World issues as part of interpreting the
World War I, thefirst globally destructive conflict that the Western Civilization produced, has been the subject of various analysis, interpretations and reevaluations of the various causes that led to it. Initially, the guilt was placed upon Germany and its allies. Eventually, historical analysis conducted in decades after the event, lead to a shift from the guilt perspective, to a broader one of various interacting factors. Although almost nine decades have elapsed, one question still persists: “Which explanation is best suited as the cause of WWI?”
To provide an answer, the views of six historians shall be considered. To begin, James Joll’s answer to the question will be examined. It will be seen that he considered several factors that, according to him, interlinked and lead to the conflict. Five additional explanatory models will be analyzed: those of historians Arno Mayer, Wolfgang Mommsen, Donald Lammers, Micheal Gordon and Konrad Jarausch. They concentrated on more specific issues as part of interpreting the causes of the conflict.
In his 1980s book The Origins of the First World War, historian James Joll offers an explanation linking the entire social, political and economic spectrum of 20th C. Europe. First, he starts his search for a cause in the July Crisis of 1914.
The July 1914 crisis started with the diplomatic ultimatum that Austro-Hungary gave Serbia. The rest of the European powers, galvanized in the various alliance systems, where overwhelmed. Thus, Germany was offering unquestioned support to the Hapsburgs, even if it was to be military, whilst knowing that the Russians were objecting to any use of force against Serbia and threatening their intervention. France seemed confused, but was ready to support Russian intervention against Austria-Hungary. Britain, pressured both by France and Russia, was undecided until it officially announced its military support to them. In the end, according to Joll, in July “eve…