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Germany SHOULD be blamed for the outcome of World War I

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/19/2013 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,042 times Debate No: 29352
Debate Rounds (4)
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I don't mean to come off as a rapacious nationalist, I've just been paying extra attention in History class, and would love to debate over this topic.

First I'd like to address the matter of the word "Outcome." Of course all of the countries involved would have contributed to the Outcome of the war, I only say outcome because I am not as into english as I am history, and cannot find a word to replace outcome.

When I say outcome, I really mean that, Germany IS at fault for World War I. It is in my personal preference to say Outcome, I apologize if you were anxious to argue otherwise.

Con must argue that Germany IS NOT at fault (responsibility for failure or a wrongful act) for World War I

First Round Acceptance (:



As I'm new here I'm not yet clear about the debate rules/format and would like to ask you to clarify. Are there universal rules for debates on this site or are they to be specified individually? Please kindly specify the tasks to be completed in each round.

Thank you and good luck :)
Debate Round No. 1


Thank you for accepting my debate, but before start I shall clarify some things for you. There are no universal rules for, most people like to set there own rules or limitations of how they want there debate to go, or setting outlines for how the opposition will have to prove their side of the debate. With that being said I ask you to disprove my arguments and use your arguments to counter mine and further prove not why Germany is fault for World War I. And so it begins (:

I believe that Germany is at fault for the outcome of World War I for three things. Their great dislike of France and eagerness for war, their failed war strategies (Specifically the Schleiffen Plan) and unrestricted submarine warfare, and finally their eagerness to fight and their disregard for other Countries during the war places the fault entirely on themselves.

Germany's dislike of France

Ever since and before the Franco-Prussian war France and Germany have had an immense feud. This feud was the reason for the FP war, the reason for Germany to declare war on France, and the reason for France to humiliate Germany within the treaty of Versailles. This humiliation would be Hitler's recourse to fuel Germany into World War II.
Germany even had a plan if they were ever to engage in war with France again. The fact that they planned ahead for a war that they thought was inevitable shows a distrust on both sides. Anyway, the Schlieffin plan was created so that they could get France out of the war early and focus on defeating Russia in the eastern front. The plan failed, and in the end, caused Britain's entry into the war. There dislike for France only made things worse for them. Both Russia and Britain had attempted to make peace, but Germany was determined to fight.

Failed War Strategies and Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

Originally Germany had planned to get France out of a war early with the Schlieffen plan. This plan was to cut through Belgium and flank France from the north, catching them off guard, and enabling a swifter end to the war. However this plan backfired. Britain was angered that Germany had invaded a neutral country. At first Britain had issued an ultimatum, saying that Germany would have to leave Belgium, or Britain would enter the war. However, Germany disregarded this ultimatum, and Britain was entered into the war. This was not Belgium's or Frances fault, Germany had completely ignored the fact that Britain would be entering the war, making it harder for Germany.
Germany however did not adapt to this idea at all. President Woodrow Wilson had asked Germany to stop sinking American ships, because the U.S was not directly involved in this war. Germany accepted this, but re-instated Submarine warfare later, thus causing the United States entry into the Great war. Germany's disregard allowed for Britain and the U.S to enter the war. They could have simply abridged to their requests, but instead, ignored them, causing more trouble for themselves.

Finally, Germany's Disregard during the War

You have heard already that Germany disregarded many other countries during the war. You have heard that this caused the entry of other large countries. And of course, all of this was entirely Germany's fault. They were not in a defensive state of mind. The craved a war with France and Germany, their only made it worse for them, and in the end, they are at fault.


(This was not one of my strongest debates, watch out for a fiercer one next time, and good luck in the following rounds (: )


Thank you for clarifying the rules and opening the debate.

In the following I will try to show that there were several other important factors contributing to WW1 due to which it is not possible to blame solely (or even mainly) Germany for WW1.

I start with the refutations:

Refutation of Affirmative Contention 1:

The affirmative's first contention is that Germany's dislike of France was a main factor of WW1. Germany declared war on France because of her dislike of France and that this in turn forced Britain to get involved. The affirmative however admits that the dislike was mutual.

Niall Ferguson [1] and many others suggest that England's involvement in the war wasn't really about Belgium/France and that it in fact just might have been a pretext. England followed selfish reasons and wanted to avoid Germany hegemony in continental Europe. But whatever the real reason was for England to get involved in the war it was only England’s entry into the war that transformed a continental conflict into a world war.

Refutation of Affirmative Contention 2:

The affirmative contention is that Germany's submarine warfare forced the US to enter the war.

It was Britain who first started to violate international law on the sea in August 1914 when they started to interfere with neutral food shipments to Europe. Shortly after they declared the whole sea from Scotland to Iceland as "war zone" and covered it with explosive floating mines. They then ordered all ships going to the Baltic, Scandinavia, or the Low Countries to go through the English Channel, where they were stopped, searched and much of their cargo seized, even if the cargo consisted of non-contraband goods. It was as a response to this that Germany declared the English Channel as a War Zone. For certain reasons the United States however recognized the war zone declared by Great Britain, but not the German War Zone. [2, p.182]

Refutation of Affirmative Contention 3:

This argument seems redundant to me as it reiterates the first contention.

In the following my arguments:

Contention 1: British Imperialism was a main factor for WW1. Great Britain's insatiable thirst for expansion of it's territory in the world led to imperialist rivalry among the nations [3]. Britain was envied by all other imperial powers, among them Germany. This led to imperialist rivalry which in turn led to armament and nationalistic chauvinism that was the foundation for the alliance system that later made a continental conflict almost inevitable.

Contention 2: WW1 was a tragic accident that was a result of complex alliance system that guaranteed that if a war erupted in any of the involved European countries all of Europe would get pulled in.

According to Carroll Quigley [2, p.167]

"The decade from the Entente Cordiale to the outbreak of war witnessed a series of political crises which brought Europe periodically to the brink of war and hastened the growth of armaments, popular hysteria, nationalistic chauvinism, and solidity of alliances to a point where a relatively minor event in 1914 plunged the world into a war of unprecedented range and intensity."

As the most significant among these crises he lists the following:

1905-1906 The First Moroccan Crisis and the Algeciras Conference
1908 The Bosnian Crisis
1911 Agadir and the Second Moroccan Crisis
1912 The First Balkan War
1913 The Second Balkan War
1913 The Albanian Crisis
1913 The Liman von Sanders Affairs
1914 Sarajevo

Thereby I conclude by reiterating my entry statement: There were several other important factors contributing to WW1 due to which it is not possible to blame solely (or even mainly) Germany for WW1.

[1] Was World War I the error of modern history?

[2] Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time, Carroll Quigley

[3] Origins of World War I

Debate Round No. 2


eltigrey forfeited this round.


Waiting for the affirmative side to respond...
Debate Round No. 3


eltigrey forfeited this round.


I extend all my arguments.

Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 4
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by pantai_rhei 3 years ago
Could please somebody vote? I don't mind for which side :)
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