By David Stevenson
In the summertime of 1914 Europe exploded right into a frenzy of mass violence. The battle that had international repercussions, destroying 4 empires and costing thousands of lives. Even the triumphant nations have been scarred for a iteration, and we nonetheless at the present time stay in the conflict's shadow. during this significant new research, released a few 90 years after the 1st global battle started, David Stevenson re-examines the reasons, direction and impression of this 'war to finish war', putting it within the context of its period and exposing its underlying dynamics. His ebook offers a wide-ranging overseas background, drawing on insights from the newest learn. It deals compelling solutions to the major questions about how this bad fight opened up: questions that stay disturbingly correct for our personal time
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Additional info for 1914-1918: The History of the First World War
It consisted of an understanding between the great powers that at times of crisis any one of them could propose a conference between their representatives. Its swansong was the London Conference of 1912–13 that convened to discuss the Balkan Wars. But in 1914 itself, though Britain proposed a conference Austria-Hungary and Germany refused. Not for the first time the system buckled under pressure, underlining its weakness. The Concert could function only when the powers agreed: it was a convenient device for saving face, but little more.
Centrist and right-wing parties, however, normally called for firmness in asserting national interests, and most newspapers and a plethora of pressure groups supported them. In 1914 most politicians and military chiefs recognized that a major war needed public support, but neither globalization nor democratization made hostilities unthinkable. The third consequence of modern industrialization was to transform military technology. It did so in two main phases. The first centred on steam propulsion.
This context helps to explain why the Austrians used the assassinations to force a war they already considered unavoidable. The outrage confirmed Berchtold and Franz Joseph in support of Conrad’s views. Tisza was won over by an agreement that Austria-Hungary would not annex more South Slavs, by evidence that Romania would stay neutral, and – above all – by news that Germany encouraged military action. Given Russia’s position, this latter was indispensable. Austria-Hungary had long competed with the Russians in south-eastern Europe, but in 1897 the two powers reached an understanding to keep the Balkans ‘on ice’, and for a decade, while the Russians focused their attention on Asia, they kept to it.