Nicole ZefJanuary 3, 2018Period 1Outline Position of Britain Prior to WWIMajor Domestic/International ConcernsBelgian neutralityTreaty of London (card 3A)Britain is obligated to protect neutrality of Belgium Maintain peace; prevent total destruction as a result of warOxford Laws of War on Land (card 9A)Limiting acts of violence other than ones made by those directly involved in warOxford Laws of War on Land (card 9B)Obligation of combatants to respect laws of war and militaristic agreementsProblems with Bordering NationsOpposition to Russian expansion Anglo-Japanese Alliance (card 10A)Agreement to provide military assistance if either country had to fight two or more powersAnglo-Japanese Alliance (card 10B)Protect British and Japanese interests in China and Korea against Russian expansion in those areas Reasons for Making Alliances Maintain peaceEntente Cordiale (card 11A)Britain will not take action against the French in Morocco, France will not take action against the British in EgyptAnglo-Russian Entente (card 12B) Agreement to respect the independence of Persia and maintain peace there; equal economic opportunities for Britain and Russia Unite in opposition to enemy forces Entente Cordiale (card 11B) Britain encouraged an alliance with France while paying attention to Germany’s expanding navy Anglo-Russian Entente (card 12A)Together with the Entente Cordiale formed the Triple Entente, which opposed the Central Powers of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy Why Britain Chose to Go to WarJustification Made by Leaders of Britain Loyalty to BelgiumHerbert Asquith’s Address to Parliament on August 6, 1914 (card 4A)German Chancellor did not promise to preserve Belgian neutrality as it did Holland’s, but Britain had promised to protect Belgian neutrality and thus was forced into warLoyalty to France Herbert Asquith’s Address to Parliament on August 6, 1914 (card 4C)German Chancellor requested permission from Britain to take over French territory had Germany won the war; as accepting such a proposal would betray France, Britain had to refuse and fight to protect their allyBritain’s Goals for WarProtect Britain against German aggression Churchill’s Interview with the United Press (card 2A)Britain needs to protect itself from Germany, whose goal is to expand its power in order to dominate EuropeChurchill’s Interview with the United Press (card 2B)Germany will continue to wage war because the small but effective British military stands right in its wayProtect smaller nationalities against German aggression Herbert Asquith’s Address to Parliament on August 6, 1914 (card 4B)Smaller nationalities, not just Britain, face danger as Germany continues to expand its power; Britain is fighting to protect them from being destroyed and to demonstrate that military power does not give a nation the right to dominate othersComparison Between Justification and Goals Both Britain’s justification and goals focused on the idea of a duty that Britain had to fulfil. Britain was to respect Belgian neutrality and remain loyal to its French allies, and had to protect itself and smaller nationalities from German aggression. From the point of view of Britain’s leaders, Britain’s entry into WWI was an obligation the British had to honor, not an act of aggression. Why Britain’s Allies FoughtHow France Responded to Britain’s Actions and GoalsTook military action against Germany President Poincare’s War Address (card 13A) Protect themselves against German aggression, which the British suggested was the issueEnthusiasm for war in anticipation of French victory President Poincare’s War Address (card 13B)Eager to fight the war, having confidence in France’s army when it comes to defending the nationSupported by the British, who have demonstrated their loyaltyAgreement/Disagreement with Britain’s Reasons for WarFrance agreesGerman aggression was the issueFrench Prime Minister’s Statement (card 6A)Germany lined its frontier with defensive forces and set its troops into position, provoking France into warGermany’s failure to respect neutrality of Luxembourg and BelgiumFrench Prime Minister’s Statement (card 6B)Germany violated the 1867 Treaty of London by betraying the neutrality of Luxembourg; Germany also violated the 1839 Treaty of London by requesting facilities to be used in Belgium against France; France had to defend the neutrality of these countriesWhy Britain’s Enemies Fought How Germany Responded to Britain’s Statements and Actions Nationalism in Germany Wilhelm II’s War Speeches (card 8C)Germany must protect itself from “envious rivals everywhere”The world must learn the dangers of attacking GermanyOffered non-aggressive reasons for entering the warCrown Prince Wilhelm’s war views (card 16B)Germany must wage war because of its geographical location: it is surrounded by enemies and has no natural barriersWilhelm II’s War Speeches (card 8B)German soldiers, united under an oath of allegiance sworn to God, must keep their promise by proving their oath “to the last drop of blood,” meaning they must wage war. Agreement/Disagreement with Britain on the Issues of the WarGermany disagreesBlames Russia insteadOfficial German Statement on Outbreak of War (card 7B)Russia mobilizing against Germany meant that Russia would attack; Germany had to protect itself against Russia and its allies, unleashing warOfficial German Statement on Outbreak of War (card 7A)Russia misinterpreted the intentions of Austria-Hungary: Austria-Hungary explained that entering a state of war with Serbia was only for defense, but Russia mobilized its armies anywayHow Responsible Is Britain for the Start of WWI?Britain is not responsible Leaders of Britain attempted negotiations to preserve peaceReport by Sir Edward Goschen (card 14A)Goschen asked German diplomat Herr von Jagow if there was any possibility to recollect German troops from Belgium in order to preserve peace, but von Jagow explained that passing through Belgium was necessary as it was the quickest route to France Britain entered the war to honor previously made alliances, not out of aggression Herbert Asquith’s Address to Parliament on August 6, 1914 (card 4A)German Chancellor did not promise to preserve Belgian neutrality as it did Holland’s, but Britain had promised to protect Belgian neutrality and thus was forced into warHerbert Asquith’s Address to Parliament on August 6, 1914 (card 4C)German Chancellor requested permission from Britain to take over French territory had Germany won the war; as accepting such a proposal would betray France, Britain had to refuse and fight to protect its allyIf Not Britain, Who Is at Fault?Germany is responsible for the start of WWIHow Much the Leaders of Germany Wanted WarCrown Prince Wilhelm’s enthusiasm for war (card 16A)Ideas of peace are too utopian and “un-German”Loyal Germans must be willing to demonstrate that military spirit has not died in Germany Willing to support Austria-Hungary no matter whatThe Blank Cheque (card 15A)Will support Austria-Hungary no matter how they decide to punish Serbia for the assassination of Archduke Franz FerdinandJules Cambon’s conversation with Herr von Jagow (card 5B)German diplomat Herr von Jagow took great offense and protested enthusiastically to Cambon’s asking if Germany wished for war, making him appear very suspicious to CambonHow Hard the Leaders of Germany Tried to Prevent WarVery little evidence of German leaders trying to prevent war Wilhelm II’s War Speeches (card 8A)Wilhelm II mentioned that he made efforts to preserve peace, yet offers no evidence or examples to supportHow Responsible Germany Is for the Start of WWI Largely responsible, and while trying to divert attention away from themselves, the Germans wrongly blamed Russia British government’s rebuttal of Germany blaming Russia (card 1A) Difficult to tell who started the war when negotiations took place over the course of a couple of hours Throughout the negotiations between Russia and Germany, Russia’s intentions were clear, yet Germany claims that Russia betrayed themBritish government’s rebuttal of Germany blaming Russia (card 1B) Mobilization orders do not necessarily entail attack Different countries have very different mobilization systems; those of Russia can differ greatly from those of Germany and therefore it cannot be rightly assumed that Russia intended to take action against Germany Furthermore, Germany is directly responsible as its leaders refused offers to make peaceJules Cambon’s conversation with Herr von Jagow (card 5A)Germany could not agree to try to reach a peaceful settlement as an alternative to war because that would entail intervening in the conflict between Austria and RussiaReport by Sir Edward Goschen (card 14A)Goschen asked German diplomat Herr von Jagow if there was any possibility to recollect German troops from Belgium in order to preserve peace, but von Jagow explained that passing through Belgium was necessary as it was the quickest route to France Report by Sir Edward Goschen (card 14B)Although Germany was warned that if its troops had not retreated from Belgium by midnight, consequences would follow, the Germans remained persistent in their decision to keep troops in Belgium, making war inevitableIntroduction Britain’s role in the First World War originates from the balance of power that existed in Europe following the Congress of Vienna in 1815. France, Prussia, Austria, Britain, and Russia agreed on terms that limited France’s power, given Napoleon’s previous near-domination of Europe, and expanded the territories of Austria and Russia. This allowed for a period of peace and stability that lasted throughout Europe until the unification of Germany under Otto von Bismarck in 1871. Germany, by expanding its military and strengthening its navy, created direct competition with Britain. Fearing German aggression, Britain allied with France under the Entente Cordiale, which then with the Anglo-Russian Entente formed the Triple Entente, consisting of Britain, Russia, and France against the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. These alliances came into play beginning with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist. Germany, in full support of Austria-Hungary, offered them a “blank check,” essentially saying that they will stand by Austria-Hungary regardless of how they decide to punish Serbia for the assassination. In self-defense, Russian armies mobilized, which then led to the German declaration of war on Russia and its ally France, later bringing Britain into the war as well. Prior to the war, Britain was concerned with Belgian neutrality and maintaining peace. Tensions between Britain and Russia existed, but conflict with Germany proved more serious than any between Britain and Russia, as demonstrated by the Anglo-Russian Entente. Britain entered the war in order to protect Belgian neutrality and out of loyalty to France, intending to protect both itself and smaller nationalities from German aggression. The French, who were allied with the British, also fought to protect themselves from German aggression. They felt enthusiasm for war as they had an opportunity to redeem themselves after a loss in the Franco-Prussian War and confidence in their decision to go to war because of support from the British, who have proven their loyalty. The Germans, enemies of the British, responded with nationalism and reasons for why they had no choice in the matter, saying that their geographical location forced them to wage war. Ultimately, however, Germany is responsible for the start of WWI. Little effort was made from its leaders to prevent war; those leaders in fact repeatedly encouraged war and wrongly blamed Russia in the process.