Why do people believe that Germany started World War I.
Who was actually to blame for the First World War? A question that is very difficult to answer because the connections were more than complicated. If it is only a matter of who declared war first, then both the German Reich and Austria-Hungary were to blame. Because they declared war on the other nations first.
Above all, the Germans violated the neutrality of a country like Belgium. This is also undisputed in research. However, all other nations were not entirely innocent of the development, at least that's how many historians see it today.
Historians quarrel over the question of war guilt
Even today, historians argue about the question of war guilt. While the war guilt was almost exclusively attributed to Germany for a long time, that has now changed. Because you have to look pretty carefully at what the situation in Europe and the world looked like around 1914 - shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.
The disaster was already looming
In many countries people had been waiting for a catastrophe of war for a long time. Threats and recurring crises that could have triggered a war had already existed in previous years. But up to this point in August 1914 a military conflict could still be averted.
Many thought the war would be over soon
Nobody could really imagine how such a war would develop at the beginning of the 20th century, because people had lived in peace for many years, at least in Europe. So many military in the German Reich - and not only this - thought that the war would be over after a few battles and that it would not be that bad.
Many Germans said they would defend their homeland
If you look closely at the current events in July and August 1914, you can definitely say "the events have rolled over". Ultimately, every country felt that it was right, that it felt attacked and that it had to defend itself. In his speeches, Kaiser Wilhelm II conveyed to his people that the Germans would only defend themselves. That was of course not true, but that made the masses enthusiastic. Many believed that they would defend their homeland, their families and, of course, their country.
Even the Social Democrats voted for war
Even the Social Democrats, who were actually always against the war, finally agreed to the war in the Reichstag. Even if there were individual voices within the Social Democrats who questioned this enthusiasm for the war, they officially stood behind the Kaiser, who then also said: "I don't know any political parties anymore, I only know Germans!"
But the other participating nations also believed they were in one Defensive war. That didn't improve the situation. An English politician once put it this way: "None of the leading men actually wanted the war. They kind of slipped into it, or rather, they stumbled and stumbled into it, perhaps out of folly".
Or did the German Reich consciously accept the war?
But not everyone sees it that way. Because there are many historians who were and still are of the opinion that the German military was consciously heading towards the First World War and wanted to do so in order to demonstrate the superiority of the German Reich to the other nations. The exaggerated nationalism and the belief in the "superiority of the German essence" was an essential driving force for the First World War.
A fateful folly that cost the lives of millions of people, brought endless suffering to the civilian population and, many years later, brought about the next catastrophe of the 20th century: the Second World War.
A good summary of the World War One theme can also be found at www.helles-koepfchen.de
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