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To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War? Free essay! Download now

Home > GCSE > History > To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War?

To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 307 | Submitted: 05-Apr-2011
Spelling accuracy: 95.1% | Number of pages: 1 | Filetype: Word .doc


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To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War? essay preview

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To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War?

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To what extent was Britain responsible for causing the First World War?

Britain and Germany’s naval race – Britain had been known as having the strongest, largest naval programme in the world at the start of the twentieth century. However, when Germany attempted to strengthen their navy to compete with the British, tension arose between the two great powers. This, the increasingly adverse trade balance between the two nations and the fact that the Germans had condemned Britain’s methods used to win the Boer war, meant the British had developed a very anti-German attitude. This meant that an alliance was very unlikely to occur between Britain and Germany hence why Britain instead joined the Triple Entente. However, it is difficult to place too much blame with Britain for the outbreak of war because they did attempt to salvage the worsening relationship between themselves and Germany when a British Foreign Minister visited Germany to discuss plans to stop the expanding naval programmes but the German’s would not cooperate.
Another interpretation of the extent of Britain’s blame for war is that the alliance system was the reason that Britain entered the war. However, this is not a convincing argument because no nation would enter into a war without seriously considering the consequences and the disadvantages and advantages that these would bring.
Some historians’ interpretations help to support the argument that Britain held little responsibility for the outbreak of the war. An example of this is Erdmann who states that the war was a ‘preventative defence’ and not a ‘preventative war’ because there was no intention on the side of the Triple Entente of attacking Germany. This is supported by the controversial historian Fischer. This particular interpretation suggests that Britain did not have any intentions for a war with Germany and that other circumstances caused the conflict.

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