A School History of the Great War eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 164 pages of information about A School History of the Great War.
such as those mentioned above see the World Almanac, the Statesman’s Yearbook, and any good encyclopedia.  For Germany, see Hazen, The Government of Germany, published by the Committee on Public Information, Washington, D.C.[1] Reference may also be made to Harding’s New Medieval and Modern History or to other histories of Europe.


[1] Hereafter the publications of the Committee on Public Information are indicated as follows:  (C.P.I.).



It would be impossible to make a list of all the causes which led Germany from time to time to take such action as would tend to force war on one or another of the nations of Europe.  For besides questions of national honor or of national rights there were the writings of German philosophers, historians, and scientists, a great majority of whom maintained that war was a necessity if men were to continue to live in large groups or societies.  These writers were chiefly Prussian, but Prussia, including more than half of Germany, dominated the rest of the empire through the organization of its government.  The following paragraphs present what seem to be the chief reasons why Germany, and especially Prussia, wanted war.

War as A profitable business.—­According to those German writers there are two results from a successful war.  First, the victors take more or less territory from the vanquished; second, the victors may demand a large sum of money, called an indemnity, from the defeated people, who thus have to pay their conquerors for having taken the trouble to defeat them.

In both of these instances the result is advantageous to the winner of the war, and particularly to the governing class of that nation.  Through the taxes from the new territory more money flows into the national treasury, and a great many new officials must be appointed.  These, of course, for many years are appointed by the rulers of the victorious nation.  Besides this not only do we find new markets opened up for the manufacturers and merchants, but the conquered territory frequently contains great stores of raw materials.  In both cases the goods can now pass to and fro without the drawbacks of possible embargoes or import taxes which interfere with the freedom of trade.  This is well illustrated by the results of the seizure of part of Lorraine by Germany from France in 1870.  Lorraine contains great stores of coal and iron ore.  These Germany wanted.  So that part of Lorraine was demanded which would give to Germany rich mines of coal and iron.  Some other ore deposits, which could not be easily utilized, she left to France.  Not long afterwards a new process for making iron was discovered which made the French deposits more valuable than those Germany had taken.  Undoubtedly one of the reasons for the present war was that Germany wished to increase her national wealth by seizing the iron mines that had become so valuable.

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A School History of the Great War from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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