To what extent can Germany be held responsible for causing the two World Wars? Discuss critically.

Sample Answer


Germany’s role in the instigation of the two World Wars has been a focal point of historical discourse. While Germany’s actions were pivotal, attributing sole responsibility overlooks the intricate geopolitical intricacies of the era.


Germany’s Role in World War I:

  • Immediate Catalyst:
    • Blank Check to Austria-Hungary: Germany’s unwavering support for Austria-Hungary after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand escalated the July Crisis.
  • Underlying Factors:
    • Militarism: Germany’s arms race with Britain intensified pre-war tensions.
    • Alliance System: The Triple Alliance with Austria-Hungary and Italy polarized Europe.
    • Shared Blame: Other nations, with their own militaristic pursuits and alliance commitments, also fueled the fire.

Germany’s Role in World War II:

  • Direct Initiatives:
    • Expansionist Ambitions: Hitler’s territorial pursuits, notably annexing Austria and the Sudetenland, defied the Treaty of Versailles.
    • Invasion of Poland: This blatant act of aggression in 1939 marked the war’s commencement.
  • Underlying Dynamics:
    • Treaty of Versailles: The treaty’s harsh terms bred German economic strife and nationalism.
    • Appeasement: Britain and France’s initial tolerance of Hitler’s ambitions inadvertently empowered him.
    • Global Context: The worldwide economic depression, the League of Nations’ inefficacy, and other nations’ geopolitical aims were also instrumental in the war’s outbreak.


Germany’s policies and actions undeniably influenced the onset of both World Wars. However, a holistic perspective reveals a mosaic of shared responsibilities and global dynamics. It’s imperative to understand Germany’s central role while recognizing the multifaceted contributions of other factors and nations.

Free UPSC MasterClass
This is default text for notification bar