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Who bore responsibility for the start of World War I?
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European expansionism led to the outbreak

Imperialistic and nationalistic feelings were widespread as nations scrambled to claim their pieces of unclaimed territories. Due to the scramble for colonies, tensions arose between the European powers, who viewed the amount of land as direct indicators of world power.

The Argument

Before the onset of WW1, there was a great scramble for colonies in Africa, resulting in various diplomatic issues between European actors. With the age of imperialism in full swing, most European powers were greatly interested in spreading and imposing their culture and values onto Africa's inhabitants. A specific crisis, known as the First Moroccan Crisis, involving Morocco, France, and Germany, stands out. In this case, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany declared support for Morocco to maintain their independence amidst France and Britain's attempts to colonize the territory. His declaration also served to dispute the balance of European powers at this time, which was dominated by the Entente Cordiale, France, and Britain.[1] By declaring support for Moroccan independence, the Kaiser also advocated for equal trade opportunity for Germany in Morocco. Although unintended, this action strengthened the relationship between France and Britain, united by distaste in Germany. A second Moroccan crisis arose in 1911 when a German gunboat, the Panther, was dispatched to the territory.[2] This led to a series of negotiations and dialogues between the powers to discuss both the Morocco crisis and compensation to Germany for events occurring in the Congo, another African colony. These conflicts, risen from the imperialistic foreign policy employed at the time by many major powers, resulted in increased tensions, formations of allyships, and ultimately caused World War 1.

Counter arguments

Although many world powers of the time were involved in imperialist foreign policy, Germany was one of the aggressors in both imperialism and foreign policy with other European powers. All the other actors can not be held responsible. Germany contributed to the tension more and in different ways compared to the other European powers.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 22 Oct 2020 at 16:41 UTC

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