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Word count: Date: 01/09/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Wars frequently begin 10 years before the first shot is fired. To what extent does this explain the outbreak of the First World War? This statement by a wide margin explains how the First World War was instigated by clusters of factors ranging from several years to a decade before 1914, the outbreak of war. The war was led by key elements; many brought about by the new German Weltpolitik policy that Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1896. It declared the mandatory requirement of any world settlements to be intervened by Germany, which in essence was the first attempt of Germany to become a world power. Other countries responded defensively, leading to the growth of colonial rivalry, increasing state of militarism which in its inevitable nature produced two key alliances. Events following these developments at that time included the Moroccan crisis in 1905. It appears to a large extent these factors contributed to conflicts of a greater magnitude, such as the Agadir Crisis and eventually the July Crisis that sparked war. However, considerations should be made as there was a strategic fog, where the intentions Germany had 10 years ago did not directly associate with those responsible for the assignation of Franz Ferdinand, hence different intentions were expressed throughout the 10 year period prior to 1914. German foreign policy dramatically shifted to pursuing a world power status in 1890, attempting to have a position on every particular event. Known as Weltpolitik, quick expansions were made in many fields, including those of colonies and the German navy. These received notable attention from other countries. The fact Germany also demand a place in the sun, whose statement was made in 1897, added to the rush of colonizing African territories by other powers such as Britain and France as by 1900, only 10% of Africa was free from colonization. Germanys abrupt growth of its navy was another reason for suspicion. It seems it would be used to safeguard its growing colonies. This suggests a small step towards greater tension, comparable to a first shot. Germanys commitment to world power took a step further. This involved a dispute between Morocco and France that was fuelled by colonial rivalry and Kaiser Wilhelms pursuit of world power. Kaiser Wilhelm exploited the nature of growing French influence over Morocco in 1905 by personally arriving at the African country and declaring an international conference to negotiate. Preceded with British involvement, the reaction ruled against Wilhelms favor, where the British profoundly supported French actions in Morocco. Wilhelm had initially hoped to create a conflict between Britain and France, resulting otherwise. The tension caused, although later elevated by a second Moroccan crisis, the Agadir Crisis in 1911, shows the risk of Weltpolitik in colonial rivalry whose element contributed to the first shot. This was made more intense as before Germany, no other countries other than Britain and France sought colonies. The growing divide of Europe into two sets of Alliances could be said as a driving force towards war, the Triple Entente and the Central powers. By 1907, the Triple Entente was formed with Britain, France and Russia, promising a variety of agreements that mutually prevented them to enter war against each other. These included settling colonial disputes, notably between France and Russia over Persia, near the Indo-Chinese Empire and alliances. These alliances, from agreements in neutrality when war broke out, escalated to the protection and assistance of each other in the event Germany attacked either one of the signatories of the alliance agreement. The nature of these alliances can be said as a key instigator 1

Word count: Date: 01/09/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Wars frequently begin 10 years before the first shot is fired. To what extent does this explain the outbreak of the First World War? in the outbreak of war as much of how the war would proceed were set in stone by these alliances. They were further logistically planned with naval agreements, which furthered assistance between the Russia and France. On the position of Britain and France, with colonial differences and moral obligations set, it was hard to not to see that these alliances calibrated the position of the first shot being fired so that it would eventually cause war. On the matter of colonies, the growing divide of views in the Balkan Wars that began in 1911 resulted in a search of colonies, instigated by Italys desire to colonize Libya from Turkey. The complications between other stakeholders including Serbia, Greece and Romania resulted in the clash against Turkey, forcing her to sign a peace treaty. The aftermath was shaped so that Austrians held great resentment against Serbia, which would later stem the assignation of Archduke Ferdinand of Austro-Hungary. The growing state of militarism is another factor that readied the states for war. Although it is not seen as a direct interaction between countries, what is certain is that European countries became more vigilant on the range and logistics of others weaponry and armed forces, making them victim to the indiscriminant fear of being physically overshadowed by others growing military forces. This is seen in the naval race between Germany and Britain on the question of Dreadnoughts. The original deviser of the powerful warship, Britain had reasonable basis to suspect Germanys intentions on their growing construction of warships. The Dreadnoughts significantly increased between 1906 and 1914, where Britain had only one and Germany having none in the beginning. The race influenced the building of more battleships, leading to 29 British Dreadnoughts and 17 German Dreadnoughts. As the German military potential was often seen in its army, the growth of its navy was a pressing concern to other countries that inevitably prepared them for the main necessity for a war; a strong military force. By and large, it seems that most long-term factors shaping the suitable nature for war was well done many years before 1914. What is intangible is their absolute connection with short-term events which constituted to an all-out war. This would be the assassination of Ferdinand in June 1914. This is uncertain due to the unusually long amount of time Austria took to demand an ultimatum which eventually led to war. However, because Ferdinands assassination is linked with conflicts in the Balkans, which can be said as contributed by the elements of imperialism and militarism, one would say that it is to a large extent that the statement, Wars frequently begin 10 years before the first shot is fired, helps explain the timeline to war, but should also be used to explain connections between long-term and short term factors.