Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
The Final Crisis Study Questions, p. 183-204
1. Describe the state of European affairs in the wake of the Balkan Wars, particularly in
Austria, Russia, and Great Britain.
a. Austrians working on diplomatic schemes to solve issues.
b. Russians tried to get to English and French.
c. Britain wanted to improve relations with Germany over Portugal’s African colonies and
Baghdad railroad.
2. Describe the Three Years’ Law and explain its significance during 1913-1914.
It raised military service from 2-3 years in France increasing size of army to counter German
growth. Germany talked of war bud did not act.
3. Explain Tirpitz and Moltke’s difference of opinion relative to the military’s
preparations for an immediate war with France and Russia (185), and elaborate on
historians’ divergent interpretation of Moltke’s responses signaling the beginning of
war planning “The War Postponed” theory.
a. Moltke- the sooner the better, its inevitable.
b. Tirpitz- navy not ready, they thought it was just a delay to war to better prepare
4. Define Mitteleuropa, and explain its significance to Germans.
Middle Europe… German dominated custom, attempt to gain control, raised tensions in
Continental Europe.
5. Why was Germany forced to support the Dual Monarchy in 1912?
Without the alliance Germany would be 1:5 or 1:4 if Ottoman Empire crumbled.
6. What did Bethmann mean when he stated that Bismarck’s quote “preventative war is
like committing suicide for fear of death,” and context, how did it relate to Germany’s
perceived obligation to support the Dual Monarchy in 1912? (187)
Preventative war is stupid and following the Dual Monarchy would eventually lead them into
preventative war.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
7. What tragic event occurred on June 28, 1914 that ultimately plunged the Continent into
war? Who took part in the plot, and what role did the Serbian government play in the
Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated. Young Bosnians working for nationalist groups “The
Black Hand” and “Narodna Odbrona” plotted. High ranking intelligence officials knew of
the plot but id not stop the assassination.
8. Explain the significance of the following (189):
A. Count Alexander Hoyos
Austrian Chief Secretary to the Foreign Minister; special envoy to Germany in early July
B. The Private letter from Franz Josef to William II
Initiated the Blank Check
C. Alfred Zimmerman’s immediate actions
German Foreign Minister
D. Count Heinrich von Tschirschky
German Ambassador to Austria-Hungary, 1907-1914. Supported a hard-line policy
against Serbia.
E. Count Ladislaus Szigyeny-Marich
Austrian Ambassador to Germany, from 1892
9. What role did Kurt Riezler play in the discussions on Austria’s response to Franz
Ferdinand’s assassination? What was his central concern?
Russia, gaining power, was a central concern.
Britain had to remain neutral to prevent war and Riezler succeeded in doing so.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
10. Define the “blank check,” describe its historical meaning, and explain the evidence that
suggests that historians have misrepresented the level of support that Germany
provided Austria relative to the “blank check” theory. (191)
Blank check was an unconditional promise of support in the amount needed.
Germany left decisions to the Austrians over the Archduke’s assassination.
No one believed Austria would act.
11. Who was General Falkenhayn and why was he significant? (192)
German general who didn’t believe Austria would do anything.
Prussian War Minister, 1913-1915
12. Who was Istvan Tisza, and what effect did he have on the discussions at the first and
second Ministerial Councils in July 1914? What impact did Austria’s ultimatum to
Serbia have on members of the Entente? (193)
Hungrian PM opposed war between Austria and Serbia.
He had to be convinced for Austria to take action.
Entente was strengthened.
13. Describe Russia’s level of preparedness for war in July 1914. Considering your,
answer, why did Sazonov take the position that he did relative to Serbia?
Russia was not prepared.
Fear of revolution, uncompleted military.
By joining Austria, Russia would abandon its support for Slavic independence.
14. Why was Russia’s planning for partial mobilization such an abject failure? How does
this demonstrate the struggle to preparing for or win a war in light of difficult political
realities? (195-6)
It was a hindrance.
This shows that the entire system fails when one piece fails.
This led the Germans to mobilize.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
15. Given the Russian defeat by the Japanese in 1905, and their utter embarassment in the
Bosnian Crisis, could Russia have afforded to take a more moderate stance in the wake
of Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia in July 1914? Explain your answer.
No they could not have taken a more moderate stance.
There was no money, military, or industry
They would abandon the Slavs leading to a diplomatic defeat.
16. Is the claim that the French instigated Russia’s mobilization for war in an effort to
reclaim the Alsace-Lorraine justifiable? Support your answer.
No, France told Russia they would support keeping Germany from splitting the Entente.
The French showed no nationalism.
