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Mia Slaunwhite – 10/7/20

John Green states, “The topic of who started World War I remains one of the most controversial and interesting topics to discuss” (00:52). John Green also states the fact that we immediately begin to think about Germany, “ore more specifically, German militarism” (01:08). From World War I to World War II Germany is most plausible to the cause of both. John Green mentions this idea of “the glory of war”, this made me think back to after the Civil War when the confederates composed this idea of the lost cause. Wanting to be the best and be on top generates these ideas of fighting and getting revenge. The public figure of a nation causes people to associate them with a certain stereotype.


Wilhelm became the public eye of Germany. Political cartoons were created. This idea of Wilhelm on the front caused many to believe that the Germans were eager for war. In most cases, I can assume that a lot of the citizens of Germany probably did not exactly want war.


John Green goes on the explain that if this person/country didn’t do XYZ and this person/country did XYZ then World War I could have been prevented. But many humans want to be the best and want to have the most land and want to be the strongest that World War I was bound to happen regardless. It is hard to say who really started World War I because the countries in the beginning all wanted something they did not have. “The decision to go to war was ultimately in the hands of a very small group of diplomats” (09:13). The war was decided by a few but then would affect millions. People’s lives were taken, families separated, and many other negative factors, but the ones who decide to go to war—well they don’t exactly have to physically go to war and stand on the front line. Their lives were protected. It is not the people to blame for the start of the war, but it is the individuals to blame.

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  1. Samuel Hussey Samuel Hussey

    I really liked your stance on the elitist nature of going to war. The public never has a say in going to war, even in democracies like the US. However, the public are the ones who will be dying and fighting and suffering while the leaders play the people like pawns in their chess matches. I recognize the leaders’ viewpoints on going to war for the betterment of the country as a whole, but I still see flaws in the system, as you pointed out.

  2. Zachary Andrews Zachary Andrews

    Although I do believe that World War I could have been prevented, I also believe that if it had no happened, there would have been a major war of some sort at some point in time. The reason I believe this is because of all the alliances that were formed in the early 20th century and because of the increase in military size and mobility. Lastly, I also believe that there would have been a major war due to the imperialistic foreign policies that many nations were upholding. Eventually, nations would have became greedy thus wanting land that other nations have already claimed. This would then lead to another war. No matter what there is going to be a major military conflict.

  3. Alexander Barnett Alexander Barnett

    This is a very interesting insight that I think gets overlooked. Whenever I think about something that happened outside of our country I aways associate the decision one singular leader made with the whole population of that nation. It’s tricky because (especially with countries that have strict governments) the general population may not even support the agenda that the diplomat is pushing.

  4. Julia Leonardi Julia Leonardi

    Yes, WWI was very preventable. WWII, I don’t think could’ve cause it was a direct result of WWI. Nationalism is such a tricky thing because it can fuel a country to find ways to be better, but it can also result in things like war. Globalization is the same way. It is hard to want to reverse time, though because that would affect everything we know today.

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