The Instigator
UtherPenguin
Con (against)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
bballcrook21
Pro (for)
Winning
6 Points

Germany was most responsible for the starting of WW1.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
bballcrook21
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/29/2015 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,334 times Debate No: 83181
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (23)
Votes (3)

 

UtherPenguin

Con

Comment or PM if you are inrested in debating.-Bop is on Pro-Follow the formatFormat:R1: Acceptance onlyR2: ArgumentsR3:rebuttalsR4:coclusions/counter-rebuttals (No new arguments)
bballcrook21

Pro

Thank you UtherPenguin for allowing me to debate this topic.

I will be lengthily referencing a very intreresting book written by famous WWI historian Laurence Lafore, called "The Long Fuse"

As this is a historical debate, opinionated argument that do not delve into fact are to be discouraged. However, you could argue to an extent the feasibility of one historical occurence in relation to WWI.

I will be pulling information from my personal library, and most of these works will not be found online.

I acknowledge the rules set forth by the instigator, and I shall act in those regards.

In Round 2, I shall present my argument as to why Germany was the biggest contributor to the start of World War I.
In Round 3, I shall present counteraguments to what my opponent previously stated.
In Round 4, I shall conclude and counter any rebuttals made.

I await your opening argument, and as always, good luck (You may be needing it).
Debate Round No. 1
UtherPenguin

Con

THanks to Con for accepting the rules/debate. Here are my opening arguments. Aplogies if my arguments are unusually short.

1. Russian Mobilization

On July 31, 1914, Russia mobilized it’s military against Austria, following the diplomatic crises between Austria and Serbia. This was preceded by a partial or “prepatory” stage of mobilization [1].

Germany demanded for French neutrality if Russia declares war. This demand makes sense because if France declared war, Germany would be left with little choice but to enact the Schlieffen Plan [4]

By definition, Germany cannot be held most responsible if Russia and France had mobilized their military’s first. Especially since France had little interests in the region aside from diplomatic ties to Russia [3]. France had left Germany with no choice other than to enact the Schliffen plan by refusing the remaining neutral in the war.

Sources:

  1. http://www.historyplace.com...
  2. https://www.youtube.com...
  3. https://causesofwwi.wordpress.com...
  4. https://www.youtube.com...

2. The "spark" that caused the war was not from Germany

Austria was the first country to declare war by invading Serbia. The declaration came as a result of Austria wanting to subjugate the Serbs, as they were the strongest voice for the creation of Yugoslavia. Austria saw such as a major threat to their power in the Balkans, a region recently abandoned by the Ottomans, and recently annexed by Austria [1]

The general consensus on historians is that the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the “spark” that caused the war [2]. Since The death of Franz Ferdinand was what compelled Austria to invade Serbia and for Russia to begin mobilizing, otherwise known as the July Crisis.

Yet note that in the entire month-long diplomatic cerfuffle, Germany was barely involved. The most that the germans did was issue a “blank cheque” [3] with Austria. Only promising support, as mentioned in the previous argument, Germany made no declarations of war until *after* Russia’s military mobilized. Germany had little role in the perpetuation of the July Crisis, only taking sides in the case of conflict and not making any declarations of war until after facing the threat of war.

How can Germany be most responsible for the war when Austria, Serbia, Russia, Beglium and France all mobilized before Germany finally declared war [3]? This alone cleary shows that Germany was not *most* responsible for WW1.

Source:

  1. http://www.history.com...
  2. http://www.historyplace.com...
  3. http://www.theguardian.com...
bballcrook21

Pro

Thesis:

Firstly, I would like to start by stating that Germany was not the only nation or entity responsible for the start of the war, but ultimately their rampant bellicosity and chauvinistic views towards European counterparts brought them into a world conflict.

First Argument (German Militarism):

Under the lead of Kaiser Wilhelm, Germany became extremely militaristic. Since 1892, Germans had expected a war with Russia and France, and had actually built a plan of action called the “Schlieffen Plan” to prevent a two-front war. The Schlieffen plan, stated that Germany would first perform a quick, massive attack against France, considered the most dangerous, and then go on to eliminate the Russian forces.

