Who or what originated and/or caused the Great War from breaking out in July 1914? Was it Serbia with its expansionist and aggressive designs on Austria-Hungary? Was it Austria-Hungary itself, unnecessarily plunging itself and the rest of Europe in a futile effort to keep together its tottering Monarchy? Was it Tsarist Russia? Attempting to both expand its influence in the Balkans at the expense of both Austria and Germany and at the very same time, seeking to bolster its own tottering monarchy by showing its aggrieved public that Mother Russia was backing the cause of its down-trodden, Slavic brothers. Was it Kaiserreich Germany? Aiming in the famous thesis of 20th-century German historian Fritz Fischer, to launch a Great War to establish itself as the hegemonic power on the European continent? A war which its military leaders stated repeatedly, Germany could only win if war occurred in the next few years. Was it France? Aiming in conjunction with its Russian ally to start a war with the aim of regaining the two lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine. Was it Liberal England? Hoping for the final success of the policy of ‘encirclement’ of Germany, commenced by Edward VII?
The origins of the Great War is one of the most fascinating and enthralling subjects in modern History. Which oceans of ink, almost (but not quite) matching the oceans of blood spilled during the war itself, have been devoted to the subject. From the immediate outbreak of the war to the centenary anniversary in 2014, master historians have researched and written on it. Now to bring the topic to the audience of New Books Network, are Jeremy Black, Emeritus Professor of History at Exeter University, without a doubt, the most prolific historian writing in the Anglophone world and Charles Coutinho of the Royal Historical Society. Please listen to this most interesting of podcast.
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.
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