Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Brief Historiography of the Great War

Franz Ferdinand on the Morning of June 28, 1914
According to conventional wisdom, on June 28, 1914, a Serb nationalist gunman assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo. This brazen assassination of the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire enraged the Empire and thus sparked a war between Serbia and Austria. Even before these first shots were fired, a tangled web of alliances brought virtually all the European powers into the conflict. Russia immediately mobilized to protect Serbia. Germany countered by coming to its ally Austria’s aid. Germany, also paranoid that France would mobilize to assist Russia, and seize on the opportunity to inflict revenge upon Germany for French losses in the Franco-Prussian war, preempted France by invading her through neutral Belgium. The British, lastly, in pursuant to her own commitment to Belgian neutrality prepared an Expeditionary Force to come to the aid of the West European nation. Thus the entirety of the continent was thrown into a multi-front, multi-national war the likes of which the world has not seen before.
This is the narrative taught to countless American secondary school students, but the particulars of this story have been criticized, defended, attacked, amended, changed, altered, sometimes lied about, and otherwise revised for the past ninety years. Historians have had such interest in this topic due to its tremendous impact upon the entire world. From 1914 to 1918, the war claimed the lives of over nine million in uniform and over five million noncombatants.[1] “By the end of 1914, four months after the outbreak of the Great War, 300,000 Frenchman had been killed, 600,000 wounded, out of a male population of twenty million.[2] The nation of Serbia, “of whose pre-war population of five million, 125,000 were killed or died as soldiers but another 650,000 civilians succumbed to privation or disease, making a total of 15 per cent of the population lost.”[3] It is in a large part due to the painful consequences of the late summer of 1914 that historians have sought to seek the truth of the matter. They have been at the forefront of many controversies and theories regarding the conflict. This essay will provide an overview to the historiography of World War I. It will cover the different themes that historians have followed in writing their accounts. It will furthermore show how Great War historians have followed general trends of popular history throughout the past century.

A Historiography of the Origins of the War
It is obvious even to the layman that the most controversial of questions historians have attempted to answer is the all-important one of war guilt. After such an unprecedented blood-letting and rape of an entire generation of Europe’s young men, those left behind to mourn the dead cried out in anguish “Why?” This question is a natural response to events of such horror and it is only reasonable to assume historians would address this question quickly.
There are different historical schools of thought on the subject of war guilt. Put simply, there are intentionalists, structuralists, and a kind of amalgamation of the two. The intentionalists subscribe to the idea that it was primarily the actions of the personalities involved among the world powers that led to the events of the war. Structuralists, on the other hand claim that long-established systems of alliances, practices, national honor, and naïveté made the war a fait accompli. Most intentionalists will admit to the influence of some structural defects, but they claim it was not the deciding factor. Most present-day historians view the origin question as a combination of the factors.
Probably the greatest examples of the intentionalists were the very world leaders that drafted the Versailles treaty itself. History was indeed written by the victors at Paris in 1919. In article 231 of the treaty, all “responsibility” for the consequences of the war was heaped upon Germany.[4] The intentionalists include Bernadotte E. Schmitt, official British historiographer Brigadier General James Edmonds, and German historian Fritz Fischer.
Willhelm II
Brigadier Edmonds wrote A Short History of World War I as a compressed version of his multi-volume official history of the war.[5] His tone introducing the book, explaining the origins of the war is contemptuous of the Central Powers and severely implicates the German government in the process. He speaks of German “covetous eyes” toward Ukraine and how their paranoia of French and Russian power led them to start a “’preventative war’ to smash their opponents before they grew too strong.”[6] He even closes the volume with the statement: “The responsibility for the outbreak of war rests with the German people; but the Kaiser Wilhelm II is so far responsible that he alone might have stopped it and did not do so.”[7] Edmonds nearly absolves the Habsburgs from responsibility arguing instead that the Germans used the “opportunity” of Ferdinand’s assassination to follow through with its aggressive intents.[8] Edmond’s entire work is a standard, official Western view of the war that gives a very matter-of-fact view of the history of the Western front and sticks to the standard Versailles refrain of assigning sole war-guilt to Germany.
