German view: Causes of WW I

Since Germany is a newly united country, the Great Powers cannot blame it for causing the Great War. Germany is weak and helpless, diplomatically developing, not to mention the economic and social developing aspects. Coming back to the issues of causing the World War One, one must bear in mind that the real oppressors behind this game were France, Britain and Russia. Their alliances, imperialist views and actions were disruptive in the preservation of peace. So when one looks at the causes of World War I, one should first look at France or Britain or Russia, before starting to blame Germany.

The Franco-Prussian(sometimes called German) War, which started in 1870 and ended in 1871 had two main consequences: the creation of the Third Republic in France and the Unification of German States under Prussian Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Since Germany won the war, it gained Alsace and Lorraine, which angered the French and aroused deep longing for revenge. Although Germany did not want the land, because she knew it would anger the French, it was agreed in the Treaty that she should have it.

The Dreikeiserbund (League of the Three Emperors) was formed between Germany, Austria-Hugary and Russia in 1872, which was originally devised by Bismarck. The plan was to neutralize Austria-Hungary and Russia, due to the disagreements in the Balkans. The second aim was to preserve the isolation of France, Germany’s top enemy. The Dreikeiserbund made Germany and Bismarck happy, since now the power was balanced and peace could be held between most of the Great Powers.  After the first Three Emperors’ League (1872 – 78) collapsed, Bismarck succeeded in renewing it (1881, 1884). As well as those, the Reinsurance Treaty was signed in 1887 between Russia and Germany, but after Wilhelm II’s rise to power, Bismarck was fired and the Treaty was not renewed. This led to Russo-Franco alliance. This alliance was the real sign for trouble, as it would have a devastating effect on Germany, in case of war. Russia would attack from the East and France from the West, putting Germany in a tight stop, as they would have to have to fronts to fight.

In order to unite French people under republican government, and to prevent the Franco-Russian alliance,  Germany created the ‘War in sight crisis’ where Bismarck announced that Germany might attack France. This was an extreme diplomatic maneuver, as it was risky, but powerful enough to work. Germany got what it needed, the royalist government was suppressed and the similarities between Russian and French governments were averted.

After seeing Britain protest against the San Stefano Treaty, Bismarck took action: by organizing the Berlin Congress in order to prevent any war to brake lose, he was able to satisfy all besides Russia.

One of the main signs of war came from Britain in 1906, when the Royal Navy launched the HMS Dreadnought. Since Germany was building its naval force, Britain immediately felt weak and under attack. Germany needed its naval force for the sake of protection in Africa and Asia, where her ships were doing trade business. After the launch of the great war ship by Britain, Germany knew that they were not only doing this for the sake of protection, but also war.


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