Who Caused WWI : Historian`s Debate

Who Caused WWI : Historian’s Debate
Collective Responsibility
The theory that all the Great Powers were to blame for the war.
“Germany did not plot the war… a casualty of its alliance with A-H. AH… acting in self-defence against the expansion of Serb nationalism.
Serbia… believed that it would be forced to fight. Russia partly
responsible… encouraged Serbia and mobilised troops. France can be
blamed… for support in Russia. Britain… did hardly anything to restrain
Russia or France.” (Fay)
Historians who argue this theory:
Sidney Fay, G.P. Gooch, Gerhard Ritter
Germany’s fault
Germany planned the war to become a greater power, encouraged A-H to
war with Serbia, they had a clear set of aims that would give territorial
Historians: Fritz Fischer (Immanuel Geiss, Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Jurgen
Kocka – supporters)
It was a defensive German war
Germany didn’t cold-bloodedly plan the war, they just were trying to
defend and, if possible, expand their territory and a lot of their bluffs
didn’t work.
Historians: Egmont Zechive, Karl Erdmann
It grew because of the alliance system
The alliance system, which was supposed to help peace, turned a local
quarrel into a general war. OR The lack of a fully effective balance of
power – not it’s existence caused the war.
Historians: Bernadette Schmitt, A.J.P. Taylor, James Joll
Arms race, military and war plans
A view that the arms race (escalation of) brought about the war. There
were also military aims and a want for a balance of power. There is also a
theory where the military planners who caused the fast-mobilisation are
to blame.
Historians: Michael Howard, Niall Ferguson, LFC Turner, AJP Taylor
This view argues that WWI grew from the struggle between Slav
nationalism and A-H and the other powers were dragged into a third
Balkan war. However there is also belief that the Balkans caused the
occasion of war, but was not the cause.
Historians: Martel, Joachim Remak, John Leslie, John Jowe
That WWI was caused by the imperial rivalry and the growth of empires.
However, these claims have never been fully backed, as there is not
enough evidence to support that there would be economic growth as a
result of the war.
Historians: Marxist writers, Vladimir Lenin
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