Second World War

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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 that WWI would occur sooner or later. In the absence of these long term causes, the assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand would only have resulted in a Balkanic conflict.

When the German ultimatum to Russia to revoke the Tsarist mobilization order of the previous day had been expired, the Kaiser signed the German mobilization order that was going to result in the German invasion of Luxemburg, Belgium and France.

After the Kaiser signed the order, Ambassador Lichnowsky on behalf of the British government, asked Germany not to enter French territory if England guaranteed Frances neutrality in the conflict with Russia. This caused a dispute between Hollweg (Reich Chancellor), who wanted to explore this offer, and Moltke (Chief of the General Staff), whose only concern was that of mobilization. Wilhelm II continued to hope for peace, but knowing that German strategic planning made impossible the British condition that Belgium's border remained untouched by the Germans, Moltke now pressed Wilhelm II for mobilization. Therefore Berghahn thinks that it was the men gathered at the Imperial Palace in Berlin who pushed Europe to the brink as they were in the...