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The Causes of the WWI

The Balance of Power in Europe was disrupted by Germany, and by Turkey in the Balkans. The alliances played a roll in making the Balkans the powder keg it became, but they weren’t binding. No state went to war without a self-interest, without something to gain on it themselves.

Was Germany guilty?
The growth of Germany’s industry led to the growth of the scialist movement. Wilhelm’s “Weltpolitik” seems to have been motivated by a desire to rally the growing number of industrial workers behind the emperor. This in order for them not to support the SPD (Sozialistische Partei Deutschlands) and the Trade Union.
All this can be seen as a way to try to neutralize the socialist threat to the domination position that the Junkers held in German politics.
According to the Fischer Thesis, this domestic motive only continues into war. Germany wanted a war also a way for Wilhelm and the Junkers to stay in control. Thus the war is only an extension of the Weltpolitik.

Was France guilty?
France was the architect behind the encirclement of Germany using the alliance with Russia, and she would never accept the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. By 1914, president Poincarré changed attitude towards Russia. All of a sudden, Paris would now support the Tsar instead of stopping him when he wanted to act against the Austrians.

Was Russia guilty?
The Tsar had domestic problems; a growing wave of strikes and protests against his government would have motivated him to have the population focus on a foreign foe. In essence the Tsar wanted to go to war in order to rally the people behind him.
The Russians mobilization plan caused German reactions, and the support Russia gave to Serbia made the bold enough not to fully accept Austria’s ultimatum.

Was Austria-Hungary guilty?
Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum was most likely designed to create a war with Serbia. Because of the blank cheque Germany had given her, she went ahead and attacked Serbia regardless of the consequences.
She clearly wanted a war, as her position as a Great Power was weakening.

Was Serbia guilty?
Serbia was proud, bold and consciously provoked Austria-Hungary with her attacks.