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Causes of WWI - A Study of Historiography

Analysis of differing opinions of WW!
by

Jay Tee

on 3 September 2015

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Transcript of Causes of WWI - A Study of Historiography

a work on Historiography Causes of WW! REVISIONISTS POST REVISIONISM JT Yeung superficial, pointing finger views ORTHODOX
TRADITIONALISTS and GERMANY'S FAULT and her allies KAISER WILHELM and his government Austria Hungary aggressive shared guilt Russian Mobilisation and Austria-Hungarian diplomacy Alliance system and secret diplomacy G. Lowes Dickinson-- Origins lie in the system of capitalism, colonial and economic rivalry; Imperialism STRUCTURALISTS/POLITICS MARXISTS Lenin and Trotsky-- "The war of 1914 is the most colossal breakdown in history of an economic system destroyed by its own inherent contradictions"
-- War and the International (Nov 1914)--Trotsky 1920-1940 1914-1920 POST WW2 System of Industrial Capitalism and Imperialism Industrial Capitalism's insatiable hunger for resources and markets fulled the New Imperialism of the 19th century...By arguing a systemic cause of the war...they believe the system would have caused a war eventually.
-- The Age of Empires (1887) -- Eric Hobsbawm Sidney Fay -- LONG TERM CAUSES Boiling up of Domestic issues and relentlessness --Winston Churchill EVERYONE'S FAULT INCOMPETENT INDIVIDUALS A man need not have been a Bismarck to prevent this most idiotic of all wars."
--Emil Ludwig, "July 1914" (1929) UK were more than capable of settling their differences...UK misinterpreted German intentions, seeing them as Napoleonic rather than as essentially defensive. These leaders misled the British -- The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (1999) -- Niall Ferguson None of the leaders had the nerve to order a halt to the mobilization even though this was a completely viable option. Had different personalities been in position of authority in July 1914, there may never have been a war -- Why Nations Go To War (1974) -- John Stoessinger Fischer maintained that these attitudes and desires were not held solely by a maleficent and deluded leadership -- Grasp for World Power (1961) Frtiz Fischer Russia has set fire to the building! We are at war with Russia and France -- a war that has been forced upon us…
--Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg (Aug 4 1914) England alone bears the responsibility for war or peace and it is no longer we! ---Kaiser Wilhelm BRITAIN, RUSSIA AND FRANCE the crushing responsibility for which the German Empire will have to bear before history -- Poincaré's (French president) (Aug 5 1914) DURING WAR GERMANY AFTER WAR -- Eric Hobsbawm Struggle over POWER AND IMPERIALISM of the Germans -- AJP Taylor INTENTIONALISTS/MILITARISM "The sole cause for the outbreak of war in 1914 was the Schlieffen Plan" -- The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1914 (1954) -- AJP Taylor individuals determine events (they want war.) MILITARISTIC HAWKS it was the men gathered at the Imperial Palace in Berlin who pushed Europe over the brink. These men during the week prior to August 1 had, together with the “hawks” in Vienna, deliberately exacerbated the crisis, although they were in the best position to de-escalate and defuse it. -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn Moltke, who now pushed for a violent settling of accounts with the Triple Entente -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn Militaristic Atmosphere and sole blame on Germany -- V. R. Berghahn MOLTKE That Moltke, clearly a key player in any German planning, had significant individual, convince other to wage war -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn Domestic Problems - Kaiser losing prestige Violence as method to sort out dissatisfaction --Winston Churchill Surveying the Prusso-German political system in early 1914, it was impossible to avoid the impression that it was out of joint. The Kaiser’s prestige was rapidly evaporating -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn Overconfidence in military, hoped for limited war They expected that war would lead to a major breakthrough in the Balkans and would stabilize the Austria-Hungarian Empire against Serb nationalism…
-- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn was General Franz Conrad von H’otzendorf, chief of the Austro-Hungarian general staff. In the previous crises [Balkan wars in 1912 and 1913] he had called for war against Serbia more than fifty times… -- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson Upon learning of the ultimatum, [Russian] Foreign Minister Serge Sazonov declared war inevitable. His actions thereafter did much to ensure a general European war… At Sazonov’s urgings [the Russian Tsar and leadership council agreed] to initiate various military measures preparing for partial or full mobilization. -- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson SAZONOV CONRAD H'OTZENDORF In each country the war plans contained elaborate mobilization schedules which the generals wanted to put into action at the earliest possible moment -- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson WAR PLANS Militaristic atmosphere of all countries (generals, war plans, mobilisation) --Samuel R. Williamson GERMANY (with BETTER reasoning) [The German] bid for continental supremacy -- The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1914" (1954) --AJP Taylor Aggression The legacy of Germany’s bombastic behaviour…after 1898, also meant that Berlin was thoroughly mistrusted. -- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson Alliance System --– The Origins of the War of 1914 (1942-3) -- Luigi Albertini (Italian journalist) Wanted war German mobilisation was tantamount as Schlieffen Plan offensive in nature Holger Herwig "The leaders in Berlin.. saw war as the only solution" "There was no slide to war.. War was caused by a fearful set of elite statesmen and rulers making deliberate choices" -- Griff nach der Weltmacht ('Grasp for World Power'), 1961 - Fritz Fischer SOLE BLAME GERMANY -- V. R. Berghahn Fischer Controversy 1. The Will to War