17. More than anything else, what motivated French actions in 1914?
18. What role did Sir Edward Grey play in the effort to prevent Austria and Russia from
waging war against one another?
He encouraged them to come together and solve the problem.
Austria and Russia were beginning to mobilize.
19. According to many scholars, how might Great Britain have prevented the crisis from
spiraling out of control? (200) Do you agree with this assertion?
They could have prevented the crisis from spiraling out of control by stating their intentions
prior to 26 July 1914. However, I disagree and believe that war would have come sooner.
20. Explain why Bethmann worked so hard to delay the German decision to mobilize their
forces until after Russians had signed their own mobilization?
He wanted to prevent German mobilizations.
France and Britain were allies and he did not want to appear as the aggressor.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
21. List British PM Asquith’s six principles for remaining neutral and explain the
contradiction inherent to those principles.
a. no military / naval commitment to France or Russia
b. the expeditionary forces were out
c. ties to France must not be forgotten
d. France can not be wiped out
e. Germany is not a base of operations
f. Belgium can not overrun Germany
22. Describe the German actions that shifted the British attitude about war.
They invaded Luxembourg.
The British were in a treaty that Belgium was neutral.
23. In establishing the Entente Cordial, the British insisted that they had no eternal allies,
no eternal enemies, only eternal interests. Is it accurate to assert that the British
ultimately joined the war effort to protect their honor more than their interests?
Explain your answer.
Yes, they did not want to continue to appear indecisive, a sign of weakness.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
The Causes of War Questions, p. 205-214
1. Describe the impact of Germany’s invasion of Belgium in August 1914.
Germany invaded neutral Luxembourg, leading the British cabinet to promise France it
would defend its coast. The British were conflicted on this matter, whether to war or not.
Fear existed that the government would collapse. The German ultimatum followed.
2. Specifically, how did the German invasion of Belgium unify the British war effort?
What lesson can be learned from this?
The invasion permitted the Liberals to remain in power and unified British opinion. British
would fight for the protection of helpless neutrals.
3. Describe the impact of War Guilt clause, #231 of the Versailles Treaty that assigned all
the blame to the Central Powers.
No war had been so much debated as the First World War. The War Guilt clause is the
primary reason for such debate. The Germans immediately instigated a war of documents
and monographs to put the blame elsewhere.
4. According to Woodrow Wilson, why was the Great War fought?
Woodrow Wilson believed it was fought for noble motives, such as self-determination and
democracy. The war was fought against the leaders, out by 1919, and not against the people.
This produced angry disillusionment and a wave of revisionist histories in US and GB.
5. Wilson claimed that WWI was not fought against the people, but only against their
leaders. Does this sound familiar? Explain your answer.
Of course, Bush said the same of Iraq. We are not fighting the people, but against the corrupt
and murderous leadership to promote international democracy.
6. How did revisionist historians shift the blame for WWI from Germany during the
1980s? What were their chief arguments and/or assumptions?
They ignored new scholarship placing the blame solely upon Austria and Germany and were
apparently moved by Cold War issues suggesting that greater flexibility and understanding
by GB might have prevented war. Two main ideas of neo-revisionists are that Germany’s
intentions were not unappeasable aggressive and that Germans had no clear goals
incompatible with British security. One theory promotes the idea finding no fault with
German aggression, but with the reaction to it.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
7. Why does this line of thinking cause conservatives blood pressure to boil?
It would be similar to saying that the war in Iraq stems not from terrorist attacks, but from
our responding instead of cowering.
8. Describe the state of the German nation at dawn of the 20th century.
At turn of 20th century Europe, Germany was the strongest military in the world and had the
strongest and most dynamic economy in Continental Europe. In 1897, lacking naval history,
Germany began to construct a fleet in the North Sea, threatening British naval superiority.
They caused Britain to abandon its isolation policy and to enter understandings/alliances with
other nations. There was no question that Germany aimed for world power.
9. What had been Germany’s goal during the two Moroccan crises?
Germany wants to ensure Britain will be neutral if war breaks out.
In the two crises Germany tried to bully France and break ties between the French and
British. Germany continued to build warships in order to force Britain to put large sums of
money towards their own Navy.
10. According to Fritz Fischer, what were Germany’s goals for Europe?
Fischer believes that Germany wanted to conquer and dominate the European Continent from
the English Channel to the Ukraine to exploit its economic resources and use it as a base for a
world empire. Fischer used the September Program to substantiate his claims.
