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Was Germany Responsible for Starting the First World War Introduction The question of Germanys responsibility in initiating the first World War is one that has raised many differences of opinion among historians who have attempted to address the issue Holger H Herwig in his quest to answer this question has concluded The greatest measure of responsibility however remains with Germany Planners both civilian and military were all too eager to resolve their perceived diplomatic encirclement by use of force -- now or never as Kaiser Wilhelm II put it Herwig H H The Outbreak of World War I 1991 Harry Elmer Barnes an American scholar expressing his discontent with the treaty of Versailles wrote In estimating the order of guilt of the various countries we may safely say that the only direct and immediate responsibility for the World War falls upon Serbia France and Russia with the guilt about equally divided Barnes H E Who Started the First World War 1989 Other Historians tend to be less inclined to any one side in favour of a position where every one is to be blamed almost equally The unthinkable happened because in each of the Great States leaders did certain things that inflamed the crisis or failed to do things that might have eased it All shared in some degree the responsibility for the general failure Marshall S L A World War One 1985 page 25 The vast array of opinions make it incumbent that the issue be studied with delicate care and based on a systematic framework Where as it is possible to study the immediate causes of the Great War it is necessary that that these causes be looked at in the wider perspective of the dominant political atmosphere surrounding the whole of Europe at the time as well as the historical factors that lead to the creation of this atmosphere This is crucial since on
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