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Once the Meiji Restoration established strong central government beginning in , Japan became the first non-Western state to launch a crash program of industrialization. By the s its modern army and navy permitted Japan to take its place beside the Europeans as an imperial power. European intervention scaled back these gains, but a scramble for concessions in China eventuated. The loser in the scramble, besides China, was Britain, which had previously enjoyed a near monopoly in the China trade.

British fortunes suffered elsewhere during this high tide of imperialism from to Germany abandoned her long apathy toward the Middle East and won a concession for Turkish railroads. The kaiser, influenced by his envy of Britain, his own fondness for seafaring, and the worldwide impact of The Influence of Sea Power upon History by the American naval scholar Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan , determined that Weltpolitik was impossible without a great High Seas Fleet.

The prospect of a large German navy—next to the growing fleets of France, Russia, Japan, and the United States—meant that Britain would no longer rule the waves alone. The dawn of the 20th century was thus a time of anxiety for the British Empire as well.

Background

Challenged for the first time by the commercial, naval, and colonial might of many other industrializing nations, the British reconsidered the wisdom of splendid isolation. To be sure, in the Fashoda Incident of Britain succeeded in forcing France to retreat from the upper reaches of the Nile.

But how much longer could Britain defend her empire alone? Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain began at once to sound out Berlin on the prospect of global collaboration. A British demarche was precisely what the Germans had been expecting, but three attempts to reach an Anglo-German understanding, between and , led to naught. In retrospect, it is hard to see how it could have been otherwise. What Britain sought was German help in reducing Franco-Russian pressure on the British Empire and defending the balance of power.

What Germany sought was British neutrality or cooperation while Germany expanded its own power in the world. The failure of the Anglo-German talks condemned both powers to dangerous competition. The German navy could never hope to equal the British and would only ensure British hostility. But equality was not necessary, said Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

In this way Germany could extract concessions from London without alliance or war. What the Germans failed to consider was that Britain might someday come to terms with its other antagonists. This was precisely what Britain did. The new German navy menaced Britain in her home waters. Soon the Panama Canal would enable the United States to deploy a two-ocean navy. He then shocked the world by concluding a military alliance with Japan, thereby securing British interests in East Asia and allowing the empire to concentrate its regional forces on India.

To prevent being dragged into the conflict, the French and British shucked off their ancient rivalry and concluded an Entente Cordiale whereby France gave up opposition to British rule in Egypt , and Britain recognized French rights in Morocco. Though strictly a colonial arrangement, it marked another step away from isolation for both Britain and France and another step toward it for the restless and frustrated Germans.

The Russo-Japanese War of —05 was an ominous turning point. Contrary to all expectations, Japan triumphed on land and sea, and Russia stumbled into the Revolution of President Theodore Roosevelt mediated the Treaty of Portsmouth ending the war, and the tsar quelled the revolutionary flames with promises of parliamentary government, but the war resonated in world diplomacy. Japan established itself as the leading Asian power.

The example of an Oriental nation rising up to defeat a European great power emboldened Chinese, Indians, and Arabs to look forward to a day when they might expel the imperialists from their midst. And tsarist Russia, its Asian adventure a shambles, looked once again to the Balkans as a field for expansion, setting the stage for World War I. But at the Algeciras Conference in , called to settle the Morocco dispute, only Austria-Hungary supported the German position. Far from breaking the Entente Cordiale, the affair prompted the British to begin secret staff talks with the French military.

For some years Italian ambitions in the Mediterranean had been thwarted, and the attempt to conquer Abyssinia in had failed. So in Italy concluded a secret agreement pledging support for France in Morocco in return for French support of Italy in Libya. Finally, and most critically, the defeated Russians and worried British were now willing to put to rest their old rivalry in Central Asia. Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey also hinted at the possibility of British support for Russian policy in the Balkans, reversing a century-old tradition.

The heyday of European imperialism thus called into existence a second alliance system, the Triple Entente of France, Britain, and Russia. It was not originally conceived as a balance to German power, but that was its effect, especially in light of the escalating naval race. In the Royal Navy under the reformer Sir John Fisher launched HMS Dreadnought , a battleship whose size, armour, speed, and gunnery rendered all existing warships obsolete.

The German government responded in kind, even enlarging the Kiel Canal at great expense to accommodate the larger ships. What were the British, dependent on imports by sea for seven-eighths of their raw materials and over half their foodstuffs, to make of German behaviour? For France the Triple Entente was primarily a continental security apparatus.

