DBQ10: Causes of World War I


On January 5, 1918, British prime minister David Lloyd George made this statement about Great Britain's war goals.

We are not fighting a war of aggression against the German people.  Their leaders have persuaded them that they are fighting a war of self-defence* against a league of rival nations bent on the destruction of Germany. That is not so.  The destruction of Germany or the German people has never been a war aim with us from the first day of this war to this day.  Most reluctantly, and indeed quite unprepared for the dreadful ordeal, we were forced to join in this war in self-defence*...we had to join in the struggle or stand aside and see Europe go under and brute force triumph over public right and international justice.  It was only the realization of that dreadful alternative that forded the British people into war.

Document 2
a. What words does Lloyd George use to suggest that Great Britain did not want war?
b. Would Lloyd George agree or disagree with Document 1?  Explain.

*British spelling


Web Link
  • British Propaganda Posters
    Description: Britain entered the war on 4 August 1914. The possessor of a small professional army and without a policy of conscription she had urgent need of more men - many, many more men - for training within the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). Thus the government in London acted quickly in bringing out a stream of recruitment posters, including possibly the most famous of its type, featuring Lord Kitchener ("Your Country Wants You!").

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