Was Germany Mostly Responsible for the Onset of the Great War?

Origins of the Great War

Of all the European belligerents in 1914, was Germany mostly responsible for the onset of the Great War?

The Great War was a global military conflict that involved all the great European powers, primarily conflicting between two great alliances, as both sides fought to maintain the ‘balance of power’ in Europe. The war had been brought about by a web of secret diplomatic dealings, a complex and rigid military and political alliance system and a spiralling arms race. The war had disastrous results, unimagined before 1914, and there was a complete collapse of the European economy and industry. But the question that remained and is still being questioned, was who was responsible for the onset of the war, which country had unleashed those four catastrophic years we now know as the World War I.

Post war the Versailles peace treaty of 1919, stated unequivocally that Germany was solely responsible for the onset of the Great War and that they were to blame for all the loss and damage to which the other countries were subjected, as a consequence of which Germany had to compensate heavily. Yet, after years of research historians have come up with numerous alternative explanations to many pre-war activities, diplomatic dealings and ideas shared by each country, which provide a clearer explanation of each country’s involvement in the bringing about and culmination of the Great War. It is most commonly believed that Germany was mostly responsible for the onset of the war, but alternative justifications can be explored as well.

The other powers, namely France, Britain and Russia, believed that there might have been various other reasons that had been accumulating over the years and gradually building up tension amongst the European countries, such as the Moroccan Crises’, the Balkans War, growing imperialism across the world that brought about competition and instability etc. but that the war was mainly triggered by Germany’s final act of...