Was Germany Primarily Responsible For WW1?
While Germany was not the only country that took part in World War One, it did have a major role in the war and its outcome. This article will examine the factors that led to Germany’s involvement in World War One, including military and political factors, and how this affected Germans’ experiences of the war. It will also discuss the Germans’ perceptions of the war, according to their class, gender, age, and location.
Militarism in Europe was a crucial force during the early twentieth century. It led to an arms race, and ultimately to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
Militarism is a belief that military power is essential to a nation’s strength. It can also refer to the incorporation of military ideas into a civilian government. During the 19th century, European thought often linked politics and economic management with military power.
After the Treaty of Versailles, Germany attempted to re-arm itself. While it started off small, by the late 1930s, the German army had become an overwhelming threat to its neighbors.
The growth of Germany’s naval power was particularly significant. As the nation began to build its armed forces, it became more expensive.
Germany was the first nation to use chlorine gas. However, the country was not the first to build a tank. By the end of the decade, France and Britain had developed their own tanks.
In addition, Germany also made gains in Poland and Belgium. These victories did not end in victory, however. Several offensives were unsuccessful.
One of the main causes of WWI was the German militarization. The Kaiser depended heavily on his generals and military council. Many politicians were Junkers, land-owning Prussian nobles.
The Spanish Civil War provided a test of the equipment, tactics, and skills that German troops had accumulated. It also gave young men the opportunity to develop survival skills and learn military techniques.
Military defeats heightened calls for more military reform. Moreover, a number of left-wing parties in Germany pushed war policies.
As a result of these efforts, the Nazis launched an ambitious rearmament program. They recruited street gangs, like the Ruhr Red Army, into private armies. The Nazi SS used paramilitary police forces to train young men in infantry combat.
German fears of ‘encirclement’
In the early stages of World War One, Germans were fearful of “encirclement” by their opponents. They were concerned that Russia would encircle them with an invasion, and that Britain and France might take over the remaining areas on the Continent.
The German government and its bourgeois classes were proud of their efforts to build an impressive naval battle fleet and land-based armies. But this was only the beginning of a war that would last nearly six years.
A series of major offensives by the enemy on the Western Front made the Germans a bit less hopeful. By the time of the Armistice in the East in late 1917, the Germans had a good defensive position, but no longer enough munitions or men to counter the Red Army’s massive counteroffensive.
A new and very expensive naval blockade by Britain prevented supplies from reaching Germany, and the country’s economy was devastated. Unemployment rose to 22 percent in August, and the harvest of 1916 was short by a million tons.
The Germans did not have to wait too long for the United States to enter the war. After the Lusitania disaster in May 1915, which killed over one thousand people, the Germans suspended U-boat warfare.
The Germans also developed a new operational concept. The “storm trooper” consisted of smaller groups led by front line officers. This strategy was a more tactical approach to warfare.
However, it was not without its problems. The munitions supply had reached its limits, and imports from neutrals could not compensate for the shortage.
Also, the Germans had to contend with a British convoy system that had a devastating effect on the economy.
German alliances with Russia and France
German alliances with Russia and France during WW1 were important factors in the course of World War I. However, their effectiveness depended on the purpose of their formation. In the pre-World War I era, Europe was a largely armed camp, as the various Great Powers maintained massive armies through compulsory military service.
Before the outbreak of World War I, there were two rival alliance blocs, the Triple Entente and the Dual Alliance. These rival alliances failed to prevent escalation toward war in the summer of 1914.
The Triple Entente, formed in 1882, included Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. They were supposed to support each other in case of war. Each partner had a share of the burden, including the responsibility for protecting its allies, defending its territories, and ensuring a smooth transition to peace.
Meanwhile, the Franco-Russian Alliance was formed in 1894. It was aimed at a two-front war against Germany. This was a thorny agreement, as both countries had different governments and political orientations.
Both countries feared being encircled, so they were promised military support in case of an unprovoked attack by their respective allies. Moreover, both countries wanted to be assured that the war would be general.
By the end of the decade, there were three major alliances in Europe: the Triple Entente, the Dual Alliance, and the French-Russian Alliance. Although there was some cooperation between these rival alliance blocs, there was little de-escalation potential in the case of war.
During the early stages of the war, Germany and Italy prepared long-held plans to attack France. But, after the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Russia mobilized its army against Austria.
German war aims during the Third Supreme Army Command
German war aims during the Third Supreme Army Command were to establish a permanent, German-dominated sphere of influence in eastern Europe. This included economic exploitation of the states in Central Europe. Its aim was to create a permanent European empire from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
During the war, a new political party, the Fatherland Party, emerged. It achieved paper membership of over a quarter of a million people in the last year of the war.
In the spring of 1918, Germany launched a major offensive on the Western Front. The battle was a success. It drove the Russians out of Eastern Russia and Russian Poland. However, it was not decisive. Allied planners had to revise their plans due to the German operation.
Although the war began with a liberal agenda, it was not realized. Instead, it was a long and bloody one. While the social and political tensions increased in the Wilhelmine society, German rulers had no idea of what the war would involve. They thought the war would be short and would end soon.
Many military men and politicians believed that the war would help Germany achieve its ambitions for colonies. Others argued that it would cut the Gordian knot in the German “world politics”.
A major domestic supporter of the war was the Social Democratic Party. They claimed that Slavs were inferior to Germans, and therefore Germany had a historic civilizing mission in the east.
German commanders and businessmen pursued the same nationalist agenda. Their policy called for ruthless exploitation of Soviet resources, and the expulsion of Soviets. These programs prepared the ideas that eventually led to the rise of the Nazis.
Germans’ experience of the war differently according to class, gender, age, location, and disposition
The experience of World War I was different for Germans according to class, gender, age and location. It also varied among the military, the ruling elite and the people.
The war started in 1914. In the first year, a large number of German men volunteered for the armed forces. But after a few months, this enthusiasm declined.
The military was forced to make major changes in its strategic concepts. A new type of tactical warfare developed. It involved running engagements, which resulted in heavy losses. These were justified by the German press, which portrayed the operation as a necessity.
The war was long and arduous. Many people suffered from the exhaustion of the war. There was an increasing demand for social reform. Family incomes deteriorated as a result. Women, who were traditionally considered the “feminine” part of wartime society, were paid less than male colleagues.
During the war, a wide array of political parties emerged. Some conservative political leaders believed that the European war would help the German Empire attain a higher status in international politics. Others believed that the war would allow for the creation of colonies.
In the east, the war was fought against Russia. By 1917, Germany had established friendly governments in many of the eastern territories it occupied. However, the Bolsheviks were still seeking an armistice. This was a major cause of tension in the Wilhelmine society.
The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk imposed harsh conditions on Bolshevik Russia. It brought Russian Poland and the Baltic states under the control of the German army.
After the German army stormed across the neutral Belgian border on its way to Paris, the war became a two-front conflict. The army lost 60,000 tonnes of materials, 127 Americans and 3,093 men.