To What extent are Sidney Fay's views about the origins of the First World War consistent with German Foreign Minister, Bethmann-Hollweg's address to the Reichstag, 4 August 1914?.
At the start of the Twentieth Century the world was at War. This "Great War" as it came to be known, was to change the face of warfare and the world. As it progressed over four years, millions of civilians and soldiers died, it was said to be the war that would end all wars. The origins of this tumultuous battle have been vastly documented over the last century and have been one of the most written about events of modern history. .
Arguably on of the key factors in the ascent to war was the culmination of a quarrel between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, involving the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by a Serbian. This act, not solely on its own, was instrumental in involving other countries, which would become a long-term battle for power within Europe and the World. Germany aligned with Austria- Hungary and Serbia with ties to Russia involved these two great powers within their struggle "Germany was the victim of her own alliance with Austria and of her own folly" . In the whole of the address to the Reichstag Hollweg does not lay mention to the incident only that "we stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies Austria-Hungary" , supporting them in the cause of war. .
Fay also describes other factors before the war such as the movements of Russia as playing a very great part within the events that preceded it, therefore making it very hard even with the conciliation efforts of Kaiser Bethmann . Known for revisionist views and himself a German, Fay's account of this puts Russia playing a very grand part in this. This is a recounted by Hollweg saying, "Russia has applied a torch against the burning house of peace" . In 1913 a "Great Program" was discussed (it became law in June 1914) to supply further money, to enable further expansion of its already growing army - giving a peacetime army three times the size of Germany's.