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Causes Of Wwi Essay

1207 words - 5 pages

Causes of the First World War

The twentieth century was a time period characterized by conflicting ideologies and much international disagreement. The twentieth century has spawned many unforgettable wars such as: World War One, World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam, and Operation Desert storm. For the purpose of this paper we will focus on the First World War. The genesis of WWI has been debated and there are many different interpretations especially from what side you hear it from. A very common quote that many historians find accurate and insightful about the leadership and their decisions is "They made them in fear and in trembling, but they made them nonetheless" (Stoessinger 2). ...view middle of the document...

A German historian Fritz Fischer claims that documents prove that German leadership encouraged Austria to strike Serbia quickly and has even said that “"an ultimatum to Serbia couched in such sharp terms as to make war between the two countries more than probable, and that in doing so they deliberately took the risk of continental war against Russia and France" (Fischer 5). It is apparent that by the differences listed above that Stoessinger is saying that the idea Kaiser was motivated by grief and wanted to assist in the military movements, and Fischer pushed placed blame on Germany as the aggravator who wanted to prove military superiority.
The issuance of the Austrian ultimatum and the refusal of the Serbian response was the next significant event during the July Crisis. Emperor Franz-Joseph the uncle of Archduke Franz Ferdinand refused to follow the orders given to him to mobilize. He was afraid in the danger of a Russian retaliation and was also unclear of how much German support there was available. In the end the Emperor gave into the Archduke and signed the papers to mobilize against Serbia. Historian Sydney Bradshaw Fay argues that the ultimatum was sent to Serbia "without the knowledge or approval of Franz Joseph" (Fay 253). Following this, the Austrian Chief of Staff, and Foreign Minister Count Leopold von Berchtold both felt strongly about utilizing a military force against Serbia. Yet both were concerned about how much support they would receive from the German forces, neither one really spoke up. Shortly after all the issues were worked out by the powers that be an ultimatum was sent to Serbia, the ultimatum’s purpose would most definitely be rejected by Serbia which then "he could then deal a mortal blow without fear of Russian intervention" (Stoessinger 6).
This ultimatum used terms such as “eradication of Serbian nationalist groups, the displacement of key military leaders, and the authority of Austrian’s to implement these changes.” This letter was sent on the 28th of July, that day is when Austria officially declared war on Serbia. Kaiser was vacationing on a yacht when he received the news of the declaration of war. It is interesting to see how these historians profile the Austrian leadership. It is clear that Stoessinger places almost all the guilt on Austria and point directly at the Archduke. He has also pointed out that Franz-Joseph was impaired by weakness, where he gave in when he should have put his foot down
Next in line was the actual mobilization of Russian troops to defend their ally Serbia. ...

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