For Russia it was a means of reducing points of conflict so that the antiquated tsarist system could buy time to catch up technologically with the West. But to the Germans the Triple Entente looked suspiciously like encirclement designed to frustrate their rightful claims to world power and prestige. German attempts to break the encirclement, however, would only alarm the entente powers and cause them to draw the loose strings into a knot. That in turn tempted German leaders, fearful that time was against them, to cut the Gordian knot with the sword.

For after the focus of diplomacy shifted back to the Balkans, with European cabinets unaware, until it was too late, that alliances made with the wide world in mind had dangerously limited their freedom of action in Europe. It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Europe before succumbed to hubris.

Whether from ambition or insecurity, the great powers armed as never before in peacetime, with military expenditures reaching 5 to 6 percent of national income. Military conscription and reserve systems made available a significant percentage of the adult male population, and the impulse to create large standing armies was strengthened by the widespread belief that firepower and financial limitations would make the next war short and violent.

Simple reaction also played a large role. Only Britain did without a large conscripted army, but her naval needs were proportionally more expensive. In an age of heavy, rapid-fire artillery, infantry rifles, and railroads, but not yet including motor transport, tanks, or airplanes, a premium was placed by military staffs on mass, supply, and prior planning. European commanders assumed that in a continental war the opening frontier battles would be decisive, hence the need to mobilize the maximum number of men and move them at maximum speed to the border.

The meticulous and rigid advance planning that this strategy required placed inordinate pressure on the diplomats in a crisis. Politicians might hold back their army in hopes of saving the peace only at the risk of losing the war should diplomacy fail. What was more, all the continental powers embraced offensive strategies. Troops could then be transported east to meet the slower-moving Russian army. Worked out down to the last railroad switch and passenger car, the Schlieffen Plan was an apotheosis of the industrial age: a mechanical, almost mathematical perfection that wholly ignored political factors.

None of the general staffs anticipated what the war would actually be like. Had they glimpsed the horrific stalemate in the trenches, surely neither they nor the politicians would have run the risks they did in Above the mass infantry armies of the early 20th century stood the officer corps, the general staffs, and at the pinnacle the supreme war lords: kaiser, emperor, tsar, and king, all of whom adopted military uniforms as their standard dress in these years.

The army was a natural refuge for the central and eastern European aristocracies , the chivalric code of arms sustaining almost the only public service to which they could still reasonably lay claim. Even in republican France a nationalist revival after excited public morale, inspired the military buildup, and both fueled and cloaked a revanche aimed at recovery of the provinces lost 40 years before.

Popular European literature poured forth best sellers depicting the next war, and mass-circulation newspapers incited even the working classes with news of imperial adventures or the latest slight by the adversary. Various peace movements sprang up to counter the spirit of militarism before Most numerous and disturbing to those responsible for national defense were the socialists. The Second International took the Marxist view of imperialism and militarism as creatures of capitalist competition and loudly warned that if the bosses provoked a war, the working classes would refuse to take part.

A liberal peace movement with a middle-class constituency flourished around the turn of the century. As many as peace organizations are estimated to have existed in , fully half of them in Scandinavia and most others in Germany, Britain, and the United States. Their greatest achievements were the Hague conferences of and , at which the powers agreed to ban certain inhumane weapons but made no progress toward general disarmament. The liberal peace movement also foundered on internal contradictions. To outlaw war was to endorse the international status quo, yet liberals always stood ready to excuse wars that could claim progressive ends.

They had tolerated the wars of Italian and German unification, and they would tolerate the Balkan Wars against the Ottoman Empire in —13 and the great war in Another solution for many peace advocates was to transcend the nation-state. To Marxists this image of capitalism was ludicrous; to Weber or Joseph Schumpeter it was correct but beside the point. Blood was thicker than class, or money; politics dominated economics; and irrationality, reason. Citing the waste, social discord, and international tension caused by the naval arms race he made several overtures to Germany in hopes of ending it.

When these failed, Britain had little choice but to race more quickly than the Germans. Even radical Liberals like David Lloyd George had to admit that however much they might deplore arms races in the abstract, all that was liberal and good in the world depended on the security of Britain and its control of its seas.

In the end, war did not come over the naval race or commercial competition or imperialism. Nor was it sparked by the institutional violence of the armed states, but by underground terrorism in the name of an oppressed people. Nor did it come over the ambitions of great powers to become greater, but over the fear of one great power that unless it took vigorous action it might cease to exist altogether. It began in the Balkans. In Austria-Hungary and Russia had agreed to put their dispute over the Balkans on ice. But everything else had changed.

