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Christina070's avatar

Do internal forces or external forces have more influence over national policies/ leaders between 1910-1918?

Asked by Christina070 (106 points ) August 8th, 2011

I’m kind of stuck on this question for my history assignment. Do internal (domestic) forces or external (international) forces have more influence over national policies/ leaders in Austria-Hungary and Germany between 1910–1918?
I would very much appreciate the help! Thanks :)

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15 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think you can make the argument in either direction. Go over some basic facts of those years and make a decision as to which you think had more influence.

Zaku's avatar

That’s a seriously academic question, meaning who the hell would ever ask that except a history professor, and even then, for what reason? And, could there even possibly be an actual answer? Is the teacher trying to make you all hate history?

It’s just an excuse the give you something to write about. The most obvious external forces are the assassination and the treaty, diplomatic and military actions of the wars the assassination sparked. Before the war and during it there were of course also internal forces (though of course that’s an invented concept too), such as economics, politics, and cultural traditions.

It doesn’t matter which had more influence, though, even for the assignment. The question just provides an opportunity for you to show you know things about the period, and that you can form arguments that use that knowledge. Go find all the events you know about that involve internal or external “forces”, find more if you don’t have enough, then pick the most interesting ones, and write about them, comparing them to each other and weighing them or whatever makes sense to you, followed by some sort of conclusion.

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Aethelflaed's avatar

Oy. I know nothing about WWI, but for all history papers, this is how you write it: Pick a side. Any side, doesn’t matter which, the important thing is to write the paper and get a grade for it. Find evidence to support that side. Should you find evidence that doesn’t support your chosen position, address that and take a gander as to why it might be that way; it will make your position look stronger. Should you find lots of evidence that doesn’t support your position, change your position to the one that is supported.

What sources do you have for this?

Poser's avatar

There is a serious problem with the way that history is taught. Just as there is no “right” answer to the serious issues in foreign and domestic policy every nation faces today, there are no “right” answers to the serious issues in foreign and domestic policy every nation has faced in past eras. Or rather, if there are “right” answers, no one can agree on them. The best we can do is to use historical comparisons and trace causes and effects from decisions made previously to outcomes experienced as a result of those decisions. Yet history textbooks are written (and consequently history teachers teach) as if all of history was a forgone conclusion; a fatalistic journey from one mundane event to the next.

You don’t have to give in to this tripe. There is no right or wrong answer to your question. There is only evidence for or against a particular point of view. Examine the evidence, and choose an answer. Or choose no answer. Or choose both answers. Just choose for yourself, because it will help you develop a better view of the world of 2011, not because your history teacher says it’s of vital importance that you understand the Germany of 1910–1918.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Poser I don’t think anywhere in the question the OP stated that the teacher said there was a right or wrong answer. Nor have I heard any history teacher (especially college professors) ever actually say that there is.

YARNLADY's avatar

I would answer “No, neither on can be said to have more influence”. Then give examples of both.

_zen_'s avatar

What @Aethelflaed said is good advice. Basically, it’s to show you’ve read up on the subject. Good luck.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Oh! Oh oh! Oh! And, if you do switch sides, remember to mention it, and walk your teacher through this process of you changing your mind, because they love seeing that you actually struggled with the issue and were willing to go with the evidence instead of just finding stuff that supported your opinion, no matter how ill-supported.

_zen_'s avatar

But don’t make it too obvious you are sucking up. There are some teachers who aren’t complete morons.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@zen That’s why I said “if”. Don’t fake it, that’s how they catch you.

Poser's avatar

@Aethelflaed Did you go to public high school? I did. It wasn’t until college that I had a teacher teach otherwise (and that’s not to suggest that there aren’t college history courses that are taught this way). The question the OP posted certainly does imply that there is one correct answer.

You should check out Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@Poser Yes. And while I agree that the textbooks are horrible, they’re also not written by actual history teachers, and none of my teachers used them. Most of my teachers in public high school still said that history was subjective (though, there were still wrong answers, like saying that the Baroque period influenced ancient Greece). I read the OP as her not knowing where to start, or hoping someone could help guide her to figuring out an answer, not as that the teacher had said there was only one right answer. And many students take awhile to believe teachers when they say that history is subjective, thinking it’s a trick and is still black and white like math; that doesn’t mean the teacher did anything to imply that it was black and white. I don’t quite understand where you inferred that there was one right answer.

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