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Kaiser Wilhelm II -||- Wilhelm's Chancellors -||- Admiral von Tirpitz and the Naval Race -||- Alliance with Austria-Hungary -||- Relations with Europe -||- Internal Discontent and new Social Orders -||- Industry and Economy -||- The Schlieffin Plan -||- World War I

~~~~~-Wilhelm II's Germany-~~~~~

World War I

            Once it started it happened quickly.  Austria-Hungary declared war on the Balkans for the assassination of the Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand.  When that happened, the Balkans appealed to the Russians for help, and so the Russians armed and prepared to invade Austria.

            Germany then declared war on Russia and put the Schlieffen Plan into action, to have France before Russia arrived.  The action had France and Britain declare war on Germany.  This happened in a matter of days. 

            At first, the European community was excited at the prospect of war.  It brought back memories of the old honorable heroes of nobility and duty.  Add to that, they all expected to be home by Christmas.  Only a few guessed that the coming conflict would be disastrous.  Included was the socialist Jean Jaures, who said: “From a European war a revolution may spring up and the ruling classes would do well to think of this.  But it may also result, over a long period, in crises of counter-revolution, of furious reaction, of exasperated nationalism, of stifling dictatorships, of monstrous militarism, a long chain of retrograde violence”

            It is almost scary how accurate that prediction was.  The World War was a bloody one, leading to great losses of lives but it had to happen.

            I believe it was the transitional period between old day and modern day.  In World War I, Generals were still using horse cavalry, and sending soldiers out with swords and not guns.  The War would allow great leaps of technology, such as the invention of tanks, new guns, and improvements on airplanes, battleships, submarines and the technique of war in general.  The only thing negative about this was that it was progress in learning how to kill each other, not save one another. 

            Socially, it brought an end to the absolute power of the old monarchies and opened up a right for the voices of the people.  Many royal families ‘died’ at the end of World War I.  Even though they have royal blood living in the country today, these have no claim to any ceremonial throne, nor do they or the people want it.  The Hohenzollern’s (the Kaiser’s family), the Romanovs (of Russia) and the Habsburgs were amongst these.  The was (as Lenin said) ‘a mighty accelerator of events’ and led to many revolutions.  These were the Bolshevik ones of Russia, and the Fascist ones of Italy and eventually, Germany. 

            Economically, Europe was in ruins, providing an opportunity for America to become a world power.  In Germany especially, one US dollar was equal to a few million Franks.   France exhausted herself with revenge in the Ruhr valley, and Russia was never recovering well from all of her wars.  Even Britain was greatly weakened, being forced to be soft on Germany for financial means.