11. Detail the “September Program” which outlined Germany’s plan for Europe.
Three main ideas:
a. Russia must be pushed back from German frontier.
b. Russians should not rule the Slavs.
c. There must be an indemnity on France so they are unable to fight.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
The plan:
a. Germany decides to destroy French forts and calls for surrender of French bases
b. Belgium would lose territory, become a subordinate state to Germany, and become
occupied with German garrisons
c. Holland would remain independent, but as a subject of Germany. Luxembourg would be
integrated into German Empire. Germany also planned to form an economic
organization of Mitteleuropa through mutual custom agreements, which would guarantee
German economic domination of Europe.
d. Plans for the east were yet to be learned. Historians know today that Germany wanted to
impose settlements on new Bolshevik government that were included in the Treaty of
Brest-Litovsk in 1918.
12. Describe the purpose of the “Petition of Intellectuals”
It was a petition signed by theologians, teachers, artists, writers, and university professors
demanding the annexation of countries that went far beyond the extremes of the September
13. Who was Matthias Erzberger and what were his plans?
He was the leader of the Catholic Center Party in Germany. He demanded the annexation of
Belgium, parts of France, and the entire Congo. He also wanted Baltic States and Ukraine to
be converted into German dependencies and the imposition of reparations. The bill would
pay off entire German national debt.
14. Read page 210 for a good example of how to analyze interpretations for your IA.
This part of my IA has been revised and crystallized.
15. According to Kagan, are revisionist historians accurate or fair in their assertion that
Britain could have done more to prevent the Great War? Justify your answer.
No, according to Kagan it is not a fair assertion that Britain could have done more to prevent
the War. Britain made it clear from as early as 1912 that they would support France if
Germany were to attack. Britain also guaranteed Belgium as far back as 1839 and then again
in 1870 that they would not stand aside if Germany tried to attack Belgium. Britain made
their intentions very clear.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions
16. According to various factions in Great Britain, was there any reason to go to war?
If Germany had conquered the majority of Europe, as planned Britain would have been faced
with so powerful an enemy that they would have been dominated militarily and
17. Be sure you can provide a significant event for each of the following dates:
A. June 28, 1914
Austrian Archduke Ferdinand is assassinated in Sarajevo, Bosnia; powder keg of war
B. July 4, 1914
Count Alexander Hoyos, chief du cabinet to Berchtold, goes to Berlin with a memo on
Austria’s revised diplomatic plans for the Balkans, and a letter to Wilhelm II urging
Germany to retake Rumania, adding Bulgaria to triple alliance, therefore isolating Serbia.
C. July 5, 1914
Count Ladislaus Szogyeny, Austrian Ambassador to Berlin, and Kaiser Wilhelm II have
lunch to discuss letter from Hoyos. Kaiser wished to speak with Hollweg but was sure
Austria could count on Germany.
D. July 6, 1914
Kaiser Wilhelm II tells Alfred Krupp, industrialist that he will not cower from a fight.
E. July 19, 1914
A second Minstrel Council was held to carry out the first Minstrel Council; the key
purpose was to send Serbia an ultimatum demanding the Serbs launch an Austro-Serbian
committee to investigate the assassination and to make a pledge of good behavior. It was
expected that the ultimatum would be rejected and the reaction of course would be war.
F. July 22, 1914
At 6PM the ultimatum from the second Minstrel Council was delivered to Belgrade.
G. July 24, 1914
The Serbians hold Council of Ministers to debate over the ultimatum. They accept 9:10
articles and ask Austria for more time to deliberate to find a solution to article 10. They
ask for Russia’s aide and received a partial mobilization.
Brian Krohn, Period 3, Study Questions 10
H. July 28, 1914
News of Austrian declaration of war gives Russia reason to partially mobilize. Austria
fires on Belgrade.
I. July 31, 1914
Britain states it will not help France during war with Army or Navy to defend France’s
northern coast. Russians mobilize at 11:55, giving Germany an excuse to blame war on
J. August 1, 1914
The Germans demanded Russia to stop preparing for war; Russia did not comply,
therefore Germany declared war on Russia.
K. August 2, 1914
Germany invades neutral Luxembourg and Britain rejudges lack of commitment to
France. Germany gives Belgium an ultimatum. Asquith of Britain believed there was no
reason to join the war. Germany asks France to remain neutral in war with Russia and
L. August 3, 1914
Ultimatum reaches Asquith soon after and is followed by a plea of help from Belgium.
Britain sends an ultimatum to Germany demanding Belgium to remain neutral. Germany
declares war on France.
M. August 4, 1914
The British ultimatum expired and they declared war at 12:00AM.
N. August 6, 1914
Britain makes a decision to send expeditionary forces to France.