Second Argument (Outside Forces):

Externally, their Weltpolitik was aggressive and created problems with France, Britain and Russia, three of the great powers. The Moroccan incident and the military race had produced disagreements between Germany and France, while the naval race made Britain suspicious of Germany’s attempt to gain world power and overthrow their Empire. Moreover, at a German war council in 1912 it was agreed that because war would come eventually, it was better to fight at that moment, with Germany at its peak. In addition, Germany’s “Blank Cheque” in 1914 encouraged Austria to attack Serbia. This granted Austria “permission” to follow an aggressive behaviour that would knowingly create a conflict with Russia, the protector of the Serbs.

Official Start of the War:

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was murdered by Serb students inside Bosnia-Herzegovina. This incident, as insignificant as it may seem at an international level, was the main trigger for the detonation of the First World War, as it led to the Austrian invasion of Serbia. This supports the fact that Austria was keen to fight a war with the Serbs in order to solve the internal problems they had to face due to nationalism. This is emphasized by the Austrian ultimatum, considered unreasonable as it stated in one of its terms that the Serbs would have to allow Austrian officials inside their territory. This ultimatum can be considered as an excuse for the invasion of Serbia, as Austria’s Berchtold presumed the Serbs would refuse to accept it and it would seem he was determined to destroy the Serbian threat by direct military action.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, it could be argued that although there was some premeditated action from Germany, Austria-Hungary and also from some of the Allied powers, the war developed or worsened due to diplomatic miscalculations. Germany’s aggressive policy is shown to have been a terrible mistake, as although Germany was keen to fight a war to ease domestic problems, it had not planned to fight a world war with massive consequences and destruction. What is more, the atmosphere of mistrust created by the Alliance system was one of the most serious mistakes, as it led to hostility and massive paranoia between the countries. The Great Powers feared they would lose credibility and status if they sought diplomatic compromises, and in the end their fear for war led them straight into one.

Disclaimer:
It is intellectually dishonest to state that Germany was the definite cause of World War I. With current European issues, the war would have started eventually, it was just a matter of time.


Sources: (I do not use websites when arguing in history, as they are not credible. I have used books for this matter)

1. Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman
2. The Long Fuse by Laurence Lafore
3. Germany's Aims in the First World War by Fritz Fischer
4. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Debate Round No. 2
UtherPenguin

Con

Thanks to Pro for the first argument, here are my rebuttals.

R1:
" Under the lead of Kaiser Wilhelm, Germany became extremely militaristic. Since 1892, Germans had expected a war with Russia and France, and had actually built a plan of action called the “Schlieffen Plan” to prevent a two-front war. The Schlieffen plan, stated that Germany would first perform a quick, massive attack against France, considered the most dangerous, and then go on to eliminate the Russian forces."

Yet note, the Schliffen was only used to avert the threat of a two-front war. Germany was only intending to use the Schliffen Plan if forced to deal with a war on two fronts. Germany was in fact hesitant to such a strategy, they demanded for French neutrality because of that [1], France and Belgium were already mobilizing by that time. France's refusal to declare neutrality gave Germany little choice but the carry out the Scliffen as that was one of the only known strategies for dealing with a two fronts war.

Source:
1. http://www.debate.org...

R2: "Externally, their Weltpolitik was aggressive and created problems with France, Britain and Russia, three of the great powers. The Moroccan incident and the military race had produced disagreements between Germany and France, while the naval race made Britain suspicious of Germany’s attempt to gain world power and overthrow their Empire."

The Weltpolitik was made to avert the threat of war, even it isolated France the policy left Germany diplomatically well-favoured among most of Europe. If anything, the Weltpolitik averted the threat of war rather than increased it [1].

Source:
1. https://www.citelighter.com...

R3:" Germany’s “Blank Cheque” in 1914 encouraged Austria to attack Serbia. This granted Austria “permission” to follow an aggressive behaviour that would knowingly create a conflict with Russia, the protector of the Serbs."

The Blank Cheque was only made to preserve the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, they did not encourage or discourage Austrian aggression, they merely promised Germany support in whatever policy is pursued. Aside from that, Germany had little role in Austrian aggression.

Source:
1. http://www.greatwar.co.uk...

