‘Made in St Petersburg’. Discuss this assessment of the outbreak of general European war in 1914.
The spark that led directly to the outbreak of war was the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. The events that took place in Europe prior to 1914 have to be focused upon as being pivotal motives in the outbreak of war. Russia deeply influenced and played a key role in the outbreak of World War One, but it is difficult to say she was the sole cause. The different alliance groups, Nationalism, economic stability, domestic tensions and the divergent Foreign Policies in the Central European countries were collectively the reasons that ...view middle of the document...
With the initial breakdown of the Turkish Empire in 1914, the hostility between Berlin and St Petersburg reached a climax. Yet once the war was imminent in 1914 ’the Russians nor any of the other Powers believed it in their best interest to see what was left of the Turkish Empire being partitioned between them.’
Yet once war broke out Russia still would have liked to secure the Turkish straits and increase their Polish territory at the expense of Germany and Austria-Hungary. This may not have been a plausible reason for Russia at the time to mobilise her army but it was a definite part of Russia’s war aims.
The Serbian Crisis however, was more fundamental in the assessment of the outbreak of war. Serbia, to which Russia felt she owed responsibility to defend the Pan’ Slav Movement and the German ‘blank cheque’ offered to Austria-Hungary ensued the partial mobilization of Russia’s army. Russia was in fact the first country to mobilize her army which in essence accelerated the outbreak of war.
‘Russia’s declaration of mobilization severely foreshortened possible diplomatic intervention from London which might have changed Germany’s course.’ Arguably, London’s involvement in foreign affairs was slow and vague. Intervention from Britain was not relied upon, as their neutrality was questioned. Russia’s mobilisation did accelerate and add tension to the outbreak of war but Britain’s intervention may not have been sufficient enough to deter war. The German Government did encourage and in fact desired an Austro-Serb conflict which they knew would lead to war. Additionally Russia’s mobilisation was a means to pressure Vienna into backing down and was by no means a replacement for war since the soldiers could have been stopped by the borders.
Russia did not fully comprehend the consequences of mobilising her army and this was due to the lack of communication of the autocratic government. Nicholas II’s thirst for total control led to a severe lack of communication between cabinet ministers and officials. This took its toll when Danilov mobilised Russia’s army without consulting any of the war ministers.
‘Made in St Petersburg’ is therefore effective in the sense that once Russia mobilised her forces, Germany declared war. Arguably though, other factors came into play with the onset of World War One.
France, another member of the Entente is questionably a minor player in the events that led up to and instigated the outbreak of a general European War. France shared a long standing hostility towards Germany. The Dual Alliance coupled with their Entente status [i]‘ provoked rather than deterred Germany and thus helped render the diplomatic situation in Europe more perilous.’ The events that led up to 1914 for France were relatively minor in the onset of World War One, it is 1914 itself that was important. France’s alliance and support for Russia detrimentally encouraged a war rather than...