World War One Essay Thesis

The governments of Great Britain, France, Russia, Germany, and Austria-Hungary tried desperately to ensure that they did not appear to be the aggressor in July and August 1914.Backed up by previously unknown primary evidence, this new interpretation exploded the comfortable post-war view of shared responsibility.It made Germany responsible for unleashing not only the Second World War (of this there was no doubt), but also the First – turning Germany’s recent history into one of aggression and conquest.Beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Dr Annika Mombauer explores the opposing debates about the origins of World War One.Is it possible for historians to arrive at a consensus?For the victors, this was an easy question to answer, and they agreed at the peace conference at Paris in 1919 that Germany and its allies had been responsible for causing the Great War.Based on this decision, which was embodied in Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles, vast reparations would be payable.How did Europe get from the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife to the situation at the beginning of August when Germany and Austria-Hungary were at war with Serbia, Russia, France, Belgium, and Britain?Finding the answer to this question has exercised historians for 100 years, and arriving at a convincing consensus has proved impossible.The war had not been deliberately unleashed, but Europe had somehow ‘slithered over the brink into the boiling cauldron of war’, as David Lloyd George famously put it.With such a conciliatory accident theory, Germany was off the hook, and instead of remaining a former troublesome enemy could become a potential future ally against the increasingly threatening-looking Soviet Union.

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