Realism And The Rationalization Of The First World War

957 Words 4 Pages
War is splattered throughout the history of humankind, leaving black spots of suffering and death. Sometimes it seems to erupt suddenly, on other occasions the tension and stressors leading up to declarations of war had been building for decades. However, no matter how spontaneous such confrontation may seem, one can always find direct causes and--a semblance of--an explanation for each war. World War I is no exception to this. The many facets that lead up to such an unprecedented explosion of action and aggression across the globe can be explained through many means. However, Realism and Marxism are two international relations theories that very clearly aid in the rationalization of the First World War. Europe in the early twentieth century …show more content…
For this reasons tensions were running high between the nations. With the assassination of Austria-Hungary’s Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and blame subsequently being placed on Serbia—a nation with whom Austria-Hungary already had harsh feelings for—pleas for arbitration were ignored, and exactly one month after the assassination, Austria-Hungary declared war on July 28, 1914. This declaration lit a short, volatile fuse that had already been smoking. Within a week Germany, Russia, France, Belgium, Montenegro, and Great Britain had all been joined the conflict. In attempts to balance power across the nations, alliances quickly formed between the nations, further upsetting the balances of power and fracturing the multi-polar system. The Triple Entente, composed of France, Britain, Russia (and later the United States) quickly joined together to compete against the Triple Alliance (made up of Austria-Hungary, Germany, Ottoman Empire and later Italy). This formation of alliances escalated the …show more content…
With increasingly larger populations (due to an improved standard of living) and stronger economies, technological advancements in war technologies and production enabled an easy transition from discussions of appeasement, to outright declarations of war. Militarism generally goes hand in hand with nationalism, as war times bring people together in a nation, uniting them against a common enemy. Many believe that for this reason, Germany actually manufactured World War I. Because of a highly fractured populace and increasing economic disparity, a war (especially wining one) had the propensity to resolve the internal conflict Germany was suffering through. This concept was originally introduced by Franz Fischer in the late 1940’s in his Sonderweg Thesis. Fischer argued against conservative nationalist German Historians and stated that in addition to World War II, Germany was also solely responsible for World War I as well (Berghahn). Many people refuted Fischer’s thinking, however he argues that the war council meeting held on December 8, 1912, between Kaiser Wilhelm and military leadership set out a plan to engage Russian in war within an eighteen-month time period. The war was conceived as a “preventive war” against a perceived threat of the rapidly rising Russian power abroad and

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