Russia was looking again at the Balkans for foreign policy advantage and enjoying, for the first time, a measure of British tolerance. In Serbia , the state most threatening to Vienna because of its ethnic tie to the Serbs and Croats inside the Dual Monarchy, a fundamental political shift had occurred. Finally, in , a cabal of officers known as the Young Turks staged the first modernizing revolution in the Muslim world and tried to force the sultan to adopt liberal reforms. In particular the Young Turks called for parliamentary elections, thereby placing in doubt the status of Bosnia and Hercegovina , provinces still under Ottoman sovereignty but administered by Austria-Hungary since The Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Aloys Aehrenthal , proposed to settle the Bosnian issue and to crush Serbian ambitions once and for all by annexing the provinces.

Their response was to increase aid and comfort to their client Serbia and to determine never again to back down in the Balkans.


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German politics were also approaching a breaking point. Agrarian interests continued to demand protection against foreign foodstuffs, but the tariffs imposed to that end harmed German industrial exports. A large armaments program, especially naval, compensated heavy industry for lost foreign markets. The losers in the tariffs-plus-navy-legislation arrangement were consumers, who were taxed for the defense program after they had paid higher prices for bread. Popular resentment tended to increase the socialist vote, and the other parties could command a majority only by banding together.

When in Lord Haldane was dispatched to Berlin to discuss a suspension of the naval arms race, the kaiser spoiled chances for an accord by introducing a new naval bill two days before his arrival. The British then accelerated their own dreadnought construction. By now the failure of German policy was apparent.

Clearly the British would not permit Germany to challenge their sea power , while the German army agreed in to tolerate further naval expansion only if the army were granted a sharp increase in funding as well. In the elections the Social Democrats won seats and became the largest party in the Reichstag. A bold stroke, even at the risk of war, seemed the only way out of the double impasse. In Britain, Winston Churchill , then first lord of the Admiralty, withdrew his fleet from the Mediterranean to home waters, making mandatory even closer military coordination with France.

The final prewar assault on the Ottoman empire also began in Italy cashed in her bargain with France over Libya by declaring war on Turkey and sending a naval squadron as far as the Dardanelles. Simultaneously, Russian ministers in the Balkans brought about an alliance between the bitter rivals Serbia and Bulgaria in preparation for a final strike against Ottoman-controlled Europe.

The Young Turks ended the conflict with Italy, ceding Libya, but failed to contain the Balkan armies. In May the great powers imposed a settlement; Macedonia was partitioned among the Balkan states, Crete was granted to Greece, and Albania was given its independence. Landlocked Serbia, however, bid for additional territory in Macedonia, and Bulgaria replied with an attack on Serbia and Greece, thus beginning the Second Balkan War in June In the peace that followed in August , Bulgaria lost most of her stake in the former Turkish lands plus much of the southern Dobruja region to Romania.

Serbia, however, doubled its territory and, flushed with victory, turned its sights on the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina. How might the Habsburg empire survive the rise of particularist nationalism in eastern Europe? Austrian statesmen had debated the question for 50 years, and the best answer seemed to be some form of federalism permitting political autonomy to the nationalities. Hence, the archduke was a marked man among the secret societies that sprang up to liberate Bosnia.

Such is the logic of terrorism: its greatest enemies are the peacemakers. The National Defense Narodna Odbrana was formed in Serbia in to carry on pro-Serbian and anti-Austrian agitation across the border. With his support, if not on his direct orders, a band of youthful romantics conspired to assassinate Franz Ferdinand during his state visit to Sarajevo. On June 28, , which happened to be the Serbian national holiday, the archduke and his wife rode in an open car through the streets of the Bosnian capital.

A bomb was thrown but missed. But the lead driver in the procession took a wrong turn, the cars stopped momentarily, and at that moment the year-old Gavrilo Princip fired his revolver, killing both royal passengers. Reaction in Vienna, and Europe generally, was surprisingly restrained. Bethmann was less so. A move against Serbia could lead to a world war, he warned on July 7. Yet Bethmann went along in the vain hope of localizing the conflict.

In no case was Austria to annex any Serbian territory. Petersburg in July. On July 23, just after the French leaders left for home, Vienna presented its ultimatum to Belgrade , demanding dissolution of the secret societies, cessation of anti-Austrian propaganda, and Austrian participation in the investigation of the Sarajevo crime. Serbia was given 48 hours to respond. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Dmitriyevich Sazonov , erupted at news of the ultimatum and insisted on military measures.

But now Germany was competing for influence over the Young Turks, courting Bulgaria, and plotting to smash Serbia. Sazonov seems to have considered mobilization a political threat, but given the mechanistic timetables that were integral to the planning of all the European general staffs, it could only provoke countermobilizations and an inexorable drift into war.

