World War I/Causes/Domestic Politics

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Domestic politics in France and Germany[edit]

As mentioned briefly at the start of the "Causes" section of this Wikibook, there were also some indirect and longer term events and situations which some perceive as causes of World War I. One of these is the political situation and France and Germany during the years leading up to the start of the war. Germany has been in debt

Although France and Germany were separate countries, subject to different political issues, they both served as triggers for World War I in very similar ways. As a result, they are both being presented in the same section of this Wikibook.Also there were many aliances.


In Germany, left wing opposition parties were starting to rise in the political scene before the start of World War I. Some historians argue that this posed such a danger to the party in power that they decided to launch a war to promote support for the government.

One of the most notable proponents of the above theory is German historian Fritz Fischer, who has also stated that Germany started to plan the war in 1912, the year in which the left wing parties made major electoral gains.

It is important to note that the above theory is not universally accepted, and that some historians disagree with the claims of Fischer. It is presented in this text to allow, you, the reader, to understand all possible causes, even if they are not accepted as such by everyone.


President Poincaré

The political scene in France at the time was very similar, although in this country the ruling left wing parties were fearful of losing their power to the opposition.

As happened in Germany, those in power saw a war as a way to rally support. In this case, a statement allegedly made by the French president at the time, President Poincaré, backs up this claim. Poincaré is reported to have stated that "it would be a great pity," if war was avoided.

In addition to just staying in power, some claim that the ruling parties also had other political reasons for wanting a war. For example, it is often claimed that the government saw war as an opportunity for social reform. This claim is backed up by the fact that income tax was introduced in France around the time of the start of World War I.