The Schlieffen Plan - Assignment Example

1. a) In Source A, what does Crown Prince Wilhelm mean by the following statement: “This view of life is un-German and does not suit us.” (3)

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In Source A, by the statement “This view of life is un-German and does not suit us”, Crown Prince Wilhelm speaks of the German lifestyle and how the German love their people. He referred to how at this time, the Germans are living in an economic and cultural accomplishment and advantage, however, this bragging has a backfire on the German people. If you are truly hopeful and believe in the success and future of your homeland, economic prosperity can manifest itself. However, this type of thinking can be unbeneficial as it may be blind to issues throughout the country and nationwide.

b) What message is portrayed by Source E? (3)

Source E, being a political cartoon is portraying the Schliffen plan as a quick attack by Germany, known by the big, older man, with the sausages, mustache, pipe and club. The little boy who is representing Belgium is wearing wooden shoes, a hat and poor clothing. This is portraying that Belgium is tiny in comparison to Germany.

The little boy is standing there, not letting the German enter, because Belgium was neutral and they were not wanting to fight with the Germans, note the “No Thoroughfare” sign. This political cartoon is showing the message in English because it is directed to the English readers. One can believe the reason for this is because the cartoon is trying to persuade the British to help defend and protect ‘little and scared’ Belgium, which is being bullied by ‘big and mean’ Germany. The political cartoon is also an example of propaganda.

2. Compare and contrast the nature of the German request for passage through Belgium as depicted in Source C and Source D. (6)

The nature of the German request for passage through Belgium as depicted in Sources C and D shows several common facts; the topic, they are both speaking of German request to pass through Belgium; negotiation of the same demanding challenge, or that both countries want to appear strong and superior to the other. There are various noticeable differences between Source C and Source D. For example the tone, the nature, the content and the purpose of the document. The tone of Source C is very legitimate and seems similar to a government report, unlike Source D, which is more of a personal response, noticed by the quotes of dialogue within the document.

The purpose of the document depicted in source D is to give the Belgian answer of allowing or not allowing Germany’s passage, when the purpose of source C would be to alarm and frighten Belgium into allowing Germany to pass through their country. Content of document in source C would include topics meant to ‘push’ Belgium into allowing Germany to pass through their country, as it depicts Germany as a very strong and powerful country. The content of document in Source D is that it’s trying to make the country of Belgium seem strong and courageous. Source D is always stating the England would help Belgium, and come to defend them.

3. With reference to their origins and purpose, assess the value and limitations of Sources B and D to historians studying the outbreak of WWI. (8)

With reference to the origins and purpose of Sources B and D, the value and limitations of each source have a good use for historians studying the outbreak of WWI. Source D is a primary source that originates from the time of the historical event, using an official government report. The document in Source B is a secondary source as it is pieces of evidence that are not first hand accounts; they analyze the outbreak and some battles of World War One. The purpose of the document depicted in source D would be to report the Belgian answer of the German request for passage through Belgium.

Source B can be considered as a valuable source because it describes the events and occurrences of World War One in an abbreviated form. Also, source B shows maps, which are there to help the reader understand the concept of the topic more thoroughly. The document depicted within Source D is very valuable because it is an official government report which gives key detailed information, as well as witness reports.

However, source B is a limited resource to a historian studying the outbreak of World War One because it is a secondary source and it summarizes all of the key events and battles, which therefore may leave out key information that is necessary to understand the topic. Even though Source D is a government report and a primary resource, at that time it could have been influenced by propaganda and is therefore limited.

4. Using the sources and your own knowledge, assess the extent to which the outbreak of WWI was inevitable. (10)

Using the given sources and my own knowledge, I can assess that the outbreak of World War One inevitable for several reasons. During this time period, the government was using propaganda, and leaders were disagreeing on many subjects. They seemed to have been ‘bulling’ each other. For example, Germany was trying to persuade Belgium to allow them to pass through their country to attack France, and Belgium insisted that Britain would come to defend them. All of these issues caused pressure on the countries of Europe. Nevertheless, the Europeans were certain they couldn’t be harmed, and were they ever wrong. If Austria-Hungary would have listened to Germany’s suggestion to get friendlier relations with Russia, they may have become allies and maybe negotiated more, helping to prevent the war. Serbia could have accepted the Ultimatum, and killed the murderers of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Also, Great Britain could have decided and stated which side of the battle they were on. If this would have happened, the Austrians and Germans could have possibly been frightened off and delayed the war. Therefore, if the countries would have possible communicated more, the outbreak of World War One may have been inevitable.