On July 25 Serbia accepted all the Austro-Hungarian conditions save those two that directly compromised its sovereignty. Two days later Berchtold persuaded Franz Joseph to initiate war. At the same moment the kaiser, returning from a yachting expedition, tried belatedly to restrain Vienna. On July 28 Austria declared war and bombarded Belgrade, and on the same day the tsar approved the mobilization of the Russian army against Austria, and alarms went off all over Europe. Sir Edward Grey , Kaiser William, and the Italian government all proposed negotiations, with the Austrians to occupy Belgrade as a pledge of Serbian compliance.

The German ambassador in St. Petersburg assured the Russians that Austria meant to annex no Serbian territory. But it was too little and far too late. In St. The weak and vacillating tsar Nicholas II was persuaded, and on the afternoon of July 30 he authorized general mobilization of the Russian army. In Berlin , anti-Russian demonstrations and equally anxious generals called for immediate action. But Russia and France could scarcely accede without abandoning the Balkans, each other, and their own security. When the ultimatums expired, the Schlieffen Plan was put into effect. Germany declared war against Russia on August 1 and against France on August 3 and demanded safe passage for its troops through Belgium.

Refused again, Germany invaded Belgium in force. That left only Britain, faced with the choice of joining its entente partners in war or standing aloof and risking German domination of the Continent. Britain had little interest in the Serbian affair, and the kingdom was torn by the Irish question. The cabinet was in doubt as late as August 2. But the prospect of the German fleet in the English Channel and German armies on the Belgian littoral settled the issue. On the 3rd Britain demanded that Germany evacuate Belgium, and Grey won over Parliament with appeals to British interests and international law.

On August 4, Britain declared war on Germany. Debate over the origins of World War I was from the start partisan and moral in tone. Each of the belligerents published documentary collections selected to shift the blame and prove that it was fighting in self-defense. Serbia was defending itself against Austrian aggression.

Austria-Hungary was defending its very existence against terror plotted on foreign soil. Russia was defending Serbia and the Slavic cause against German imperialism. Germany was defending its lone reliable ally from attack and itself from entente encirclement. France, with most justification, was defending itself against unprovoked German attack. And Britain was fighting in defense of Belgium, international law, and the balance of power. In the Treaty of Versailles the victorious coalition justified its peace terms by forcing Germany and its allies to acknowledge guilt for the war.

This tactic was historically dubious and politically disastrous, but it stemmed from the liberal conviction, as old as the Enlightenment , that peace was normal and war an aberration or crime for which clear responsibility—guilt—could be established. Almost at once, revisionist historians examined the thousands of documents that governments made available after and challenged the Versailles verdict.

It had swept aside all proposals for mediation until events had gained irreversible momentum. It had, finally, surrendered its authority to a military plan that ensured the war could not be localized. Indeed, the whole course of German foreign policy since had been restless and counter-productive, calling into existence the very ring of enemies it then took extreme risks to break.

Finally, what of the states at the heart of the crisis? The failure of documentary research to settle the war-guilt question led other historians to look behind the July crisis for long-range causes of the war.

Starr Forum: The Trump-Putin Phenomenon

Surely, they reasoned, such profound events must have had profound origins. As early as the American Sidney B. Fay concluded that none of the European leaders had wanted a great war and identified as its deeper causes the alliance systems, militarism, imperialism, nationalism, and the newspaper press. Militarism and imperialism had fed tensions and appetites among the great powers, while nationalism and sensationalist journalism had stoked popular resentments.

How else could one explain the universal enthusiasm with which soldiers and civilians alike greeted the outbreak of war? Such evenhanded sentiments , along with the abstraction of the terms of analysis that exculpated individuals while blaming the system, were both appealing and prescriptive. In the s British statesmen in particular would strive to learn the lessons of and so prevent another war. Only a few years later, however, in , that consensus shattered.

Traditionalist critics of Fischer pointed to the universality of imperialistic, social Darwinist, and militaristic behaviour on the eve of the war. The kaiser, in his most nationalistic moods, only spoke and acted like many others in all the great powers. Joffre wonder excitedly if the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine were finally at hand, or the Primrose and Navy leagues thrill to the prospect of a Nelsonian clash of dreadnoughts? The example of an Oriental nation rising up to defeat a European great power emboldened Chinese, Indians, and Arabs to look forward to a day when they might expel the imperialists from their midst.

