DBQ10: Causes of World War I



Wilhelm II, the ruler of Germany, gave this speech from the balcony 

of the royal palace in Berlin on July 31, 1914.

A momentous hour has struck for Germany.  Envious rivals everywhere force us to legitimate defense.  The word has been forced into our hands.  I hope that in the event that my efforts to the very last moment do not succeed in bringing our opponents to reasons and in preserving peace, we may use the sword, with the help of God, so that we may sheathe it again with honor.  War will demand enormous sacrifices by the German people, but we shall show the enemy what it means to attack Germany.  And so I commend you to God.  Go forth into the churches, kneel down before God, and implore his help for our brave army.

Document 1
a. Who does Wilhelm blame for the war?
b. The day after Wilhelm gave this speech, Germany declared war on Russia.  Do you think that action supports or contradicts what he said in his speech?


Web Link
  • German Propaganda Posters
    Description: Of the nations which went to war from 1914-18 Germany was arguably the best prepared. Along with France the German government had long planned for war.

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