A War of Fear, Aggression and Evolution There are endless accounts of the Great War. Deferent views from various angles of thought. Although It seems universal that most historians agree all the participants in Europe at the time expected a short war. Tensions were rising everywhere. Public statements from Empires relating to others as well as prior conflicts had already taken a toll on most nations’ collective psyche in Europe. This greatly affected how they would plan their future strategies in foreign policy, as well as war entry. The key theme among most of the region was that the eminent war would be necessary and wife.
Winston Churchill was quoted as saying the fight would be a “cleansing thunderstorm” short and quick. How wrong he was. Having read Herring’s work I find it to be obvious that Germany acted in aggression in the year 1914, as well as in the years preceding the start of the First World War, specifically Emperor Wilhelm II whose words from the War Counsel of 1912 were full of fire and brimstone towards Britain. What was not as explicitly pointed out, and seemed apparent, was the increasing dissolution or extinction of old world empires. I believe this evolution In
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Europe had much to do with the once powerful Hapsburg Monarchy, who became the Austrian Hungry Empire, as well as the German Empire, both of whom didn’t realize they were breathing their last gasps of real breath. I contend that WWW was born of fear as much as aggression. Much like an aging boxer taking one last shot, hoping to regain the belt, but the new generation fighter has already passed him by. In 1912 Germany’s uncertainties were many. They feared the growing power of Russia. They also had the expectation of their Northern neighbor becoming an enemy who would not simply equal them. T likely pass Germany in military prowess within the next few years. Additionally it is clear that Germany, Britain, France and Italy were all suffering from bureaucratic warfare within their own boarders. This threatened to evolve into revolt, even civil war. This war was looked at as an opportunity to deviate the political infighting, and unite nations against a common foe. Germany was home to one gentleman specifically who had political aspirations and war wasn’t initially one of them. Chancellor Bateman Hollowed. Hollowed was a typical politician In that he played both sides as best as possible.
Wolfgang J Omens writes that Hollowed was against war, but the conservatives as well as some of the public felt war would be good for national character. The German General Staff also challenged Hellhole’s foreign politics. They believed that there should be war while they were in a position to win it. L Hollowed quickly realized that if events didn’t play out the way he hoped, and the General Staff was proved to be correct In their preventative plans, Hellhole’s political career would be ruined. Due to this pressure being applied Hollowed backed off; he didn’t want to look weak politically.
Although preventative war wasn’t his first goal, he saw that war was upon them, so like any good politician he played ball. Switching his philosophy to manipulating the European view on why war would begin. He argued that relations with Britain were improving and if there was war the but he needed to covertly force their hand so as to not alienate the Bruits, and European sympathy. So according to this logic Germany as a whole wasn’t looking necessarily looking to dominate the world, rather maintain their worth as a power, and specific individuals such as Hollowed looked to preserve their political clout.
This was a sign of fear, confusion and incompetent leadership that lacked a clear unified objective. 2 Hollowed should have realized this story was already written. Going back to the War Counsel in 1912, John Roll wrote that the German Kaiser Wilhelm II became incensed when he learned of the British openly stating England could not and would not stand by and allow Germany to become the premier power in Europe. This was looked at in the Kaiser’s opinion as full reason to act militarily against all enemies. He wanted to direct Austria against Serbia and prepare for war against
England. Wilhelm was convinced to delay the fight, but this was only temporary. 3 1 would like to point out that Germany struggled to compete in the world economy without taking more territory. This was an old world problem, and yet another reason the Empires were in Jeopardy of becoming extinct. Capitalism was the way of the future. The old monarchies could be ruined by a poor leader due to only one person making decisions; this leaves little room for error, whereas in capitalism a leader is impact, but can be overcome if he isn’t competent.
There is little eying that Chancellor Hollowed feared the Russians, as well as Germany’s potential downfall in Europe either militarily of economically. Kurt Riskier a trusted advisor of the Chancellor feared the weakness he correctly sensed in in Austria. Austria did war with the Balkan nation East of their border, Serbia. But they were reluctant to invoke Russian’s fury. Germany was in a tough situation. Whether they were exposed for pushing Austria into war, of if they did not support Australia’s bloodless for Serbia and consequential attack of them, Germany was to look poorly no matter what appended.
If they coerced Austria to attack they would likely earn the aggression of the Triple Entente. Now on the other hand, not aiding their last reliable ally could push Austria Hungry into the arms of Europe and doom Germany’s place in Europe. Again distress is the underlined. 4 My argument here is that Germany was constantly fearful of every action, and therefore clouded in their Judgment, and it wasn’t all fear of losing power. In reading outtakes from Reseller’s Journal it seems there was an underling of dread throughout the Country. This brings about a light of sympathy for Germany.
