‘The Outbreak Of War In Europe In 1914 Was Due To An Aggressive German Foreign Policy Which Had Been Waged Since C.1900.’

974 words - 4 pages

‘The outbreak of war in Europe in 1914 was due to an aggressive German foreign policy which had been waged since c.1900.’

How far do you agree with this opinion?

It has been a matter of controversy whether Germany went to war with aggressive or defensive intentions. Source V seems to be of the opinion that Germany went to war solely for defensive reasons due to the extensive amount of alliances that encircled her as well as diplomatic tension. On the whole, Source W seems to take the opposite approach deeming how Germany’s aggressive actions since the turn of the century resulted in war. Source X expresses that there is great controversy but points towards the fact that Germany had always ...view middle of the document...

Therefore, this portrays how Germany’s intentions were not entirely defensive. Indeed the source goes on to reiterate how ‘the 1913 Army Bill...had in part been a response to the tension in the Balkans’. Although there was considerable ‘tensions in the Balkans’ due to the immense tension between Serbia and Austria- Hungary due to Serbia’s interests in annexing the Balkans, it is not safe to say that the Army Bill in 1913 was entirely as a result of that. Nonetheless, it could still be argued how these military expansions were solely defensive due to Germany’s paranoia that ‘her internal and external enemies...wanted to destroy them’.

However, despite these assumptions made in Source V that Germanys’ military plans were mainly defensive, Source W and part of Source X argues how the outbreak was a result of an aggressive foreign policy that originated from the turn of the century. Source W mentions how ‘German actions going back to the 1890’s’ had done much to create tension. This is supported by evidence that Germany had an expansion policy. For example, in the 1902 Boer wars, Germany supported the Dutch rather than the British in the hope they will divide the land they conquer with Germany. Her actions in the Morocco crises further aggravated Britain both in 1904 and in 1907. This links in with part of Source X, which states that ‘the German plan was to unleash a continental war’. The expansion policy was initiated by Chancellor Von Bismarck who followed it extensively, however ‘Bethmann-Hollweg was faced with reaping the whirlwind sown by his predecessors’ and so there was no way going back for him. This counter-argues the view that Germany were aggressive leading up to 1914, especially as they did not comprehend that it...

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