I am going to be participating in a debate about who started world war one and I have been assigned the role of accusing Germany. I do know that Germany was allied with the Austria-Hungarian empire, who were weakening at the time, and therefore Germany tried to rush other countries in to a war before Austria-Hungary became to weak to provide much help for Germany.

  • To make a long story short, they can be blamed for it because they lost. As others have pointed out, it's fairly easy to create a more or less realistic argument that any of the participants started it. – jamesqf Apr 27 '16 at 4:56
  • “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe. As Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?”... (Quote by Dan Brown) – User999999 Apr 27 '16 at 7:23

You didn't say how long you have before the debate, but if you have the time read

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

Published in the year of the centennial of the outbreak of the war, it does an excellent job of using all the latest research on causes of the Great War, including whose fault it was and who started it.

Spoilers: no, it wasn't the German Empire. Nor the Austrian, Russians, British, French or even Serbs. Hence the title.

The blurb:

The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.

Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.

Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.

Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.

The best I can come up with is Rube Goldberg... one giant chain reaction of interacting politics, alliances, someone-forgot-to-hit-the-stop-button-in-time.

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