Fritz Fischer’s groundbreaking work in 1961 argued that a continuum existed of bellicose German policies from prior to the First World War straight through the Second. Professor Fischer’s Germany’s Aims in the First World War provided a post Second World War German perspective on the reasons for the First World War. Using German diplomatic documents uncovered after the collapse of the Nazis, he provides context to the events of the previous fifty years, tying together the Nazi regime to the Kaiser’s ambitions at the beginning of the twentieth century. He argues that the causes of the Second World War were not simply out of shared disgust and collective international shame brought about by the punitive measures of the Versailles treaty, but were rather a continuation of the aggressive, belligerent foreign policy that aimed for the Germany to be the dominant power on the European Continent and which precipitated the First World War. Fischer introduces his work by explaining the creation of the modern German state from the piecing together of duchies and principalities left over from the days of the Holy Roman Empire. It was at the turn of the twentieth century that the German Empire aspired to be a world power, even including the first mention of lebensraum.[9]
Theobald Von Bethmann-Hollweg
Throughout the text Fischer narrates the evolution of the German objectives from setback to setback until finally drawn to the humiliation of the Paris Conference. He argues that the German war objectives had been so thoroughly accepted by the population that the lack of a total-war defeat of the country writ large was interpreted by the population that the war had been lost not by the German soldier, but by the spineless politician. “Thus the idea took root and spread that the cause of the collapse of Germany was not her own policy or exhaustion in the face of an enemy army made stronger than her own by active American intervention, but a ‘stab in the back’ behind the front.”[10] Fischer leaves his readers with a quote from Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg: “Since war began, he said, we have not escaped the danger of underestimating the strength of our enemies. We inherited this mistake from the years of peace. Our people had developed so amazingly in the last twenty years that wide circles succumbed to the temptation of over-estimating our enormous forces in relation to those of the rest of the world.” It was a revelation that Fischer believes repeated itself disastrously a mere twenty years later in the Second World War.
Structuralists argue that beyond the individual decision-making in the aftermath of the assassination of the Austria-Hungary heir to the throne, the entire apparatus of treaties, alliances, and ententes created a situation in which war was the only option available to the national leaders.
Most sensible historians today have somewhat of a combined perspective. Sidney Bradshaw Fay was one of the pioneers of such theories combining complex structural instabilities and disastrous personal decision-making. His book on the war’s origins starts with a reference to Thucydides and the importance of distinguishing between long-simmering causes and immediate causes: “It is equally applicable to the World War. Failure to observe it has often led to confusion of thought in regard to responsibility for the War, since responsibility for the underlying causes does not always coincide with responsibility for the immediate causes.”[11] Fay argues that although the subterfuge, private agreements, and arms races laid the foundations for the war, one cannot discount the disastrous decisions that were made by individual leaders, some of whom led entire nations by themselves.[12] Fay concludes that none wanted war. All participants had enticing possibilities that a successful campaign promised, but “this is no good proof that any of the statesmen mentioned deliberately aimed to bring about a war to secure these advantages.”[13]
D. F. Fleming also shares this view. In his account, The Origins and Legacies of World War I, he devotes over 150 pages to providing the background of Europe from the close of the Franco-Prussian War until the domino-effect, general mobilizations and declarations of war that took place in the late summer of 1914. While he makes a compelling case for how Bismarck’s strategy of isolating France could not survive his predecessor’s shift to an aggressive, colonial foreign policy, he lays a large amount of the blame upon the Austro-Hungarian decision-making that fully cashed the blank check that Germany gave her concerning Serbia. The remainder he lays at the feet of the Germans, contesting that they desired the Austrians to “finish with Serbia once and for all, and restore her own damaged prestige.”[14]
Fleming’s view is similar to British historian Martin Gilbert. In The First World War: A Complete History, Gilbert levies a like amount of blame on Germany for providing the impetus; goading Austria into attacking. The Germans urged swift retaliatory action against Serbia in order to prop up their ally Austria-Hungary in hopes that a heavy, immediate punishment would suffice and thus the war would be contained. “So keen was the German High Command to see Austria attack before the world could react that they urged Austria not to wait even until the completion of her mobilization, which still needed almost two weeks.”[15]