R4: "Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was murdered by Serb students inside Bosnia-Herzegovina. This incident, as insignificant as it may seem at an international level, was the main trigger for the detonation of the First World War, as it led to the Austrian invasion of Serbia. This supports the fact that Austria was keen to fight a war with the Serbs in order to solve the internal problems they had to face due to nationalism. This is emphasized by the Austrian ultimatum, considered unreasonable as it stated in one of its terms that the Serbs would have to allow Austrian officials inside their territory. This ultimatum can be considered as an excuse for the invasion of Serbia, as Austria’s Berchtold presumed the Serbs would refuse to accept it and it would seem he was determined to destroy the Serbian threat by direct military action."

This argument proves my point, WW1 was triggered more a result of Austrian aggression over German militarism. The spark that triggered the war occurred in the Balkans, the diplomatic cerfuffle that resulted later on was kept between Serbia, Austria and Russia for the bulk of the July Crisis. If Germany joined the discussion so late into July, how can they be placed as most responsible? My opponent has indirectly conceded on this part, by acknowledging that what triggered the war primarily came from Austria and Serbia, not from Germany.

That ends my rebuttals, onto you pro ;).
bballcrook21

Pro


The entirety of my opponent’s argument is nothing but pure ignorance of history.



Firstly, no individual will tell you that something other than the assassination of the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. That would be completely ludicrous, and would never be proven by any insurmountable amount of evidence.



Your argument rests on the idea that Gavrilo Princip, the Serbian assassin, caused the start of the war, which he did. However, you forget one key historical fact, that Austria-Hungary took 6 weeks to respond to the assassination.



It was in fact the blank cheque system, given by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany to the Austrians, that allowed for them to carry out this war. The majority of the Hungarian region, which is what borders Serbia, is underdeveloped and agricultural, and lacks proper infrastructure to transport a great amount of troops. On the other hand, Austria was the industrial sector of the empire. The Parliament of Austria Hungary relied on democratic approaches, but failed significantly. The Emperor had to rule by decree, since the Austrian parliament could not agree on key issues and actions. The Hungarians perfected Parliamentary procedure by oppressing the minorities and staffing the legislature with only Hungarians.



Rebuttal 1



Your argument on the blank cheque is wrong on an incredulous level. The Blank Cheque system was a guarantee by the Kaiser of Germany to the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, that if any war ensued, the Austrians would have full German military and political support.



Serbia is among the group of small Balkan states. The only nation that is Slavic that could bear militarily to the other European powers was Russia. The Ottoman Empire has had long standing conflicts with Russia, mainly over the dominance of Crimea. The Ottoman Empire has, on multiple occasion, invaded the Slavic regions of Europe, and has held the territories for an extensive period of time.



As shown by the map below, the strait that monitors trade from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean is owned by the Ottoman Empire, which not only has religious and cultural differences from Russia, but has also had terrible relations with them in the past. If the Slavic Regions were to be controlled by Austria-Hungary, then a possible Ottoman alliance against the interests of Russia would have been detrimental to their naval and trade capacity. If my opponent has studied history, he would know that Russia’s largest aim in the 19th and 20th century was to gain a warm water port, as the only ports they had to conduct trade was in the Baltic Sea, which freezes over in the winter.



I would also like to mention the fact that the Ottomans did in fact join the War, on the side of Austria Hungary, after the British pursued a German warship into Ottoman territory, thereby angering them tremendously.




France, Germany, and Britain



When German Chancellor Otto van Bismarck stated that Germany should be in the among the 3 strongest European states (Great Britain, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Germany), the Kaiser did not listen. In fact, he forced Bismarck to abdicate as Chancellor.



Germany effectively alienated Great Britain by joining the naval race, in which they tried to create a stronger or at least equal navy to that of Great Britain. The intention of this act was to provide great risk to the British in the event that they joined a war against the German Industrial machine. The result of these actions were adversely different, in which it drove Great Britain further into an alliance with the French, who always had disdain for the Germans.



In 1871, the last Franco-Prussian war ended with a Prussian victory. The Prussians, lead by Bismarck, marched into France, proclaimed their newly gained territory as the German state, and forced the French to pay heavy reparations, in order to stop a possible French attack in the near future. The reasoning behind this was revenge, as the French had for a long time done what was possible to keep the dozens of German states from unifying.



