MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

154 views

To what extent was Germany responsible for the outbreak of the First World War

This is a classic longer essay question. There was been long and varied debate amongst historians as to why the First World War broke out. 

The standard list of reasons for the outbreak of the First World War includes: The alliance system, developments in the Balkans, the arms and naval race, a Germanic bid for World-power status and the blank cheque given to Austria-Hungary. These can simply be evaluated and one assigned a greater prominence than the others. But a higher level answer must take into consideration the historiography behind this question.

Immediately after the First World War there was a consensus that Europe had 'slithered over the brink' into war and it was no one nation in particular's fault. This cosy consensus was disrupted by a German historian Franz Fischer who argued that Germany was primarily responsible. Disrupting the existing system in a bid for world power. This led to a much wider historiographical debate amongst those who accepted Fischer's thesis and those who rejected it from the 1960s. This led to debate between those who, although they accept German guilt in starting the war, argue over whether it was a deliberate attempt to start a war, to stop their own encirclement. Or if it was a miscalculation. The first are developing the Fischer thesis, whereas the second, led by Andreas Hillgruber, are changing it in a crucial way. The centenary of the outbreak of war also led to the publication of many works. Christopher Clark harks back to Lloyd George, laying emphasis on developments in the Balkans that drew all the Great Powers towards war.

Although the density of all this work, and this is ony a portion of it, can seem very daunting it should be remembered that all of the schools are working from the same basic factors listed at the beginning of this explanation. Students need an awareness of the outline of this debate, but should avoid getting bogged down in it. Focus on the root causes and then apply them to a historiographcal context.

James W. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature tu...

4 months ago

Answered by James, an A Level History tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

80 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£22 /hr

Hannah W.

Degree: Biology (Bachelors) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: History, Music+ 5 more

History
Music
Maths
English Literature
English Language
Chemistry
Biology

“Hi I'm Hannah and I am a Biology student at Bristol University. I have always loved the sciences, especially Biology and Chemistry but I am also passionate aboutcreative subjects such as Music and English.  I completely understand how...”

£22 /hr

George M.

Degree: History (Bachelors) - Oxford, Balliol College University

Subjects offered: History, Religious Studies+ 3 more

History
Religious Studies
French
.HAT.
-Personal Statements-

“About me:I am a history student at Balliol College, Oxford. I love almost all humanities, especiallyHistory and RS (Philosophy, Ethics and Theology). I hope that our sessions will help me share my enthusiasm and interest!I am v...”

£20 /hr

Tsiona L.

Degree: History (Masters) - Edinburgh University

Subjects offered: History, History of Art+ 6 more

History
History of Art
English and World Literature
English Literature
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“Hello! My name is Tsiona, I'm studying my Master's in History at the University of Edinburgh. I have always loved history, talking through ideas and getting a clear understanding of the past. I am very friendly and patient, I love meet...”

MyTutor guarantee

About the author

James W.

Currently unavailable: for new students

Degree: History (Doctorate) - Bristol University

Subjects offered: History, English Literature+ 3 more

History
English Literature
.HAT.
-Oxbridge Preparation-

“I am an Mphil student in History at the university of Bristol and have an interest in modern British and world history,anything from 1750 onwards, but although not where my specialism is, I can and often do go earlier. My undergraduat...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level History questions

To what extent was Stalin’s leadership the most significant reason for Soviet victory during the Great and Patriotic War?

Why did the Grand Alliance fail after WWII?

Assess the view that the military planning of the great powers, rather than their long-term rivalries, better explains the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

How should I structure a history essay?

View A Level History tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok