Ques: - To what extent can Germany be held responsibility for causing two world wars? Discuss critically.
Ans: - Germany has been projected as harbinger of world wars and William Kaiser as well as Hitler are believed to be the main protagonists of the First World War and the Second World War respectively. After the First World War in the treaty of Versailles war guilt was placed on the head of Germany on the basis of the article 231 of the treaty. On the other hand Second World War was declared to be Hitler’s war while allied powers were presented merely as victims of the situation. But the situation before the world wars was so complex that it is not possible to draw a line of demarcation between the guilty and the innocent.
Behind the First World War Germany was definitely accountable as it gave to Austria unconditional support on the issue of Serbia. In this way German ruler, William Kaiser, brought Europe on the brink of war. But even other European powers made their contribution to it. Russia through giving open support to Serbia and France further added fuel to the fire. On the other hand Britain did not make any serious effort to avert the war.
Even during the Second World War, more or less same condition is visible. It is true that Hitler started unrestricted expansion by challenging the European order. He combined naked militarism, diplomacy and opportunitism all together and left no opportunity to annex the new region. But even allied powers should not be made free from their accountability. They did not follow a balanced policy towards Hitler. Up to the Munich issue they followed a policy of undiluted appeasement while suddenly on the issue of Poland they declared war against Germany. So, even Hitler was caught unawares.
In this way for world wars a single person or a single country can’t be held responsible.