The rulers of Europe were all related by blood, as their mother was Queen Victoria II of Great Britain. The King of Great Britain had just passed away, and so did British relations with Germany. The new leader of Great Britain, George V, used to stow away on frivolous parties in France, where he engaged in sexual activities with various women. George always had love for Paris, and had unquestionable support for the French during the war.



An Alliance of 3



In 1882, the Triple Alliance was formed. In 1894, the Franco-Russian alliance was formed to counter rising German aggression. From 1898-1912, the Germans and the British ramped up naval production and technology. In 1904, the Entente Cordiale was signed. In 1907, the Anglo-Russian Entente was created. From 1908-1909 the Bosnian Crisis occurred.



The Triple Alliance was among Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy. It stated that in the event of a European war, these nations would come to each other’s assistance. Upon renewing this agreement, Italy secretly extended this same alliance to France. This is the reason as to why the Triple Alliance lasted just until the start of World War I in 1914.



The Franco Russian Alliance in 1894 guaranteed a united war against Germany in case of German aggression. This is the exact reason as to why the Schlieffen plan was created, in which they would attack France from their strong right wing by running through Belgium. The reason it failed was because the Belgians didn’t allow Germany to go through, so they had to invade. This violated the Treaty of London, in which Great Britain assured Belgian neutrality. Great Britain would not have joined the war if Belgium wasn’t attacked by Germany.



The 14 year long Naval Race disparaged British-German relations to the point in which Britain had created a mutual military alliance with France. This was called the Entente Cordiale, which was signed in 1904.



The Ottomans and the British had bad relations as well, due to Ottomans wanting control of North African British territory, as well as being the dominant Mediterranean naval power. This led the way for the Anglo-Russian Entente, in which Great Britain and Russia would join together in any war.



Rebuttal 2



My opponent's counterarguments are badly formed and rather weak. They are quite short, and are explained poorly, and none of my opponents facts disprove any of mine. In fact, my opponents arguments are not even close to being correct.



A fundamental cause of World War I was the spread of nationalism, which eventually lead to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, which was essentially the catalyst of World War I. Militarism was the second most important factor in contributing to the outbreak of World War I, because it started military and naval rivalry and a preference for offensive warfare, which made sure that all the European powers were ready for war by 1914. There was a significant rise in the army and naval estimates of the European powers in these years. Increased war expenditure enabled all the powers to raise more armies and improve their battleships and meant that all the European powers were prepared for war by 1914. Germany’s Schlieffen Plan meant that Germany entered Belgium, which in turn broke the terms of The Treaty of London, which stated that Belgium would remain a neutral country. Britain then declared war to obey the terms of the Treaty of London, which therefore led the countries into war because the alliance system meant that certain countries had to help each other out if help was needed. Imperialism in Europe was the third most significant cause of World War I because it led to increased tensions and colonial and naval rivalry. With the rise of industrialism, countries needed new markets. By 1900, the British Empire extended over five continents and France had acquired large areas of Africa. In 1888, when Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power as Germany’s ruler, the Weltpolitik foreign policy was adopted under his rule. This was the policy of expansion (especially overseas), and the creation of a big navy and colonial empire. Other European powers had “anti-German” fever, especially in England in the 1900’s as a result of Weltpolitik. This aggressive foreign policy led to war because it increased tensions with other powers by expanding colonial interests and threatening their overseas interests. It directly challenged the British naval superiority, and it was an attempt to take Britain’s place as a leading colonial power. Also, in 1905, during the time of the Moroccan Crises, Wilhelm II announced his support for Moroccan independence. War was avoided by the Algeciras conference which allowed France to once again retain possession of Morocco. However, in 1911, the Germans protested against this, but Britain supported France as one of the terms of the Entente Cordiale (1904) and Germany only ended up acquiring a small strip of the French Congo. This colonial rivalry led to even more strained relations between Germany and France.


Sources:
1. http://www.bbc.com...
2. The Long Fuse by Laurence Lafore
3. The Guns of August by Barbare Tuchman
4. World History by Philip Parker
5. http://history.stackexchange.com...
6. http://www.firstworldwar.com...
7. http://www.thehistoryforum.com...
8. History of the World by J.K. Roberts
9. All Quiet on the Western Front by Remarque

Debate Round No. 3
UtherPenguin

Con

In this round, I’ll do my final rebuttals and conclusive arguments.

R1: It was in fact the blank cheque system, given by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany to the Austrians, that allowed for them to carry out this war. The majority of the Hungarian region, which is what borders Serbia, is underdeveloped and agricultural, and lacks proper infrastructure to transport a great amount of troops. On the other hand, Austria was the industrial sector of the empire. The Parliament of Austria Hungary relied on democratic approaches, but failed significantly. The Emperor had to rule by decree, since the Austrian parliament could not agree on key issues and actions. The Hungarians perfected Parliamentary procedure by oppressing the minorities and staffing the legislature with only Hungarians.

The blank cheque was called blank for a reason. Germany did not advise Austria neither dissuade them from declaring war, they only promised support no matter the resolution [1]. Austria was already intent on war with Serbia. They had set an ultimatum intentionally designed for the Serbians to deny to justify war [2]. As already mentioned in the previous round, Germany had little to do with Austrian aggression aside from issuing the Blank Cheque. Germany and Austria were both allies, it would have been natural then that Germany would have supported Austria.


Source:

  1. 1. http://www.history.com...
  2. 2. http://www.firstworldwar.com...

R2: “Your argument on the blank cheque is wrong on an incredulous level. The Blank Cheque system was a guarantee by the Kaiser of Germany to the Emperor of Austria-Hungary, that if any war ensued, the Austrians would have full German military and political support.

Pro has made a misrepresentation of my argument; I had explicitly mentioned that the Blank Cheque was a declaration of Austrian support as seen here:

The Blank Cheque was only made to preserve the alliance between Germany and Austria-Hungary, they did not encourage or discourage Austrian aggression, they merely promised Austria support in whatever policy is pursued.
 
Therefore, pro’s argument in the previous statement failed to prove neither disprove anything, and had only made a misrepresentation of my argument.
 
R3:  “My opponent's counterarguments are badly formed and rather weak. They are quite short, and are explained poorly, and none of my opponents facts disprove any of mine. In fact, my opponents arguments are not even close to being correct. 
 
In the rebuttal stage, I was yet to see how  my arguments were factually incorrect or “poorly” formed as my opponent suggests. This was also seen in the beginning of the rebuttal round when my opponent said 
 
The entirety of my opponent’s argument is nothing but pure ignorance of history.
 
However in all three of his arguments, he did not explicitly explain why this was the case, instead going with the assertion that my arguments were wrong while failing to provide evidence to it. The one time that my opponent did directly address my argument (see “R1” of this round) He instead made a misrepresentation of the argument. Therefore, Pro has failed the Burden of Proof in this regard.
 
In Conclusion:
Points of my previous arguments are as followed:
 
1)     Russia, France and Belgium began mobilizing prior to Germany’s declarations, therefore Germany cannot be held most responsible for the conflict when other countries had been preparing for war previously.
2)     The “spark” that caused the war did not come from Germany, but instead came from Austrian aggression. If Austria was the first aggressor of the war and the same country that prompted Russia to mobilize, Germany cannot be held most responsible since they were not the first or main aggressors. 
3)     Political climate of Europe had made the Schliffen Plan necessary for Germany to survive a two front’s war.


In regards to rebuttals, my opponent has failed to properly address my arguments in rebuttal. He tried to make new arguments during the rebuttal rounds, much of which was irrelevant to the main resolution. Pro had failed to adequately show how Germany was most responsible for the war (a request explicitly made in the resolution/ first round), as seen in the “disclaimer” at the end of my opponents opening argument

“I
t is intellectually dishonest to state that Germany was the definite cause of World War I.” He had made a conceding point, alongside failing to meet the Burden of Proof (See “R3” of the rebuttals)
 
With all previous points said, it is therefore unreasonable to hold Germany most responsible for starting World War 1.
 
Vote Con
 
Onto you Pro ;)
bballcrook21

Pro

Concluding Arguments/ Rebuttals:

Contention 1:

"The blank cheque was called blank for a reason. Germany did not advise Austria neither dissuade them from declaring war, they only promised support no matter the resolution"

Firstly, you are misunderstanding what the blank cheque meant. It is quite evident that if Germany, being the most industrialized power in Europe at the time, gives another nation full military support based upon any decision, that you would be more persuaded to act in that regard. The Austria-Hungarians were quite knowledgeable of Russian and Balkan alliances, but with the help of the Ottoman Empire and the support from the German Empire, they were quite sure they would succeed.


Additionally, one must not forget the current state of Russia and its military.

"The Allies did not seriously concern themselves with Russia's military defects, although Ian Hamilton, Britain's military observer with the Japanese, had reported them pitilessly from Manchuria. They were: poor intelligence, disregard of cover, disregard of secrecy and swiftness, lack of dash, lack of initiative,and a lack of good generalship" [1]


Contention 2:

"Pro has made a misrepresentation of my argument; I had explicitly mentioned that the Blank Cheque was a declaration of Austrian support as seen here..."

I can assume my opponent, that there was no misunderstanding of any argument. From an objective standpoint, it is incorrect to state that the Blank Cheque of Germany had no backing. It was full and unconditional support of any major military or political decision that the Austro-Hungarian Empire would ever make.


Through indirect means, in this case specifically, Germany helped to cause the World War.

Let me explain it to you in detail:

When the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife were killed by Serbian nationalist and Pan-Slav supporter Gavrilo Princip, the nation was outraged.


Serbia even attested to allowing the nationalist movement to continue. The reason being, was that the previous Serbian monarch had been deposed, and that it was very crucial to the Serbian government to stay in power by supporting nationalist and Pan-Slavic political parties/movements.

The intention of Austria-Hungary was not to invade the Serbians. In fact, it took about 6 weeks for the Austro-Hungarians to come up with a punishment to levy upon Serbia. This eventually became a list of grievances that Serbia was to uphold. The Serbian government accepted most, but denied few, mostly which violated the Serbian Constitution, such as pro-Austrian propaganda and expulsion of freedom of press in relation to Austria.


The Austrian army barely outnumbered the Serbian army, and the thought of a Russian offensive was too much to bare. It was evident and turned out to be true when the Austrians were scared of Russia's interests in relation to the Black Sea. The "Russian Steamroller", as they called it, wanted warm water ports in the Black Sea, and a group of Austrian puppet regimes in the Balkans, which would turn out to be anti-Russia, was too big of a risk for the Tsarist state to take.


Contention 3:

"However in all three of his arguments, he did not explicitly explain why this was the case, instead going with the assertion that my arguments were wrong while failing to provide evidence to it. The one time that my opponent did directly address my argument (see “R1” of this round) He instead made a misrepresentation of the argument. Therefore, Pro has failed the Burden of Proof in this regard."

This is by no means a rebuttal. Purely stating the structure of my argument, and then providing no historical context in a history debate is by no means a counter argument. It is purely identification of narration.


Contention 4 - The War Guilt Clause:

As outlined in the Treat of Versailles, which set out a limit on German military, eventual occupation of the Ruhr and the Rhineland, heavy reparations, deposition of the monarchy and Kaiser Wilhelm, as well as a smattering of "guilt" with the intention of providing safe way for France.


When France made these demands, many found it unreasonable. However, France, along with many other world powers, including the United States, saw Germany as the aggressor of the war.


This allowed for France to punish Germany significantly, and then practically get away with it politically unscathed. (Although Hitler's hatred for France and the Treaty didn't work out too well for the French government and people).

Most Important Contention and Conclusive Statement


The biggest mistake of my opponent is the tightly formulated and secretive Alliance system. What my opponent fails to realize is that Austria was not the aggressor of a war against either Britain, Belgium, or France.


Austria declared war on Serbia, and Serbia alone. They did so because of a push from Germany. The intention of the Germans was to force Russia to declare war on Austria, in which their alliance system would force a French declaration of war, which would be paired by a German declaration of war on both Russia and Austria.

The point of this scheme was for Germany too look like the defenders, in which case it would dissuade Britain from going on the French side in the war.

