ncreasing amounts of fuel was added along with the spark of ignition by the declining relationship between Serbia and the Austria-Hungarian
Respond to the following in discussion form:
I would agree with Professor Merriman’s inclination towards the
view that Europe pre-1914 was standing on the precipice of war waiting
for the final push sending it over the edge into total war. I base my
inclination towards this interpretation based primarily on the military
and political climate surrounding European events following the
Franco-Prussian War and its accompanying tensions. Regarding the outcome
of the Franco-Prussian War, our class reading points out that France’s
loss resulted in cession of the Alsace and Lorraine territories to
Germany which soured continued relations between Germany following the
demoralizing defeat of the French at Sedan and Paris. This
demoralization resulted in new strategies and emphasis on rebuilding
espirit de corps and, as pointed out by the Saylor Foundation, élan in
the French forces in case of future wars and attempts to regain Alsace
and Lorraine out of national pride.
While the Schlieffen Plan and France’s revised Plan XVII
demonstrated the determination of both sides towards asserting their
will over traditional rivals the Franco-Prussian War and the
militaristic developments only provided more fuel to the growing pile
awaiting its igniting stimulus. A very large issue that contributed to
the scale of the war and its outbreak was the growth of polarized
military alliances. These polarized military alliances focused greatly
on reactions between conflicts including Germany, France, Serbia, Russia
and Austria. These polarizing alliances were discussed within our class
reading on the Balkan causes of World War I and in the video lecture.
The item I found interesting in Professor Merriman’s lecture was the
assertion that Russia saw itself as the guide and guardian of the Slavic
people which increased tensions between the ethnic Slavs of Hungary and
Serbia against the interests of the Austria-Hungarian empire.
Increasing amounts of fuel was added along with the spark
of ignition by the declining relationship between Serbia and the
Austria-Hungarian Empire following the assassination of Grand Duke Franz
Ferdinand. What I found especially interesting in our class reading was
how long it took between the murder of Franz Ferdinand and the decision
for war against Serbia which left ample time for diplomacy.
Unfortunately the Austrian Council of Ministers decided to support war
rather than seek a diplomatic solution or arbitration, and a lot of that
I attribute to the inability to look beyond the perceived hierarchy in
Europe, which then drew the other great powers into a global war.