essay concerning the causes of world war one

Essay by ncolemanUniversity, Bachelor'sB-, March 2003

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In the immediate view, it seems that there are two main arguments attributed to the origins of the First World War. One is that the war was planned, the other that it occurred due to accident and miscalculation. I aim to give a detailed analysis of these two arguments with the focus being on the main European powers at the time - Germany, Great Britain, France and Russia.

It is my view that the First World War was effectively planned, all be it for a later date, and that due to some miscalculations, it was then brought forward so that war would break out in Europe in August 1914. Using sources from various historians, I will argue this point of a planned war blaming it almost solely on the part of the German Empire and bringing in the other side of the argument, that the First World War was the result of accident and miscalculation.

The most important idea in the argument that Germany planned the First World War is to be found in the Foreign Policies that she pursued from the late Nineteenth Century to the outbreak of war in 1914. It was the view that no matter how achieved, a German dominated Europe would provide a successful base for the ideal of Weltpolitik. This idea of Weltpolitik was the aim at the head of the hierarchy of German Foreign Policy; it gave the notion of a world mission, but an aggressive one, a mission where no man or nation would stand in the way of its objectives.

The key point when describing German Foreign Policy before 1914 is of their willingness to risk war for their own gains in order to achieve world domination and...