Sub - Contention

What my opponent also forgets was the long drafting of a war plan, titled the "Schlieffen Plan". This plan was made for swift victory over the French and eventual victory over the Russians.


The rampart militarism and chauvinism of the German monarch led to a strained relationship within many European powers.


Sub - Contention 2

The Treaty of London declared Belgian neutrality in European military affairs, and was reaffirmed by the British. The invasion of Belgium by the Germans automatically brought in 2 European nations into the war on the Allied Side.


The unrestricted naval warfare on British and American cargo and tourist vessels also brought the United States into the war.

By definition, Germany brought in more nations on the other side of the war than any other European nation did, therefore it is most responsible for the start of World War I.

If it was a war between Serbia, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, with German support, it would not have been a world war. However, Germany brought in the United States, Britain, France, and Belgium on the Allied Side.

Conclusion:

  • Firstly, my opponent has ill proved that Germany was least responsible for the start of the World War. Instead, he has shown incorrect assumptions relative to the scope of the conflict.
  • Second, my opponent has failed to properly counter the claims made in my proposal, and has also failed to provide sufficient evidence as to why he is correct.
  • Thirdly, he has argued very little, and shown very little substance in his argument. It is clearly evident that my argument is not lacking of evidence and truth, unlike my opponents.
  • Lastly, my opponent has done very little in writing his own arguments. The majority of his contentions have either been directly copied from a source, or have been claims quoted from my arguments.
Vote Pro, as I have properly identified both the causes and the scope of the war, and the reasons as to why Germany was most responsible.


Sources:
[1]The Long Fuse - Barbara Tuchman
[2]http://www.firstworldwar.com...
[3]http://www.bbc.com...
[4]http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
[5]http://www.independent.co.uk...
[6]http://www.johndclare.net...
[7]http://www.academia.edu...


Debate Round No. 4
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by bballcrook21 1 year ago
bballcrook21
@Donald.keller

Thank you very much. The only thing I had problems with for this debate was that I maxed out the character limit and couldn't write more.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
I'm glad we got three votes in. I specifically requested a number of voters tackle this debate because it seemed to be of such quality, and had so much effort put into it.

The debaters should be proud.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Well, I don't mind being the dissenting vote. Good debate, guys.
Posted by donald.keller 1 year ago
donald.keller
The Voter's Union has voted three times on this debate.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
Bball, I specifically referenced the topic in my RFD. I know what it is. It's a large part of the reason why I decided as I did. If you've got a disagreement with it, then we can discuss it, but I am clear on how I decided within the context of the resolution.
Posted by bballcrook21 1 year ago
bballcrook21
Whiteflame, I would rethink your RFD if I were you. The name of the debate is "Germany was MOST responsible". I never said they were the only ones that were responsible, but they were most responsible.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
RFD (Pt. 1):

As I read through this debate, one thing I thought was remarkable was just how different the strategies of the two debaters was. Con focused on debating the topic with the bare minimum historical analysis, spending as little time explaining his points as possible and thus making it appear as though he's ignoring quite a bit of the overall context in which these facts arose. Pro was more focused on explicating the war as a whole and less on the debate topic, spending much of this time establishing the context, but often to the point that much of what he was discussing was irrelevant to negating the debate topic. So Con is more focused on a slimmed down debate that doesn't actually involve much history, whereas Pro was more focused on the history but not so much the debate. Not sure how that happened, but it ends up not being what decides the outcome of the debate from my perspective.

Pro clearly has the stronger understanding of the historical context. That should have made this easy, and I think that if some of his arguments had come out earlier in the debate, it would have. The idea that the start of war isn't necessarily the start of the world war is an intriguing one, but the delineation between the two wars isn't really explicated until R4, so I can't do much with that. That also means that I can't do much with all of this background showing that Germany drew in other countries to the conflict, which is true, but not the basis for starting WWI unless I have a clear reason to believe that the war started when they joined. What it sounds more like is that Germany was most responsible for expanding the war, which is a different concept altogether.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 2)

Perhaps I still could vote Pro on the basis that Germany provided the necessary incentive to push Austria to action. There was clear incentive on the part of Austria to engage in conflict with Serbia, but perhaps that incentive would not have been sufficient to spur them to action without assurances that they would be able to win the ensuring conflict, something that Austria clearly couldn't do alone. Pro even tells me in R2 that the official start of the war was the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and that it "was the main trigger for the detonation of the First World War".

