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German Militarism

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German Militarism

World War I, the Great War, the largest and bloodiest war up to that time; a war that shook that foundation of the western world and a war that was the first war to include so many countries. World War I was responsible for the destruction of four major empires and was the twentieth century's most cataclysmic event. Was this war caused mainly by one country? Was World War I caused by German? Many scholars have argued this, written articles over it, and will debate this for a long time. There are two authors that I have read that try and answer this question of Germany being the factor that started the Great War. One author, V. R. Berghahn, thinks that Germany was the main factor that started this war and he defends his stand in his article The Crisis of 1914 and Conclusions. Another author who has a completely different view than Berghahn is Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. He states in his article, The Origins of the War, that Germany was not the main cause of World War I.

In V. R. Berghahn's article The Crisis of 1914 and Conclusions, he talks about how Germany is the main cause of World War I. He starts his article off with a meeting on August 1st 1914. On this day the Kaiser of Germany signed the German mobilization order which activated the Schlieffen Plan. This plan was the German invasion of Luxemburg, Belgium, and France. Berghahn talks about the after effects of the German mobilization for a while, but then brings up the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sarajevo. He says that the assignation was the fault of the German government and their diplomacy failing. This assignation was so that Germany could break into the status of world power. He talks about the politics of this event and how it is starting to play into the rest of Europe. Berghahn brings up something called the "blank check" towards the end of him talking about the assignation. The "blank check" was something the German Kiser issued to the leader of Austria-Hungry as a sign that German would support Austria-Hungry in any action they took against Serbia. Berghahn goes on to talk about how the German government had hoped that this war of Austria-Hungry and Serbia would be a "limited war" but they weren't ready for everything to blow up and turn into full on world war. He goes on to talk about how Germany tried different diplomatic ways to settle this war before it went all out, but then when all the options had basically been run out the only thing that the Kiser had left was the power to declare war or stay at peace. Thus the Kiser declared war and started a huge world war. Berghahn defends his statement that Germany was the solo reason that World War I started.

Another author writes about this same topic of Germany being the main cause of World War I and that is Samuel R. Williamson, Jr. He writes in his article, The Origins



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