Why They Went to War

(Editorial)

[The Independent, September 7, 1914]

The British and German White Papers, giving the diplomatic correspondence that preceded the war, have been made public. From these it appears that the various nations involved went to war for the following reasons (accepting each nation's statement of its own case):

Austria. Because Servia would not permit Austrian officials to take part in investigations in Servia into the responsibility of Servians for the murder of the Austrian Crown Prince and Princess.

Servia. Because upon her refusal to accede to this demand of Austria on the ground that she would be sacrificing her own sovereignty, and in spite of her proposal to leave the matter to arbitration, Austria attacked her.

Russia. Because Austria was making war upon Servia.

Germany. Because Russia declined to cease mobilizing her army—a mobilization which Germany believed was directed at herself as well as at her ally Austria.

France. Because her ally Russia was attacked by Germany.

Belgium. Because her neutral territory, whose neutrality was guaranteed by a treaty signed by Germany, was invaded by German arms.

England. Because Germany had violated the treaty guaranteeing the neutrality of Belgium, of which both Germany and England were signers.

Japan. Because her treaty with England bound her to join with England when the peace of the Far East was threatened.

The impartial historian will some day know how to apportion the final responsibility for the Great War among the nations that entered it. We now merely report what each nation has to say for itself.

© J. Fred MacDonald, 2013.



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