Germany and the Causes of the First World War (The Legacy of the Great War)

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en Limba Engleză Paperback – October 2004
How can we understand what caused World War I? What role did Germany play? This book encourages us to re-think the events that led to global conflict in 1914.Historians in recent years have argued that German leaders acted defensively or pre-emptively in 1914, conscious of the Reich's deteriorating military and diplomatic position. Germany and the Causes of the First World War challenges such interpretations, placing new emphasis on the idea that the Reich Chancellor, the German Foreign Office and the Great General Staff were confident that they could win a continental war. This belief in Germany's superiority derived primarily from an assumption of French decline and Russian weakness throughout the period between the turn of the century and the eve of the First World War. Accordingly, Wilhelmine policy-makers pursued offensive policies - at the risk of war at important junctures during the 1900s and 1910s. The author analyses the stereotyping of enemy states, representations of war in peacetime, and conceptualizations of international relations. He uncovers the complex role of ruling elites, political parties, big business and the press, and contends that the decade before the First World War witnessed some critical changes in German foreign policy. By the time of the July crisis of 1914, for example, the perception of enemies had altered, with Russia - the traditional bugbear of the German centre and left - becoming the principal opponent of the Reich. Under these changed conditions, German leaders could now pursue their strategy of brinkmanship, using war as an instrument of policy, to its logical conclusion.
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ISBN-13: 9781859738702
ISBN-10: 1859738702
Pagini: 280
Ilustrații: bibliography, index
Dimensiuni: 156 x 234 x 12 mm
Greutate: 0.35 kg
Ediția: New.
Editura: Bloomsbury Publishing
Colecția Berg Publishers
Seria The Legacy of the Great War

Locul publicării: London, United Kingdom


Challenges the perception that German leaders acted defensively in 1914, arguing that they were confident they could win the war

Notă biografică

Mark Hewitson is Lecturer in German Politics and History at the University College London, UK.


1. Introduction: Historiography from Fischer to Förster2. The Economics of War: Industrialists, Financiers and Landowners3. Nationalism and Images of the Enemy4. The Politics of War: Parties, the Press and Public Opinion5. Militarism and Representations of Conflict6. Strategies of War: The Army and the Navy7. Imperialism and Conceptions of Diplomatic Relations8. Diplomacy and War: Chancellor, Kaiser and Foreign Office9. The July Crisis: Brinkmanship and War10. Conclusion: Germany and the Question of GuiltSelect BibliographyIndex


We should be extremely grateful to Mark Hewitson for providing such an expertly judicious, admirably lucid guide to the variety of explanatory contexts intersecting in the final crisis that produced Germany's entry into the First World War.
His work is a valuable contribution to the field, for it always treats issues exhaustively covered elsewhere from a slightly different angle that makes them appear different than they had before.