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The Outbreak of World War I - Essay Example

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Almost a century since the end of World War I, the causes and origins of this overwhelming conflict continue to produce massive disagreements and intensive discussions in the scholarly community. The debate on the origins of World War I was launched almost immediately after its outbreak in August 1914 with both sides publishing solid collections of diplomatic materials in order to demonstrate that the other side bears the guilt for the conflict…
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The Outbreak of World War I
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Download file to see previous pages 231). The German guilt stance was subsequently supported by the absolute majority of non-German historians.
During the 1920s, a special department of the German Foreign Office - the War Guilt Section - published full compilation (39 volumes) of Germany's foreign policy documents. The compilation was supposed to demonstrate that Germany was not guilty of the outbreak of hostilities. Other European states also published the same collections of pre-war documents. These documents provided historians with massive data that suggested a revision of the view of solely German responsibility for the war, but did not lead to any major change of views among the historians. Furthermore, the Second World War only reinforced the traditional point of view. As a result, European and American historiography overwhelmingly supports the Germany guilt stance.
Thus, Luigi Albertini (1952) believes that although part of the blame for the outbreak of World War I rests with the failure of dipl...
In a similar vein, Steiner (1977) argues the German drive for power threatened British interests and British Foreign Minister Sir Edward Grey had no choice but respond defensively to an inevitable German aggression. However, this point of view is not in line with that of David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister who seemed to accept the blame in his War Memoirs (1934) saying that "We muddled into war" (Price, 1981, p.27). Lieven (1983) also claims that Germany's inability to control its militarism was the major factor that the blame for war must "unequivocally rest with the German government" (p.85). And even, Taylor (1969) who is widely known for his famous argument which puts events beyond the control of diplomacies believes that the breakdown of the balance of power due to a self-aggrandizing Germany was the key factor for the First World War.
Although remoteness of the event, coupled with the alleged desire of many participants to hide at least part of the truth makes it too difficult to find out what country or who was primarily responsible for the outbreak of hostilities the German guilt still seems to be the most reasonable. International and domestic policy conducted by the Germany leaders convincingly demonstrates that taking the responsibility for the war off her shoulder would be a highly imprudent and unjustified step.

Main Discussion
The major causes of World War I are often referred to as 'MAIN': Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Nationalism. The German build-up of its naval forces was the main reason for deterioration of Anglo-German relations. During only four years after Great Britain, France and the Russian Empire formed the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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