2. The Sonderweg (Special Path) thesis
3. Junker Aggression 1. The Will to War wanted war by giving Blank Cheque to Austria-Hungary Russia was getting stronger so if they didn't declare war now, they would never have the chance to beat Russia in the future 2. The Sonderweg (Special Path) thesis Germany had a tradition of annexing and grabbing territory "annexation aims". Best exemplified by Hitler's policy of Lebrensruam and the Septemberprogramm 3. Junker Aggression Scared of the rise of socialism and were keen to unite everyone together, behind a marvelous victory Capitalist Meanwhile the “revolutionary” Social Democrats were on the rise and had become the largest party in the Reichstag [German parliament]… [There was an expectation] that a war would result in Germany’s and Austria-Hungary’s domestic situation.
-- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn Rise of the social democrats, trade unions... Fritz Fischer's Junker aggression -- A Century of Change (1963) -- R.J. Unstead, Kaiser embarked a vast programme of military and naval armament, of having a "rightful place in the sun" (Weltpolitik). STUPID INTENTIONALISTS wanted to increase territory (limited war) but didn't want large scale war Chief of the General Staff, von Moltke commented: "War is inevitable, and the sooner the better". German Aggression Kaiser Wilhelm had neither brains or manners The German Emperor, who had neither brains nor manners, seemed to go out of his way to give and to take offence. He wrote rudely to his grandmother [Queen Victoria], openly sided with the Boers, and told Britain to mind her own business in Egypt instead of complaining about German plans to build a railway from Berlin to Baghdad. Above all, he built a powerful battle-fleet which could only be intended to challenge British sea-power. In this situation Britain could not afford to remain isolated, and...Balfour made an approach to France…" -- A Century of Change (1963) -- R.J. Unstead ACCIDENTALISTS/DETERMINISTIC STRUCTRALISTS/INTENTIONALISTS especially Russia, UK, France, Italy, Japan, US Germany, Austria-Hungary used Alliance system to be more confident Politicians responsible for stirring up patriotic fervour ...in the diplomatic documents, or the plans of the war offices that the whole story of the origins of the war can be found. When they have been [read], there still remain important questions about mass psychology
--History of World War One (1978) -- J. M. Roberts What really marked out the decade before 1914 was a failure of statesmanship and hope. -- The Origins of the First World War (1989) -- R. Henig 1914 needed statesmanship, which it unfortunately did not have 1914 needed "the most Olympian of statesmanship"
-- Robert Roswell Plamer and Joel Colton Austria-Hungary and Germany...actively conspired to provoke at least a regional war if not a general European war. -- Why Nations Go To War (1974) -- John Sotessinger Russia getting too strong for us, we have to act now or never if we intend to get more territory -- Moltke Moltke [said to the Austrian military leadership in March 1914], to wait any longer [means] diminishing our chances; [for] as far as manpower is concerned, one cannot enter into a competition with Russia.”
-- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn If in the face of this evidence, we accept that Berlin adopted a limited war strategy at the beginning of July -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn did not think of the grave consequences Naive to want a Limited War And so the Kaiser and his advisors encouraged Vienna to launch a limited war in the Balkans. -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn The deaths of Franz Ferdinand and Spohie stunned the Hapsburg [Austrian] leadership. While there were only modest public shows of sympathy, limited by the [royal] court’s calculation to play down the funeral
-- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson Use excuse of Assassination of FF for war soon focused on three options: a severe diplomatic humiliation of Serbia; quick decisive military action against Serbia; or an ultimatum that, if rejected, would be followed by military action…
-- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson military action NO MATTER what Contrary to common German belief that they wanted war Alliance systems Germany believed that it must support its Danubian ally [Austria-Hungary].
-- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson Germany was forced to join war Franz Joseph [Austria’s emperor] sent Count Alexander von Hoyos to see the German Kaiser
-- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson However, the elite diplomats, statesmen, politicians and rulers were not known for being responsive to the general populace and could have ignored the public mood if they had wished. Instead they exploited it. -- History for the IB Diploma, Causes, Practices and Effects of Wars - Mike Wells How about Serbia? That Mr. Pashitch was aware of the plot three weeks before it was executed, failed to take effective steps to prevent the assassins from crossing over from Serbia to Bosnia, and then failed to give Austria any warning or information which might have averted the fatal crime, were facts unknown to Austria in July, 1914; they cannot therefore be regarded as in any way justifying Austria's conduct; but they are part of Serbia's responsibility, and a very serious part.
-- The Origins of the World War 1930 -- Sidney B. Fay Serbia Black Hand Gang assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand To avert this Berchtold [Austria’s minister of foreign affairs] determined to crush Serbia with war. He deliberately framed the ultimatum with the expectation and hope that it would be rejected…
-- The Origins of the World War 1930 -- Sidney B. Fay Blank Cheque Hoped for limited war Therefore, Bethmann [Germany’s Chancellor] felt bound to accede to Berchtold's request for support and gave him a free hand to deal with Serbia;
-- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay She was the victim of her alliance with Austria and of her own folly -- The Origins of the War (1998) -- Samuel R. Williamson Germany didn't want war, but was not smart diplomatically Germany did not plot a European War, did not want one, and made genuine, though too belated efforts, to avert one.
-- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay he also hoped and expected to "localize" the Austro-Serbian conflict.
-- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay Wanted purely Limited War she would stand isolated between Russia, where Pan-slavism and armaments were growing stronger every year, and France
---- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay Russia/France alliance scare Germany she would stand isolated between Russia, where Pan-slavism and armaments were growing stronger every year, and France
-- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay Moltke [said to the Austrian military leadership in March 1914], to wait any longer [means] diminishing our chances; [for] as far as manpower is concerned, one cannot enter into a competition with Russia.”
-- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn This does not mean, however, that Germany had decided for war. In fact, Bethmann was one of the last of the statesmen to abandon hope of peace and to consent to the mobilization of his country's army.
-- The Origins of the World War (1930) -- Sidney B. Fay GERMANY DIDN'T WANT WAR - DRAGGED INTO IT Sir Edward Grey and
UNCLEAR British Cabinet Or, if Sir Edward Grey had listened to German urging, and warned France and Russia early in the crisis that if they became involved in war, England would remain neutral, probably Russia would have hesitated with her mobilizations, and France would probably have exerted a restraining influence at St. Petersburg. But Sir Edward Grey could not say that England would take the side of France and Russia, because he had a Cabinet nearly evenly divided, and he was not sure, early in the crisis, that public opinion in England would back him up in war against Germany
-- The Origins of the World War 1930 -- Sidney B. Fay Sir Edward could probably have prevented war if he had done either of two things: If, early in the crisis, he had acceded to the urging of France and Russia and given a strong warning to Germany that, in a European war, England would take the side of the Franco-Russian Alliance, this would probably have led Bethmann to exert an earlier and more effective pressure on Austria; and it would perhaps thereby have prevented the Austrian declaration of war on Serbia, and brought to a successful issue the "direct conversations" between Vienna and St. Petersburg.
-- The Origins of the World War 1930 -- Sidney B. Fay Bad diplomacy But it is very doubtful whether all these dangerous tendencies would have actually led to war, had it not been for the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. That was the factor which consolidated the elements of hostility and started the rapid and complicated succession of events which culminated in a World War, and for that factor Serbian nationalism was primarily responsible. ----The Origins of the World War 1930 -- Sidney B. Fay Not preventing
Assassination A less fastidious [hard to please], conciliatory [peace making] and correct statesman [than Grey] might have acted more effectively.
--The Long Fuse: An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I (1965) Lawrence Lafore ICONOCLASTIC mostly everyone else Surveying the Prusso-German political system in early 1914, it was impossible to avoid the impression that it was out of joint. The Kaiser’s prestige was rapidly evaporating -- Imperial Germany, 1871-1914 (1994) -- V. R. Berghahn the Russian army had 1,200,000 soldiers, 30 warships (and was growing the fastest)
--Assess the importance of each of the following as causes of the First World War: Alliances, Militarism, Nationalism, Ian Gabrielson Nationalism “If there is ever another war in Europe, it will come from some damned silly thing in the Balkans.”
-- Otto Van Bismarck all of Europe - not just Germany - was beset by domestic disturbances and in a pre-Revolutionary state.
-- Arno Mayer The British government planned to build four Dreadnoughts in 1909, but the British public panicked, demanding: 'We want eight and we won't wait'.
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