And tsarist Russia, its Asian adventure a shambles, looked once again to the Balkans as a field for expansion, setting the stage for World War I. But at the Algeciras Conference in , called to settle the Morocco dispute, only Austria-Hungary supported the German position. Far from breaking the Entente Cordiale, the affair prompted the British to begin secret staff talks with the French military. For some years Italian ambitions in the Mediterranean had been thwarted, and the attempt to conquer Abyssinia in had failed.

So in Italy concluded a secret agreement pledging support for France in Morocco in return for French support of Italy in Libya. Finally, and most critically, the defeated Russians and worried British were now willing to put to rest their old rivalry in Central Asia. Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey also hinted at the possibility of British support for Russian policy in the Balkans, reversing a century-old tradition. The heyday of European imperialism thus called into existence a second alliance system, the Triple Entente of France, Britain, and Russia.

U.S. Alliances in East Asia: Internal Challenges and External Threats

It was not originally conceived as a balance to German power, but that was its effect, especially in light of the escalating naval race. In the Royal Navy under the reformer Sir John Fisher launched HMS Dreadnought , a battleship whose size, armour, speed, and gunnery rendered all existing warships obsolete. The German government responded in kind, even enlarging the Kiel Canal at great expense to accommodate the larger ships. What were the British, dependent on imports by sea for seven-eighths of their raw materials and over half their foodstuffs, to make of German behaviour?

For France the Triple Entente was primarily a continental security apparatus. For Russia it was a means of reducing points of conflict so that the antiquated tsarist system could buy time to catch up technologically with the West. But to the Germans the Triple Entente looked suspiciously like encirclement designed to frustrate their rightful claims to world power and prestige.

German attempts to break the encirclement, however, would only alarm the entente powers and cause them to draw the loose strings into a knot. That in turn tempted German leaders, fearful that time was against them, to cut the Gordian knot with the sword. For after the focus of diplomacy shifted back to the Balkans, with European cabinets unaware, until it was too late, that alliances made with the wide world in mind had dangerously limited their freedom of action in Europe.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that Europe before succumbed to hubris. Whether from ambition or insecurity, the great powers armed as never before in peacetime, with military expenditures reaching 5 to 6 percent of national income.


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Military conscription and reserve systems made available a significant percentage of the adult male population, and the impulse to create large standing armies was strengthened by the widespread belief that firepower and financial limitations would make the next war short and violent. Simple reaction also played a large role. Only Britain did without a large conscripted army, but her naval needs were proportionally more expensive. In an age of heavy, rapid-fire artillery, infantry rifles, and railroads, but not yet including motor transport, tanks, or airplanes, a premium was placed by military staffs on mass, supply, and prior planning.

European commanders assumed that in a continental war the opening frontier battles would be decisive, hence the need to mobilize the maximum number of men and move them at maximum speed to the border.

Reconciling Enemy States in Europe and Asia - Seunghoon Emilia Heo - Google книги

The meticulous and rigid advance planning that this strategy required placed inordinate pressure on the diplomats in a crisis. Politicians might hold back their army in hopes of saving the peace only at the risk of losing the war should diplomacy fail. What was more, all the continental powers embraced offensive strategies.

Troops could then be transported east to meet the slower-moving Russian army. Worked out down to the last railroad switch and passenger car, the Schlieffen Plan was an apotheosis of the industrial age: a mechanical, almost mathematical perfection that wholly ignored political factors. None of the general staffs anticipated what the war would actually be like. Had they glimpsed the horrific stalemate in the trenches, surely neither they nor the politicians would have run the risks they did in Above the mass infantry armies of the early 20th century stood the officer corps, the general staffs, and at the pinnacle the supreme war lords: kaiser, emperor, tsar, and king, all of whom adopted military uniforms as their standard dress in these years.

The army was a natural refuge for the central and eastern European aristocracies , the chivalric code of arms sustaining almost the only public service to which they could still reasonably lay claim. Even in republican France a nationalist revival after excited public morale, inspired the military buildup, and both fueled and cloaked a revanche aimed at recovery of the provinces lost 40 years before.

Popular European literature poured forth best sellers depicting the next war, and mass-circulation newspapers incited even the working classes with news of imperial adventures or the latest slight by the adversary. Various peace movements sprang up to counter the spirit of militarism before Most numerous and disturbing to those responsible for national defense were the socialists. The Second International took the Marxist view of imperialism and militarism as creatures of capitalist competition and loudly warned that if the bosses provoked a war, the working classes would refuse to take part.

