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The Outbreak of the First World War Was Primarily Due to Aggressive Germany Foreign Policy

  • Date Submitted: 12/29/2015 09:34 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 49.6 
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“The outbreak of war in Europe was due to an aggressive German foreign policy which had been waged since 1900”
How far do you agree with this opinion? Explain your answer using the evidence of sources V, W and X and your own knowledge.
The outbreak of war in Europe was very much due to an aggressive German foreign policy. The Navy Laws alongside the war council openly portrayed aggression towards foreign powers. Nevertheless, there were other factors that subsequently led to the outbreak of war.
Source V indicates that Germany felt encircled and threatened both internally as well as externally. Within Germany the rise of socialism was becoming ever more increasing, with the SPD’s being the largest party in the Reichstag with 110 seats. Additionally externally Germany was surrounded by the triple entente (France, Britain and Russia). Berghahn’s view is that the Kaiser was protecting Germany’s own interests as he saw them. Therefore Berghahn is disagreeing with the title quote. It was a defensive Germany foreign policy not one of outright aggression. Although German was aggressive it was a form of reactive aggression and could be seen as a policy of self-preservation.
Blackburn in source W seems to both agree and disagree with the title quote. He disagrees because he suggests that Germany “would have preferred to have got what they wanted without going to war”, in other words he is stating that Germany had peaceful intentions. However, Blackburn goes on to argue that Germany was an aggressor, and that the Germany Navy leader (Tirpitz) bore heavy responsibility. Tirpitz was pro large Navy and raced with Britain to produce large Battles ships called dreadnaughts, alongside the navy laws they showed open aggression towards Britain in the attempt to have a stronger navy.
In Source X, John Moses states that Germany was clearly aggressive, “to unleash a continental war”. In other words, Germany was instigating a major war, but for Moses this aggression doesn’t stem...

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