General Question

MilkyWay's avatar

Do you think Germany was responsible for starting WW1 and WW2?

Asked by MilkyWay (13157 points ) November 21st, 2011

Responsible for WW1? If yes, then why? If no, then why?
Responsible for WW2? If yes then why? If no, then why?
I personally don’t think they were to be honest, but let’s put that aside. My view might change after reading some of your answers. ;)

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9 Answers

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

World War 1? No. That was a mistake made by many parties. Interlocking treaties, a desire to expand mercantilism, national patriotism, a failure to understand the lessons of the American Civil War.

World War 2? Yes. The debt placed on them by the victorious parties in the first World War was a catalyst, but people of good will stayed silent out of fear.

Now, my country has recently been involved in a war, which I did nothing to stop, even though I thought it may be a mistake. I stayed silent when it began. The AP believes there have been 110,000 civilian deaths. I imagine I own some of that due to my inaction.

zenvelo's avatar

From my limited memory, the entanglements between nations in 1914 led to WW I, although as I recall Germany under the Kaiser was an aggressor.

WWII was Germany’s fault pure and simple, with the invasion of Poland.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I don’t really know that much about either World War, but how was WWII not Germany’s fault? I’ve never heard that historiography before. Care to share?

WestRiverrat's avatar

Austria started WWI on the pretext of avenging their crown prince. They really just wanted to annex Serbia.

WW2 was started by the Germans, it reached the scope it did because France and Great Britain did nothing when Germany made several aggressive moves prior to the start of the war in Poland. Starting with the reoccupation of Rhineland, annexing Austria, Sudetenland and the rest of Czechoslovakia.

MilkyWay's avatar

@Aethelflaed I’m sorry, I think I should have reworded that. What I meant was that I think that WW1 wasn’t started by Germany.

PhiNotPi's avatar

The Germans were partially responsible for what happened in WWI, but are not responsible for starting it.

They were definitely responsible for starting WWII, at least the war in Europe. The war in the Pacific was mostly Japan, which was encouraged by Germany.

I am going to add that I do not hold present-day Germany responsible for the events of either war. Every single person in Germany who was alive during WWII is now above retirement age.

gondwanalon's avatar

Germans are good people who historically have had bad leaders. Germany has been blamed for starting WWI because it invaded Belgium and France in August 1914.

As far as WWII goes, the aggressions of both Germany and Japan can be pointed to for the cause.

dabbler's avatar

WW I was arguably started over oil in Iraq.
Germany was the only global power at the time without oil in its colonies. While all the other global powers cut over from coal to oil to power their navies, Germany needed an oil supply to follow suit.

mattbrowne's avatar

WWII, yes. WWI, no. An excellent book about the main factors leading to WWI is Ken Follett’s new book ‘Fall of Giants’.

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