A liberal peace movement with a middle-class constituency flourished around the turn of the century. As many as peace organizations are estimated to have existed in , fully half of them in Scandinavia and most others in Germany, Britain, and the United States. Their greatest achievements were the Hague conferences of and , at which the powers agreed to ban certain inhumane weapons but made no progress toward general disarmament.

The liberal peace movement also foundered on internal contradictions. To outlaw war was to endorse the international status quo, yet liberals always stood ready to excuse wars that could claim progressive ends. They had tolerated the wars of Italian and German unification, and they would tolerate the Balkan Wars against the Ottoman Empire in —13 and the great war in Another solution for many peace advocates was to transcend the nation-state.

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To Marxists this image of capitalism was ludicrous; to Weber or Joseph Schumpeter it was correct but beside the point. Blood was thicker than class, or money; politics dominated economics; and irrationality, reason. Citing the waste, social discord, and international tension caused by the naval arms race he made several overtures to Germany in hopes of ending it. When these failed, Britain had little choice but to race more quickly than the Germans.

Even radical Liberals like David Lloyd George had to admit that however much they might deplore arms races in the abstract, all that was liberal and good in the world depended on the security of Britain and its control of its seas. In the end, war did not come over the naval race or commercial competition or imperialism. Nor was it sparked by the institutional violence of the armed states, but by underground terrorism in the name of an oppressed people. Nor did it come over the ambitions of great powers to become greater, but over the fear of one great power that unless it took vigorous action it might cease to exist altogether.

It began in the Balkans. In Austria-Hungary and Russia had agreed to put their dispute over the Balkans on ice. But everything else had changed. Russia was looking again at the Balkans for foreign policy advantage and enjoying, for the first time, a measure of British tolerance. In Serbia , the state most threatening to Vienna because of its ethnic tie to the Serbs and Croats inside the Dual Monarchy, a fundamental political shift had occurred. Finally, in , a cabal of officers known as the Young Turks staged the first modernizing revolution in the Muslim world and tried to force the sultan to adopt liberal reforms.

In particular the Young Turks called for parliamentary elections, thereby placing in doubt the status of Bosnia and Hercegovina , provinces still under Ottoman sovereignty but administered by Austria-Hungary since The Austro-Hungarian foreign minister, Aloys Aehrenthal , proposed to settle the Bosnian issue and to crush Serbian ambitions once and for all by annexing the provinces. Their response was to increase aid and comfort to their client Serbia and to determine never again to back down in the Balkans. German politics were also approaching a breaking point. Agrarian interests continued to demand protection against foreign foodstuffs, but the tariffs imposed to that end harmed German industrial exports.

A large armaments program, especially naval, compensated heavy industry for lost foreign markets. The losers in the tariffs-plus-navy-legislation arrangement were consumers, who were taxed for the defense program after they had paid higher prices for bread. Popular resentment tended to increase the socialist vote, and the other parties could command a majority only by banding together.

When in Lord Haldane was dispatched to Berlin to discuss a suspension of the naval arms race, the kaiser spoiled chances for an accord by introducing a new naval bill two days before his arrival. The British then accelerated their own dreadnought construction. By now the failure of German policy was apparent. Clearly the British would not permit Germany to challenge their sea power , while the German army agreed in to tolerate further naval expansion only if the army were granted a sharp increase in funding as well. In the elections the Social Democrats won seats and became the largest party in the Reichstag.

A bold stroke, even at the risk of war, seemed the only way out of the double impasse. In Britain, Winston Churchill , then first lord of the Admiralty, withdrew his fleet from the Mediterranean to home waters, making mandatory even closer military coordination with France. The final prewar assault on the Ottoman empire also began in Italy cashed in her bargain with France over Libya by declaring war on Turkey and sending a naval squadron as far as the Dardanelles.

Simultaneously, Russian ministers in the Balkans brought about an alliance between the bitter rivals Serbia and Bulgaria in preparation for a final strike against Ottoman-controlled Europe.

The Young Turks ended the conflict with Italy, ceding Libya, but failed to contain the Balkan armies. In May the great powers imposed a settlement; Macedonia was partitioned among the Balkan states, Crete was granted to Greece, and Albania was given its independence. Landlocked Serbia, however, bid for additional territory in Macedonia, and Bulgaria replied with an attack on Serbia and Greece, thus beginning the Second Balkan War in June In the peace that followed in August , Bulgaria lost most of her stake in the former Turkish lands plus much of the southern Dobruja region to Romania.

