Was Germany primarily responsible for the outbreak of the Great War?

Essay by OrianUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, September 2005

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The Great War was the turning point in European if not global history; it was the starting point of the most violent century humankind has ever known. Over the past ninety-one years historians have become almost obsessive in the search to explain who was responsible for causing the Great War. Many historians spent their life searching for an answer that never truly came.

In deciding wether or not Germany was primarily responsible for causing the Great War of 1914-1918 several main points have to be addressed such as the alliance systems, nationalism, the arms race and imperialism. Evidence of these can be found in the actions and decisions made by Germany in the period from Unification in1871, outbreak of war in 1914 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

The unification of Germany in 1871 was announced at Louis XIV palace at Versailles before the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 came to an end.

The unification of Germany was controversial the two great powers of Austria-Hungary and Prussia wished to rule the unified German state. Prussia had an efficient government it believed that Germany had to be a strong state of which other weaker nations could join. Austria on the other hand did not want Germany to be unified at all, as it saw advantage in ruling a weaker, un-united Germany like it did in other states such as the smaller Slavic states. An advantage for Prussian was that not only did it have an efficient government the majority of its population were Germanic and it had one of the best armies in Europe. After the Unification was signed, King Wilhelm I of Prussia became Kaiser Wilhelm I of the German Empire.

The new German state set the terms of peace for the Franco-Prussian War, France had to...