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Second World War Essay

1933 words - 8 pages

Berghahn states that although all of Europe's major powers played a part in the onset of WWI, evidence still suggests that Germany's role in the process was the main factor responsible for the conflict. On the other hand, Williamson argues that the factors and conditions that led to WWI were a shared responsibility and that no nation can be blamed for its genesis. After having analyzed Berghahn's and Williamson's arguments it can be said that German military and diplomacy were somewhat responsible for causing conflict in Europe at the time, but the long term causes of WWI such as nationalism, imperialism, militarism and the alliance system (for which all powers were responsible), assured ...view middle of the document...

However, Berghahn doesn't realize that if Germany had not been carrying out strategic plans beforehand, then the British condition might have been accepted by Germany. Therefore, it was German strategic planning that led the men at the Imperial Palace to push Europe to the brink, rather than their own desires of war.Berghahn suggests that German decision-makers knew that the earlier Russian mobilization order did not have the same significance as the German one. He goes on and says that the German leadership used the Russian moves for their purposes by creating a defensive mood in the German public without which the proposed mobilization of the German armed forces might well have come to grief. Then, convinced of the entire defensive nature of Germany's policy, the leaders of the working-class movement quickly reversed their line: the demonstrations stopped and the socialist press began to write about the Russian danger. Berghahn assumes that the German mobilization had a greater significance than the Russian one, but this is not true. For Germany, the increased border security carried out by Russia was very intimidating.Fischer argues that the Reich government seized the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand at Sarajevo as an opportunity to bring about a major war that would lead Germany to have world power, that diplomacy had failed to obtain by peaceful means in previous years. However, Berghahn pushes for a more modest interpretation of why Germany had such an urge to get involved in the Balkans. Germany pushed for a strategy of local war in order to help the Habsburgs in the southeast due to the deteriorating position of the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire (Germany's only reliable ally), then under the strong pressure of the Slav independence movements. This strategy of localization was based on the idea that Russia (by not backing up Serbia), and France would stay out of the conflict. Therefore, when Russia mobilized, Germany was greatly surprised.Berghahn suggests that German officials may have fallen into the illusion of a limited war because there were many groups in German society that were not affected by the gloomsters and had hopes and expectations of a better future. However, these attitudes were not universally held and many more people believed that only a "bath of steel" would produce the necessary and comprehensive rejuvenation, especially in the sphere of politics. This point made by Berghahn and the one above about Germany's interests in the Balkans did not cause WWI, but could be used as a justification to why Germany might have found a war to be beneficial. It has to be remembered that, in any case, Germany might have been looking for a war, but not for WWI. Also, German interests in the Balkans might have been more obvious than Russian ones, but this does not mean that Russia did not have any at all. Russia did act as the Serbian protector and might have wanted to get involved in the Balkans to show other European...

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