Instead of the evil empire plotting world domination, there is a sense of desperation to keep Germany’s sovereignty in their realm. Going further into the psyche of Germany, Wolfgang Kruse wrote about the supposed war euphoria taking place during the year of 1914. He argued that the “euphoria” was more excitement for the limited news that was available to the Folk. This was a world with no TV’s or radio; printed media was all they had. Mobs of people would wait eagerly on the arriving news, leading to large crowds that may have seemed excited but were simply noxious for news of the impending war.
This can explain the supposed excitement in the large crowds. After the war there was a real effort in Germany to write the history they deemed suitable, but the reality is, the masses didn’t find the war glorious or exciting, especially the proletariat who sent their fathers and sons off to die while there was food shortages and lack of work at home. 5 There wasn’t war Empire acting in fear. England, when realizing the ability and prowess of Germany began a policy of encirclement to contain the Germans from becoming to dominate.
The Royal Navy was threatened greatly by Germany’s Fleet. Because of this, treaties were made with Japan, France and Russia in the early sass’s. Moving on to France, they were no longer a powerhouse and relied on their alliance with Russia and England to stay in the game. Then there was the bear in the North. Russia had reason to fear Austria Hungry. The continued territorial claims by the former Hapsburg Empire threatened Russian’s ally Serbia directly, but the threat to Russia was more specifically the German Empire who allied with Austria Hungry.
Again fear laded a part in the actions of this time period. In my opinion there is no doubt Russia out of fear had a part in the assassination Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Maybe not directly, but they at least had an indirect part. It’s hard to believe that Serbia would have been so brazen as to kill the heir to the Austrian throne if they didn’t count on Russian’s support. Maybe this was a conspiracy or maybe it was simply the work of five Seers and two Russians. Either way fear of the Austrian Empire led to this event.
Of course the official word is that Serbian Nationalists killed he Arch Duke and the event was not an official attack by the nation of Serbia let alone Russia. I contend that it seems likely there was some sort of conspiracy. The biggest fear I believe Austria had was losing control of the Baltic region, and the amount of influence Russia would have in that happening. I would dare to say Austria was arrogant, ignorant and fearful. Arrogant because they failed to accept the growing capitalistic tendencies of the world and ignored the effect it would have on them.
They seemed ignorant to the ever changing social norms in the world. As immunization became better, and as trade expeditions continued, different cultures influenced the proletariat in most empires. Citizens began wanting better lives; more control in their daily affairs, and more of a representative government, even if they didn’t fully understand what that entailed. The Dual Monarchy in Austria Hungry was holding on to old world philosophies that without WWW I believe there would have been violent revolt.
Proof of this argument lies in the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. This was also evident in Russia, and even in Great Britain. The general nonsense that this war would be quick also helped led to the fall of a couple old Empires. With no-one preparing for a long fight, economies and industrial bases were depleted. Alfred von Schaeffer was quoted in saying “in an age in which the existence of nations is based on the uninterrupted progress of trade and commerce, a strategy of exhaustion is impossible when the maintenance of millions necessitates the expenditure of billions. The single most significant reason the war was long and hard was the somewhat complicated and interconnected set of loyalties shared among nations. For instance France and Austria Germany would not stop fighting no matter the losses. They had the assurance that their respective allies would come to their aid so it was their responsibility to hold out as long as possible. Problem here is that their allies in Russia and Germany would have to focus on each other to win military, but they would suffer politically in not coming to the aid of their allies. This all summed up to a long and bloody war that nobody seemed to have planned for. I believe it can be argued that most of the nation’s involved in the initial start of the means to avoid social issues at home with their citizens, and unite their people against a common foe against a ruling class that maybe didn’t represent their needs well. There is no doubt that each nation in 1914 had fears leading to individual actions in which helped to bring about the Great War. The most significant player in all of this was Germany. The German Empire manipulated Austria into an aggressive war in convincing them they were in the right and had Germany’s full support.
This manipulation was in essence Germany fighting a preventative war. They believed hey were pre-emptying Russia and protecting their nation from the growing power the Russians represented. The assassination in Sarajevo was the opportunity Germany had been looking for, the spark to play out their plan to war which had been decide in 1912, but put off so to rally the Folk to the cause. Germany hoped to make the war look to be Russian’s fault. They pushed the Austrian to attack Serbia by feeding into their desire for retribution. The assassination in Sarajevo was the perfect catalyst.
Germany knew Russia would come to the aid of Serbia. This would vive the Empire the war against Russia and France they wanted. France was weak and Russia needed to be attacked before they became too strong militarily. In formulating this plan Chancellor Hollowed needed to make Germany’s response look to be defensive against Russian manipulation. This would ensure the support of all the German citizens and give Germany its chance to neuter Russian now before they were the dominate force in the region. Germany didn’t plan on Britain entering the war, but Britain wasn’t going to let France fall.