-historically (before 1871) that might have led to its involvement in world war II from: http://alphahistory.com/worldwar1/germany/
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by ageshallnot)
I understand that you have to write about pre-1871 in order to satisfy the terms of your 100-year brief, though it is a little awkward. I assume you will include something on 1848 in Prussia. I've just had a brief look at The Pursuit of Power by Richard Evans - a brief section on Prussian gains at the Congress of Vienna (p23-25 in my paperback edition) might help you a little.

Don't forget that nationalism wasn't just a Prussian/German issue. It played a considerable role elsewhere in the 19th century and in influencing the lead up to 1914 - not just the other Great Powers, but in Serbia, and even Hungary if you want to go into one of the more subtle factors leading to the outbreak of war.
Yeah I'll look at nationalism as a whole in Europe, I'm thinking of including something about the 1848 revolutions and the Frankfurt assembly (if I remember correctly), although I'm not too sure whether I would be able to form an argument from that. I might also look at the collapse of the Ottoman empire with Greek independence, but again, I don't have much knowledge on those areas as I've been focusing on 1871 onward.
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AxSirlotl
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(Original post by CoffeeAndPolitics)
I'm not familiar with Germany pre 1871 and anything before WW1 but it would be good if you took out some books relating to those periods and do some research that way and also look online if you can. Of course what people said below and recommended will be good as well. Hope this helps.
(Original post by sachet05)
check out some of the activities that Germany was involved in pre-historically (before 1871) that might have led to its involvement in world war II from: http://alphahistory.com/worldwar1/germany/
Thanks, I'll have a look at those things
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Petrovski01
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Hi, what was your title/ what were the sources that you used for your coursework?
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