The Great World History Debate:
“Were German Militarism and Diplomacy Responsible for World War I?”
The World War I, among other significant historical events, is the most deliberated event of the 20th century. Indeed, it is accredited to changing the course of the world's history giving it a new dimension to ponder on for the next centuries. Rise of communism, one of the world's most controversial ideologies, was linked to the catastrophic episode. Nonetheless, powerful empires like Austria, Turkey, Russia and Germany saw their rise and fall in communism. In addition, the war resulted to the most number of deaths and annihilation compared to other cataclysmic events in ...view middle of the document...
From his point of view, Berghahn categorically state that World War I had its genesis in Europe. He rightly presents that Europe's top powers like France, Britain, Austria-Hungary, and Russia had a hand in the war especially at the onset. However, Germany, overshadowed the others. Berghahn support his claims with three arguable reasons: one, Germany longed to engage in war years preceding 1914. Two, revenge for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Three, Germany formed an alliance with Austria-Hungary following the murder.
In support of these reasons, Berghahn considered the status of Europe before the war. He found that the region showed unprecedented years of peace and serenity. Then comes the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in July 1914, and Germany visualizes a profound opportunity to wage war against other countries. The opportunistic motive on the side of Germany, Berghahn asserts, was steered by the need to transform Germany both politically and economically. Evidently, Berghahn states, "After all, over the past two decades the country had seen a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity. German technology, science, and education, as well as the welfare and health care system, were studied."
Moreover, to cement the notion that German military strength, as well as diplomatic prowess, played a huge part in lighting the war, Berghahn present a queer belief by Germany about societal progress. Accordingly, war is a necessary and sufficient tool for progressing a society when other means are deemed inefficacy. Therefore, Germany accorded Austria-Hungary all the support, military and otherwise, to wage war against Serbia. In addition, Germany crafted a strategy for Austria-Hungary to apply after defeating Serbia; where they would form an alliance (Austro-Serbian Alliance). When Russia offered to help Serbia due to their alliance, Germany was quick to wage war on her thanks to their military might.
Another evidence in support of German diplomacy was the fact that, in the dying moments the war paid more attention to foreign policy than political indifferences. Brittan, France and Russia sought to form a strong alliance as a retaliatory move against Germany. Berghahn wrote, ""With Germany's commercial treaties coming up for renewal in 1916, the Tsar was expected to do to the Reich what Bulow had done to Romanov Empire in earlier years."
However, Professor Williamson differs sharply with Berghahn's stance that only one country was perpetrator of the crisis. He contests that major European empires played a big part in it. He agrees that Germany played a bigger part than the rest, but that is not ample substantiation to name it as the main protagonist. "The legacy of Germany's bombastic behavior, so characteristic of much of German Weltpolitik and Europolitik after 1898, also meant that Berlin was thoroughly mistrust." In the light of this quote by Williamson, it was clear Germany fueled things but neither her...