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On June 28th 1914 in Sarajevo, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria- Hungary and his wife were assassinated by a Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip. Even though Franz Ferdinand was only a moderate his death was known as what sparked the First World War. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian Government and received the "blank cheque" from Germany, which outlined Germany's support for Austria Hungary and any decisions or actions they made. Austria-Hungary sent an ultimatum to Serbia which they accepted on July 25th. Then on July 28th Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Soon war erupted throughout all of Europe.
You must die. Long live Serbia!!
Years after the war, many formed opinions as to who or what was responsible for its outbreak.
Everyone has drawn the conclusion that Germany is responsible for the war; I disagree. It is more complex and it is a blend of "imperialism, militarism and alliances that pushed Europe into war"(Fay). The alliances between nations such as France and Britain or Austria-Hungary and Germany, had created a divide in Europe and both sides continued to build up greater military strength. Eventually this tension burst and since there were alliances in place, individual countries such as Germany felt they had to support those they were allied with. Also great powers like Austria- Hungary wanted to conquer more territory and gain more power as did many imperialist governments in Europe which added to the cause of war.
I disagree with your opinion Sir! The sole cause of the war is one country: Germany. This country was going through a decline economically and politically. "A successful war of expansion would solve these problems and was therefore plotted and encouraged..."(Fischer). Germany needed the war to gain the power and influence they had lost. Their actions during the July crisis such as the blank cheque gave support to Austria Hungary who would eventually go to war with Serbia. Another action was the Schlieffen plan which detailed Germany's attack on France who up until that point had no involvement in the war. This goes to prove that Germany indeed wanted war and caused it.
Germany did play a part in the war but they were not to blame. You even said Germany wanted a war of expansion. Instead of blaming Germany blame imperialism and the many countries in Europe that formed rivalries because of their thirst for power.
I agree with elements of both of your arguments. But I think something we can all agree on is that the war could have been avoidable. "Had different personalities been in positions of authority in July 1914, there may have never been a war"(Stoessinger). In the end it was the individual decisions of people in power that led to the outbreak of World War I. Misconceptions and mistakes such as the Schlieffen plan by Germany and the ultimatum given by Austria-Hungary had all played a role in the July crisis and how leaders mishandled the situation.
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