Austro-Hungarian because they followed through with it.

responsibility is perhaps one of the greatest in starting WW1, although, in the
light of this essay, it was the least militaristic country. Austrian author
Baron Leopold von Andrian-Werburg confessed that it was Austria that began the
war, not Germany (Watson, 1). The Austro-Hungarian army was the least competent
out of the central power (Graph page 6), poorly trained and equipped, and
lacking wise leadership. Historian Tim Reuter writes the ultimatum
Austria-Hungary sent to Serbia on July 23 was designed to elicit rejection, but
the Serbian government accepted all the demands of the ultimatum (2016). Assassinations
of royal figures did not normally result in war, but Austria saw the Sarajevo
assassination of Franz Ferdinand as an excuse to conquer and destroy Serbia:
unstable and exhausted by the two Balkan wars of 1912-13 in which it had played
a major role, it did not want war in 1914. War could well have been avoided,
because although Germany provided
the ideas and materials needed for war, Austria is to blame because they followed
through with it. Referring to the conversation of the Kaiser with the Austrian
ambassador, the Kaiser is reported saying that if and only if Austria had
“recognized the necessity of warlike action against Serbia, the Kaiser would
regret if we Austria did not make use of the present moment which is all in
our favor”. Hence, the Kaiser did leave the decision for war with the
Austrians, he only pressured that if the decision was take, it should be at the
time because later, the Russian army would grow stronger and Germany would
never be able to defeat it.

Austrian militarists were blamed for the hostile ultimatum to Serbia, what overwhelmed them was not
militarist rage, but fear; fear that Tsarist Russia would use Serbia to
dismember Austria’s empire. Kaiser Wilhelm II thought that the action of war
“must not be delayed”. Although Austria had the choice of starting
the war early or not they decided to go along with Germany’s idea and began the
war against Serbia. Even though Germany provided the ideas and materials needed
for war, Austria is to blame because they followed through with it.

Although it may be argued that Serbia or Germany
could be the cause of the attack, Austria-Hungary has the most blame. Germany
was also said be a cause for Austria-Hungary to attack Serbia. Even though
Germany had given Austria-Hungary a blank check, Austria-Hungary could’ve
refused to use the check. Instead, Austria-Hungary cashed the check and also
created war. Germany had also told Austria-Hungary to not delay the war and that
they would be by their side 100%. Because Austria-Hungary and Germany were
allies, Germany was dragged into the war. Russia being Serbia’s ally was also
dragged into the war. In addition, Austria-Hungary was told not to start war by
many other countries, but still put their interests above everyone else’s.

These points of evidence show Austria-Hungary’s responsibility in starting the
war, although it was the nation least infested in militarism. Although German
militarism can be linked to Germany’s confidence in offering a bank check, it’s
important to consider the political upheaval in Germany, and the decision of
the Austrians. 

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