College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts in History - Thesis (MA)


Nathan Martin


Germany, First World War, World War I, Diplomacy, Bismarck, Geopolitics, Military




It is said that the victors write the history. That adage is demonstrably true for the history of the First World War. The German Empire, Das Deutsche Kaiserreich, has shouldered most of the blame for the war for most of the past century. Article 231 of the Treaty of Versailles declares this German guilt in no uncertain terms. But is this a fair assessment? A study of pre-war German diplomatic and military actions provides a method to partially assess the culpability of Germany for the Great War. A fair analysis of that geopolitical activity shows that the actions of the German Empire were in accordance with normal and accepted policies and methods of other Great Power European countries of that time. The German actions were directed at protecting the Reich and enhancing Germany’s presence on the world stage, not at aggression towards other states. This manner of international interaction is not consistent with a long-term strategy aimed at initiating major warfare. This paper is an important addition to the historiography on the subject of German responsibility for the First World War because of its demonstration of the conventionality of Germany’s pre-war policies and activities. A modified DIME model (diplomatic-informational-military-economic with the addition of a social aspect to the model) is used as the organizational method of discussion and analysis. This specific model may be referred to as a DIMES model.

Included in

History Commons