Germany's Responsibility for the First World War

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Beatriz Pou <[email protected]>

22:20 (hace 0 minutos)

The First World War began in 1914 with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and ended in 1919 in Versailles.

The Treaty of Versailles, the most important peace treaty, brought an end to the First World War. It was signed on June 28, 1919, also in Versailles, five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which immediately started the First World War. After the war, Germany had to bear all the responsibilities because it had caused all the damage and losses during the war. This treaty became known as the War Guilt clause and it forced Germany to pay and repair all the damages caused. But should Germany be the only guilty party in the First World War?

Reasons for Germany's Responsibility

One of the many reasons why Germany should be held responsible for the First World War is because of the Versailles deal, which was the cause of increased tension that finally led to fighting on the battlefield. The war between France and Prussia, known as the future German Empire, ended with a major defeat of France from 1870 to 1871. France lost two regions called Alsace and Lorraine and had to pay compensation to Prussia. This war led by the Germans resulted in the formation of a great German empire with a strong army and significant economic power, which disrupted the balance of power in Europe and generated a feeling of revenge and deep resentment in the French.

Later, in 1888, with the arrival of William II to the German throne, Germany altered its foreign policy by dismissing Otto von Bismarck as chancellor. Germany also opposed renewing the Reinsurance Treaty, which aimed to maintain a weak peace between Russia and Austria-Hungary and keep France at a distance. As a result of William's choices, France and Russia became the foundations of the Triple Entente.

These were two of the main factors that make Germany guilty of the First World War.

Germany's Attempt to Stop the Escalation

Although Germany was the first to attack, it would be a great historical mistake to blame it solely because it also tried to prevent the escalation of the war. A great example is that Germany tried to discourage Russia from mobilizing, but Russia was the first power to mobilize even before the Austrian deadline to Serbia had expired. Russia's goal was to achieve Russian domination throughout Europe, known as pan-slavery. Despite Germany's efforts to prevent Russia's expansion, it was unsuccessful.

The United Kingdom denied the peace offers from Germany, asking for English neutrality in exchange for Belgian neutrality, but the British Minister of Foreign Affairs rejected the offer. Germany made more offers to the United Kingdom, which were again rejected. Finally, Germany offered a blank cheque, asking the German ambassador Lichnowski to determine how much money English neutrality would cost, but this offer was also rejected.

It was not known that Grey had made those decisions, which were discussed among the UK's highest authorities, and a week later, England declared war on Germany. Germany was trying to protect Belgium.

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