Serbia, however, doubled its territory and, flushed with victory, turned its sights on the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Bosnia and Hercegovina. How might the Habsburg empire survive the rise of particularist nationalism in eastern Europe? Austrian statesmen had debated the question for 50 years, and the best answer seemed to be some form of federalism permitting political autonomy to the nationalities. Hence, the archduke was a marked man among the secret societies that sprang up to liberate Bosnia.

Such is the logic of terrorism: its greatest enemies are the peacemakers. The National Defense Narodna Odbrana was formed in Serbia in to carry on pro-Serbian and anti-Austrian agitation across the border. With his support, if not on his direct orders, a band of youthful romantics conspired to assassinate Franz Ferdinand during his state visit to Sarajevo. On June 28, , which happened to be the Serbian national holiday, the archduke and his wife rode in an open car through the streets of the Bosnian capital.

A bomb was thrown but missed. But the lead driver in the procession took a wrong turn, the cars stopped momentarily, and at that moment the year-old Gavrilo Princip fired his revolver, killing both royal passengers. Reaction in Vienna, and Europe generally, was surprisingly restrained. Bethmann was less so. A move against Serbia could lead to a world war, he warned on July 7. Yet Bethmann went along in the vain hope of localizing the conflict.

In no case was Austria to annex any Serbian territory. Petersburg in July. On July 23, just after the French leaders left for home, Vienna presented its ultimatum to Belgrade , demanding dissolution of the secret societies, cessation of anti-Austrian propaganda, and Austrian participation in the investigation of the Sarajevo crime.

Serbia was given 48 hours to respond. The Russian foreign minister, Sergey Dmitriyevich Sazonov , erupted at news of the ultimatum and insisted on military measures. But now Germany was competing for influence over the Young Turks, courting Bulgaria, and plotting to smash Serbia.

Sazonov seems to have considered mobilization a political threat, but given the mechanistic timetables that were integral to the planning of all the European general staffs, it could only provoke countermobilizations and an inexorable drift into war. On July 25 Serbia accepted all the Austro-Hungarian conditions save those two that directly compromised its sovereignty. Two days later Berchtold persuaded Franz Joseph to initiate war. At the same moment the kaiser, returning from a yachting expedition, tried belatedly to restrain Vienna.

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On July 28 Austria declared war and bombarded Belgrade, and on the same day the tsar approved the mobilization of the Russian army against Austria, and alarms went off all over Europe. Sir Edward Grey , Kaiser William, and the Italian government all proposed negotiations, with the Austrians to occupy Belgrade as a pledge of Serbian compliance. The German ambassador in St. Petersburg assured the Russians that Austria meant to annex no Serbian territory.

But it was too little and far too late. In St. The weak and vacillating tsar Nicholas II was persuaded, and on the afternoon of July 30 he authorized general mobilization of the Russian army. In Berlin , anti-Russian demonstrations and equally anxious generals called for immediate action.

But Russia and France could scarcely accede without abandoning the Balkans, each other, and their own security. When the ultimatums expired, the Schlieffen Plan was put into effect. Germany declared war against Russia on August 1 and against France on August 3 and demanded safe passage for its troops through Belgium.

Refused again, Germany invaded Belgium in force. That left only Britain, faced with the choice of joining its entente partners in war or standing aloof and risking German domination of the Continent. Britain had little interest in the Serbian affair, and the kingdom was torn by the Irish question. The cabinet was in doubt as late as August 2. But the prospect of the German fleet in the English Channel and German armies on the Belgian littoral settled the issue.

On the 3rd Britain demanded that Germany evacuate Belgium, and Grey won over Parliament with appeals to British interests and international law. On August 4, Britain declared war on Germany. Debate over the origins of World War I was from the start partisan and moral in tone. Each of the belligerents published documentary collections selected to shift the blame and prove that it was fighting in self-defense. Serbia was defending itself against Austrian aggression. Austria-Hungary was defending its very existence against terror plotted on foreign soil.

Russia was defending Serbia and the Slavic cause against German imperialism. Germany was defending its lone reliable ally from attack and itself from entente encirclement. France, with most justification, was defending itself against unprovoked German attack. And Britain was fighting in defense of Belgium, international law, and the balance of power.

In the Treaty of Versailles the victorious coalition justified its peace terms by forcing Germany and its allies to acknowledge guilt for the war. This tactic was historically dubious and politically disastrous, but it stemmed from the liberal conviction, as old as the Enlightenment , that peace was normal and war an aberration or crime for which clear responsibility—guilt—could be established. Almost at once, revisionist historians examined the thousands of documents that governments made available after and challenged the Versailles verdict.

