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To what Extent was Imperial Germany the Main Reason for the Outbreak of WWI - Literature review Example

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To what extent was Imperial Germany the main reason for the outbreak of WWI ? 1. Background On June 28, 1914, shots from a Serbian assasin’s side arm in Sarajevo instantly killed Austrian archduke Francis Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie triggering a war that spanned all oceans in the world and ultimately involved beligerents from every continent (Heyman, 1997)…
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To what Extent was Imperial Germany the Main Reason for the Outbreak of WWI
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Download file to see previous pages Austria-Hungary announced war on Russia as France and Great Britain declared war on Austria-Hungary six days later. Historians and academicians understand the origins of the First World War, or “the Great War” as it is known, as complex, intense and intricate. This write-up presents a literature review on the causes of World War 1 and particularly Imperial Germany’s role in it. The scale of the war was vast as European powers increased their military spending by more than 300% during the war. Overall, thirty-two nations participated in the war, twenty-eight of which were Allied and Associated Powers, whose principal belligerents were the British Empire, France, Italy, Russia, Serbia, and the United States of America. The Central Powers opposing them were Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. 2. Causes of World War I One of the initial writings concerning the causes of war, the summarized revisionist history, “Origins of World War I”, by Sidney Bradshaw Fay discusses the Immediate and Underlying Causes of the war (Fay, 1966). Fay suggests five key reasons behind World War 1: the system of secret alliances, militarism, nationalism, economic imperialism and the newspaper press. Other academicians (Weikart, 1993) have also added social Darwinism to one of the underlying causes of War. Scholars, however, give different weightages to different causes, based on the importance they place on each of the above factors. Author S.R. Williamson takes on a pragmatist perspective by emphasizing that, in the period immediately leading up to World War I, there was a “militarization of attitudes” all across Europe (Samuel R. Williamson, 1988). “Militarism” and “imperialism” were key motivating forces in majority of the European countries to attack each other. Williamson, in his study, however singles out Austria-Hungry as the distruptive force amongst all other nations. The Austria-Hungry Empire was on a verge of disintegration and hence was preparing a realiatory attack on Serbia for the assasination of the archduke. Historian N. Ferguson, in his book, The Pity of War, elaborates further on the “Imperialistic virtues” of Europe, and that all European powers were preparing for the war within the confines of their empires. A naval arms race was gaining momentum between Germany and Britain and both countries wanted to demonstrate their strength as world’s greatest imperial powers (Ferguson, 1999). Each European country was also facing fears and threats to their existence and to their expansion plans. The Austrians dreaded the collapse of their multi-racial Empire if they did not challenge the danger of Serb nationalism and Panslavism. The Germans feared the fall of their closest and only reliable ally, Austria that in turn would have weakened their stance in Europe. The Russians were threatened of a humilating defeat to Austria and their failure to protect Slavs. The French felt the threat of their German neighbours as Germany increased its might in population, economy and military strength. France's primary defence against the threat of German invasion was its alliance with Russia. This it was essential to protect. The British were vulnerable as well, as their global empire was exposed to hostile forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary with modern navy and war ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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