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Role of Germany in WWI

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Our class has to do an in class essay tomorrow on the causes of WWI. We're supposed to pick a country and write about how it contributed the most to the start of WWI. He's also marking it in the IB format, so it's kind of a first time thing for me aka i'm kinda nervous of how i match up to IB. So, the country i will blame it on is Germany (most obvious). I'm writing about it's agressive foreign policy (weltpolitik), how it provoked bad French and British relations, and how it started the arms race, the blank cheque which supported Austria Hungary against their "localised" war which turned to become WWI and it's Schliefflen plan. Problem is, for the Schliefflen plan, it's hard for me to put it in words. Like Germany did plan it in 1905, because they wanted a World war, to expand it's territories, and also, it focuses on the West, regardless of the agressors, which shows that Germany was going to try to take control of Europe, making any war, into a Europe wide war. My question: is this a good enough arguement? Or should i try to find some other reason why Germany started WWI?

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Your argument sucks! =)

I will help to polish it up a little. First of all, I don't actually believe that Germany is the ''most obvious'' country that can be blamed for starting world war I. I could give you a lot of very good arguments why this is so, however since you are focusing on why it was Germany that started WWI, i'll help you on this,

[quote name='daniel6' post='26208' date='Oct 6 2008, 04:08 AM']I'm writing about it's agressive foreign policy (weltpolitik), how it provoked bad French and British relations[/quote]
Be careful here! Britain did try to establish an alliance with Germany when Britain was still in ''Splendid isolation'' and she didn't mind Germany expanding into colonizing the Cameroon and Togo (which was part of Weltpolitik). The real problem was that Weltpolitik also meant that Germany would expand her navy, which alarmed Britain (coz she somehow falsely thought that Germany was going to use that navy to invade Britain). It definitely provoked France, and here you can talk about the 1st and 2nd Moroccan crisis. And the Kaiser's ''bullying'' of the French government by insisting that the french foreign minister, Delcassé, should be sacked (and he was).
[quote name='daniel6' post='26208' date='Oct 6 2008, 04:08 AM']and how it started the arms race,[/quote]
Be v. careful! There were 2 races, arms race and naval race. The naval race hightened tension between Britain and Germany BUT did not cause war, the naval race was over by 1911. Now for the arms race, you could blame Germany by stating

Secondly, you can't blame Germany for starting the arms race... Germany was surrounded by Russia and France, you could instead argue that

[quote name='daniel6' post='26208' date='Oct 6 2008, 04:08 AM']the blank cheque which supported Austria Hungary against their "localised" war which turned to become WWI and it's Schliefflen plan.[/quote]

With the blank cheque you can definitely blame Germany, they gave Austria-Hungary an unlimited freehand, regardless of what Austria would be doing. You are making a veery big statement about the Schlieffen plan however.

[quote name='daniel6' post='26208' date='Oct 6 2008, 04:08 AM']Problem is, for the Schliefflen plan, it's hard for me to put it in words. Like Germany did plan it in 1905, because they wanted a World war, to expand it's territories, and also, it focuses on the West, regardless of the agressors, which shows that Germany was going to try to take control of Europe, making any war, into a Europe wide war.[/quote]

Your claim is just wrong. All countries had a military plan, France had ''Plan XVI'' which was a rapid assault of Germany through the Rhineland and to take over Berlin. Russia planned to take over Germany too. Just because you have a military plan for emergencies doesn't make you the aggressor. The Schlieffen plan was focused on the west - that ''might'' be because it was obvious since 1871 that France hated Germany and that the French government consisted of politicians who wanted to get ''the lost land [Alsace-Lorraine] back, no matter what''. The Schlieffen plan in itself is just a defensive war plan, since it's aim was to quickly knock out France from the war and the defeat Russia before they could fully mobilize (that way there would only be a quick general european war which wouldn't drag the world in).

[quote name='daniel6' post='26208' date='Oct 6 2008, 04:08 AM']My question: is this a good enough arguement? Or should i try to find some other reason why Germany started WWI?[/quote]

You didn' talk about aims (which should be the backbone of your essay). Look at this [url="http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/ralph/workbook/ralprs34.htm"]http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/ra...ok/ralprs34.htm[/url]

Research Fisher's thesis too

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"Now for the arms race, you could blame Germany by stating..." I don't think you finished your sentence there.

Do you mean aims as in Germany's aims in a European war, if one should break out? It states that it pretty much wants to rape France of all it's resources, and kick Russia back to the far east. Should I structure it saying that if a European war broke out, Germany would have so much to gain from it, so they helped "push" it a little?

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[quote name='daniel6' post='26297' date='Oct 7 2008, 12:52 AM']"Now for the arms race, you could blame Germany by stating..." I don't think you finished your sentence there.

Do you mean aims as in Germany's aims in a European war, if one should break out? It states that it pretty much wants to rape France of all it's resources, and kick Russia back to the far east. Should I structure it saying that if a European war broke out, Germany would have so much to gain from it, so they helped "push" it a little?[/quote]

Sorry my bad! It could be argued that Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWI because of the arms race. Germany's rapid arms race combined with Weltpolitik's impact on a hostile foreign policy alarmed France and Russia to a great extent. F + R therefore also engaged in the arms race and made efforts to win over Britain into their web of alliances which made war more likely. France and Russia even settled their colonial disputes with Britain through a series of treaties after Weltpolitik was proclaimed to be Germany's foreign policy.

About your statement, you can't really say that ''Germany would have so much to gain from it'' - they lost, remember? You could say that they anticipated a war (but so did all other countries), they didn't prevent war when it could have been prevented since they really did urge Austria-Hungary to take whatever measures it wanted against Serbia, and Germany was fully conscious of the Serbian-Russian alliance, therefore Germany knew that Russia and then France would be pulled into the conflict. Germany accepted this however (Germany also thought that if the arms race continued, that a war later on would be too devastating for Germany, since Russian industrial expansion and military expansion was far greater than that of Germany's at the time)

So yeah, they helped push it a lot actually

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