British classroom question: who is to blame for World War I? (Clue: it’s the Germans.)

The British Education Minister has said that the British fought World War I as a just war to prevent Germany’s aggressive bid to dominate Europe. The Prime Minister’s office says it sees nothing wrong with this.

Of course, there is another view, propagated by British and other historians, that Serbia started it by stirring up trouble in countries with Serb minorities, egged on by its Slav brother, Russia, in response to Austria’s greedy annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, unwisely supported by Germany, which wanted to be a great power and felt hostile to both Russia and France, all hardly helped on the eve of war by the British Foreign Secretary going off fishing while German troops mobilised, possibly hoping that Germany would be drawn into a war against both France and Russia which it was bound to lose.

But that’s a bit long, and as you have only 15 minutes, keep to the first version. And remember, this counts for the grades for your university place, which we might otherwise sell off for much more money to the Chinese.

Next week: why the European Union is wrong for Britain? (Clue: it’s the French.)

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One Response to “British classroom question: who is to blame for World War I? (Clue: it’s the Germans.)”

  1. Weltbuehne Says:

    I find that the underlying moral issues at stake in the First World war are best illustrated by the dilemma facing Italy. Should they be faithful to their existing alliance with militarism and aggression, with the prospect of (re)gaining Savoy, or should they support the cause of liberty, democracy and justice, to get South Tyrol, Trieste and the Adriatic coast? After much soul-searching, they chose South Tyrol, Trieste and the Adriatic coast. Sorry, I mean liberty, democracy and justice.

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