This sets the unstated burdens of the debate for me. When I see this, it tells me that none of the actions taken directly by Germany were most responsible for the starting of WWI, contrary to Pro's later assertions. If this was THE main trigger, then I assume for the rest of the debate that whichever country was most responsible for this specific action is the country most responsible for starting the war.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 3)

As a result, what decides the debate for me is whether or not I can get a clear explanation for Germany's causal input to the assassination, and from what I've read, I don't get it. Con tells me that Austria was the one that made the decision in the end, and that Germany's involvement was merely supportive of any action rather than this one, meaning that their contribution to this specific action was nebulous at best. Still, a nebulous action might be sufficiently causal, if not for Austria's prior aggression against Serbia and clear intent to attack. Pro doesn't respond to this, which is concerning to me because it tells me that Austria didn't much care about self-preservation in the fallout from the assassination. Maybe they still did, and I could see an opportunity for Pro to use Con's statement that being allies with Germany asssured that Austria would always have that support, meaning that even early Austrian aggression was the result of knowing that Germany had their back, though I don't get that argument from Pro.

So what I'm left with is a very nebulous argument from Pro stating that the Blank Cheque, which came later than Austria's actual threats to commit to a war, was more responsible for the war than Austria's own choices that led to the assassination. What Pro had to do was show that the Blank Cheque was essentially responsible for their actions, that Austria was either already dependent on German protection when they made these threats (as I explained above), or that those threats were all bluster and that Austria would not have taken action based on those threats without a certainty of German support. Pro essentially had to show that the Blank Cheque was causal, and not just a stimulating factor, something that I don't think he accomplished.
Posted by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
(Pt. 4)

It doesn't help his case when he tells me that war would have happened in any case, with or without German help. When he later tells me that Germany was absolutely necessary and that the 6 week delay from Austria-Hungary (which came after the perpetuating event, and thus is rather inconsequential since it was already agreed that the assassination itself was the necessary step) was the result of their insecurity with the prospect of engaging in a war, it really doesn't do much to alter how I view the debate. Even if I bought that the 6 week period was important, the only conclusion I could come to is that Austria would have delayed the onset of the war further if not for German backing. If it would have happened regardless of the circumstances, then I don't see why Germany was mainly responsible, or why Austria was absolutely necessary either. If the war was always just a matter of time, then is responsibility really in the hands of any country?

Now, Con doesn't make this argument, but the line from Pro still makes me consider Pro's overall argument with some concern. Pro seemed to spend a lot of his opening round undercutting the very arguments he makes later.

As a result, I'm not buying Pro's claim that Germany was chiefly responsible for starting WWI. His argument makes me think that Germany was most responsible for WWI as a whole being as terrible as it was, but initiation and perpetuation are two very different things. Much as I buy that German involvement was important in deciding when and where it would start, causality is never firmly established, and that leaves me to believe that the country that physically started it was Austria, which leads me to vote Con.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 1 year ago
whiteflame
UtherPenguinbballcrook21Tied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Given in comments.
Vote Placed by tajshar2k 1 year ago
tajshar2k
UtherPenguinbballcrook21Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con says the BOP is on Pro, but this is unfair since Pro is arguing for the status quo. It is already known Germany is the cause of WW1, so I will be judging the debate based on the BOP being on Con. I realized Con needs to prove that some external factor was more responsible than Germany was. His argument was that such acts like Russian Mobilization were more responsible, since they mobilized before Germany. He also states the Assignation of the Archduke was also the cause of the war. I',m not very convinced by the fact that mobilization would cause war. Con could have spent more time explaining that part a bit. His source even says Germany was the only one to actually declare war first, so this hurts Con more than it does Pro. Pro is able to show the reason for the mobilization, is that was a result of Germany's militarism, and how a war would have started eventually. This way basically the deciding point in the debate, because Con didn't really convince me. Pro wins this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
Midnight1131
UtherPenguinbballcrook21Tied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD IN COMMENTS - If either side has any issue with this vote feel free to message me. This is a vote from the Voter's Union.