To what extent should Germany be held responsible for causing both the First and Second World Wars?
It has long been argued by historians whether or not Germany is to blame for causing both the World Wars. This essay will examine to what extent was Germany responsible for causing both the First and Second world wars. On one side, it is argued that Germany’s expansionist aims brought about both the World Wars, whereas on the other side, it is said that Germany should not be held responsible for either of the World Wars because of the context both pre-war times. In focus, this essay will assess Germany’s expansionist policies (Weltpolitik for WWI, Lebensraum for WWII) led to the World Wars, and in contrast, examine the role of the alliance system in causing WWI, and instability of the inter-war period for WWII. It will then be conclusively argued that Germany should be held responsible for the First world war to a large extent, whereas only to a limited extent for Second World Wars.
Germany was responsible for the WWI because Germany wanted a war to achieve its expansionist aims (weltpolitik) and deliberately caused it. This aggressive policy brought about the war because it was responsible for several major diplomatic crises that would eventually lead to war. Examples of these crises are the First Moroccan crisis of 1905-6, the Bosnian crisis of 1908-9, and the Second Moroccan Crisis of 1911. In detail of the First Moroccan Crisis, Germany’s Weltpolitik (world policy) made the German’s dissatisfied with its exclusion from world affairs thus intervened when France was given a free hand in Morocco. This example clearly shows that the provocative and deliberate aims of Germany’s expansionist world policy, inevitably led to the atmosphere of mutual antagonism in Europe which made diplomatic maneuvers for peace impossible and therefore, paved the way for war. Furthermore, Germany’s desire for war is reflected in the blank cheque given to Austria-Hungary following the Sarajevo assassination. These examples demonstrate that Germany was indeed greatly responsible for World War One. The argument that Germany provoked the war into existence as a result of its foreign policy of territorial expansion as means of European domination is advocated strongly by such intentionalist historians as Fritz Fischer and Immanuel Geiss.
The Essay on Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War One” How appropriate and sufficient is this as
4. "Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War One" How appropriate & how sufficient is this assertion? Many historians have disputed over the origins of World War I, who started it, who is to blame for the outbreak of the war? And there are no accurate answers to the questions. To support the statement "Germany was responsible for the outbreak of World War I" to a full extent is ...
However, it is argued by other historians that the Alliance system of the prewar period was to blame for setting the ground work for the First World War. The Alliance system bound one nation to another and thus forced a local conflict to become a major war. For instance, should Russia find itself at war with Austria-Hungary and Germany, France is obligated by the Franco-Russian Military Convention of 1892 to give military assistance to Russia. Thus when Austria-Hungary decided to go into war with Serbia, Germany, France and Russia were pulled into the fray; reluctantly or willingly. This example clearly demonstrates that the obligations of the Alliances bound the European Powers into a major war that would otherwise have been local. Historians such as Williamson and Schmitt argue that the existence of the alliance system “ensured that the conflict would become a wider war”. Yet, in this sense, the Alliance system of the prewar period only served to increase the magnitude of the war but was not a cause of it. Therefore, Germany should still be held responsible for the cause of WWI.
The Alliance system developed because the past tensions between the major powers, it is believed that these were nationalism, imperialism and militarism which are the push factor for the formation of the Alliances. The alliance development was the idea of Bismarck, who saw a solution to maintain peace throughout Europe, where all powers mutually benefit and protect the newly unified Germany ...
In summation for WWI, Germany was inarguably to a great extent responsible for WWI because the nation wanted the war, and through its expansionist goals, got it. Despite that there were other factors involved, such as the alliance system; Germany is still much more responsible for causing WWI.
As for the Second World War, Germany is again, responsible because Germany still followed a foreign policy of military expansionism. Although the expansionist goals of Germany was somewhat altered by Hitler from colonial expansion to an expansion that focused in the Eastern direction in Europe (towards Russia), the central aims were still intact: to enlarge Europe territorially, which would in turn boost the economy and population of Germany thus claiming itself as the major European Power. This aggressive policy is called Lebensraum. Again, such a policy provoked various crises that would lead Europe into war. Although it might not have been a world war, it was nevertheless a war, one that was necessary for a world war to happen. An example of Lebensraum is the invasion of Poland of 1939. The Polish September Campaign depicts more clearly Germany’s military expansionist aims and how it brought about the war. Historians that support the view that Germany, with its intention for war and expansionist aims, directly caused WWII are Sontag and Hildebrand. This undeniably portrays Germany’s responsibility for WWII.
On the other hand, it is said that despite Hitler’s expansionist aims, Germany was not entirely to blame for the outbreak of WWII. By blaming Germany, consideration for the context of the international inter-war period is being neglected. The sheer economic and political instability gave ground for dictatorial regimes to rise into a position of power. For instance, as a result of the Great Depression, Germany saw an increasing rate of unemployment that was second only to the US. This bolstered the membership of the Nazi party in Germany, which was losing favor before the economic crisis hit Germany, thus leading to the rise of Hitler. Furthermore, as a result of political instability, Japan saw its military into power, thus empowering a view of military expansionism in the nation. Thus it can be simply said that the instability of the international system during the inter-war period led to the rise of such dictators as Adolf Hitler, who would take offensive actions that would lead to WWII. Therefore, it can be argued that if the international situation during the inter-war period was concretely stable, a WWII would not have happened. This shows that it was solely the instability in Europe that caused WWII and thus much of Germany’s burden for causing WWII is reduced.
In Germany during WWII many things were going on in the economy, the social problems and with the politics. Germany was unstable and wanted to explode upon the world. Most of the people that were German citizens were very against the jews. Probably due to all the propaganda. Also during the war the armies caused food shortages because an army runs on its stomach. Hitler made many discriminative ...
In conclusion, Germany’s war guilt for the two world wars was examined individually. For the First World War, as said by Lewis Namier, Germany wanted the war, prepared for it, and went for it. Therefore, Germany is to a large extent responsible albeit other contributing factors such as the alliance system. As for the Second World War, Germany was responsible to only a limited extent. Germany did cause the war through its expansionist goals, however, without the instability of the international system during the inter-war period; those aims would not have been carried out. Hence, Germany should be held responsible to a large extent for WWI and a more limited extent for WWII.