It had swept aside all proposals for mediation until events had gained irreversible momentum. It had, finally, surrendered its authority to a military plan that ensured the war could not be localized. Indeed, the whole course of German foreign policy since had been restless and counter-productive, calling into existence the very ring of enemies it then took extreme risks to break.

Finally, what of the states at the heart of the crisis? The failure of documentary research to settle the war-guilt question led other historians to look behind the July crisis for long-range causes of the war. Surely, they reasoned, such profound events must have had profound origins. As early as the American Sidney B. Fay concluded that none of the European leaders had wanted a great war and identified as its deeper causes the alliance systems, militarism, imperialism, nationalism, and the newspaper press.

Militarism and imperialism had fed tensions and appetites among the great powers, while nationalism and sensationalist journalism had stoked popular resentments. How else could one explain the universal enthusiasm with which soldiers and civilians alike greeted the outbreak of war? Such evenhanded sentiments , along with the abstraction of the terms of analysis that exculpated individuals while blaming the system, were both appealing and prescriptive.

In the s British statesmen in particular would strive to learn the lessons of and so prevent another war. Only a few years later, however, in , that consensus shattered. Traditionalist critics of Fischer pointed to the universality of imperialistic, social Darwinist, and militaristic behaviour on the eve of the war. The kaiser, in his most nationalistic moods, only spoke and acted like many others in all the great powers. Joffre wonder excitedly if the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine were finally at hand, or the Primrose and Navy leagues thrill to the prospect of a Nelsonian clash of dreadnoughts?

Germans were not the only people who grew weary of peace or harboured grandiose visions of empire. To this universalist view, leftist historians like the American A. If anything, internal discord made for reticence rather than assertion on the part of their foreign policy elites. The conservative historian Gerhard Ritter even challenged the Fischer thesis in the German case. The real problem, he argued, was not fear of the Social Democrats but the age-old tension between civilian and military influence in the Prussian-German government.

Politicians, exemplified by Bethmann, did not share the eagerness or imprudence of the general staff but lost control of the ship of state in the atmosphere of deepening crisis leading up to Finally, a moderate German historian, Wolfgang J. Mommsen, dispensed with polemics altogether. Thus, the search for long-range causes, while turning up a wealth of new information and insight, ran ultimately aground. Imperial politics were simply not a casus belli for anyone except Britain. Military preparedness was at a peak, but armaments are responses to tensions, not the cause of them, and they had, perhaps, served to deter war in the numerous crises preceding Capitalist activity tied the nations of Europe together as never before, and in most leading businessmen were advocates of peace.

The alliance systems themselves were defensive and deterrent by design and had served as such for decades. Nor were they inflexible. Italy opted out of her alliance, the tsar was not bound to risk his dynasty on behalf of Serbia, or the kaiser his on behalf of Austria-Hungary, while the French and British cabinets might never have persuaded their parliaments to take up arms had the Schlieffen Plan not forced the issue.

Perhaps the crisis was, after all, a series of blunders, in which statesmen failed to perceive the effects their actions would have on the others. Perhaps a long-range view that is still serviceable is precisely the one derived from old-fashioned analysis of the balance-of-power system, forgotten amid the debates over national or class responsibility. This view, suggested by Paul Schroeder in , asks not why war broke out in but why not before?

What snapped in ? The answer, he argued, is that the keystone of European balance, the element of stability that allowed the other powers to chase imperial moonbeams at will, was Austria-Hungary itself. The heedless policies of the other powers, however, gradually undermined the Habsburg monarchy until it was faced with a mortal choice. At that point, the most stable member of the system became the most disruptive, the girders of security—the alliances—generated destructive pressures of their own, and the European system collapsed.

To be sure, Austria-Hungary was threatened with her own nationality problem, aggravated by Serbia. It could better have met that threat, however, if the great powers had worked to ameliorate pressures on it, just as they had carried the declining Ottoman Empire for a full century. Instead, the ambitions of Russia, France, and Britain, and the stifling friendship of Germany, only served to push Austria-Hungary to the brink.

This was not their intention, but it was the effect. This occurred naturally, as industrial power diffused, but was aggravated by the particular challenge of Germany. Situated in the middle of Europe, with hostile armies on two sides, and committed to the defense of Austria-Hungary, Germany was unable to make headway in the overseas world despite her strength. By contrast, relatively weak France or hopelessly ramshackle Russia could engage in adventures at will, suffer setbacks, and return to the fray in a few years.

Of course, Germany could have launched an imperialist war in or under more favourable circumstances. It chose not to do so, and German might was such that prior to the other powers never considered a passage of arms with Germany. Instead, Triple Entente diplomacy served to undermine Austria-Hungary.