A slightly different perspective is offered by John Keegan who in The First World War posits that an accompanying reason to the conflict is the militarism of society at this time in European history. “International … policy was indeed, in the opening years of the twentieth century, guided not by the search for a secure means of averting conflict but by the age-old quest for security in military superiority.”[16] The emergence of nationalism as a unifying force made it possible to transform an entire generation of young men into soldiers able to be mobilized at a moment’s notice.[17] Additionally, the new, efficient methods of unit organization, establishing military zones geographically throughout the lands, testified to the new militarism of the time.[18]
Another sharer of a combined view is contemporary historian David Fromkin. In Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?, Fromkin explores evidence gathered over the previous eighty years and acknowledges the tremendous influence that Fritz Fischer had on the historiography of the Great War. After laying out the various pieces of evidence, Fromkin launches into a chapter explaining what were not primary causes of the war. He dispels the myth that the war came as a surprise, that it was unexpectedly triggered by Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, or even that Austria-Hungary solely wished to punish the Serbs for the outrage[19]. Fromkin instead makes a claim that in the summer of 1914, Germany, recognizing that Austria-Hungary would not support solely German interests, instead pushed for two wars: an Austria-Hungarian war against Serbia, and a ‘preventative’ German war against Russia[20]. “They wanted to maintain their country’s dominance on the European continent. They wanted to prevent a future challenge to that position by Russia, backed by France, by provoking a war immediately, while the chances of winning would be greater than in the future.”[21]
Richard Hamilton and Holger Herwig hold similar views. Hamilton and Herwig’s edition, The Origins of World War I begins with a question of “Why?” since thousands of accounts had previously been written on the subject. They answered said question because they felt previous historians had “missed several key elements” and wished to look again at the subject through a matrix of four questions, “who precisely were the decision makers?” “How did [the] governments go about declaring war?” “which ‘social forces’ or extraparliamentary lobbies had input into the decision for war? And fourth, what were the reasons?”[22] Hamilton and Herwig state that each country “saw their nation as in decline or at least as seriously threatened. To halt the decline or to block the threat, the decision makers felt that some demonstration of strength was imperative. It was that sense of threat and the resultant need to address that decline that lead them to the key decision, namely, to participate in the coming war.”[23] Even though “the system of secret alliances, militarism, nationalism, imperialism, social Darwinism, and the domestic strains … had all contributed toward forming the … assumptions of the ‘men of 1914’", rather than commit to an intentionalist or structuralist view, they “argue that the actual decisions to go to war were a matrix of extemporizations, of choices based on assessments of recent events, of alliance needs, of power and prestige, of immediate opportunities, and of survival.”[24]
Even those with strong intentionalist bents such as Columbia Professor Carlton Hayes, have admitted how large a role the system played into the decision making. His book, Contemporary Europe Since 1870 outlines in great detail the dealings of the great powers since the triumph of Bismarck. He spends a chapter of this book explaining how philosophies such as “pessimistic realism,” a type of Social Darwinism advanced by philosophers like Nietzsche, laid a groundwork for the militaristic, nationalist society that typified Germany at the close of the nineteenth century.[25] This view notwithstanding, Hayes also wrote A Brief History of the Great War in which he lays the blame for the whole affair on German belligerence. “The most perfect exemplar of nationalism, imperialism, and militarism, and therefore the most viciously anarchic in international relations, was Germany.”[26]
Leopold Berchtold
Another that borders on intentionalist is S. L. A. Marshall, whose book World War I gives a small amount of credence to systemic reasons but reserves the bulk of responsibility on personality. In discussing the militaristic mindset of the late 1800s, he quotes a French general saying “’Mobilization means declaration of war.’ … It was exactly the spreading of this idea through Europe – that mobilization made war inescapable – that presaged catastrophe. Myth became fact when it generated war planning that allowed no instant of pause. War had to come of mobilization.”[27] This notwithstanding, he then nearly blames the entirety of the conflict upon Austrian Foreign Minister Count Leopold von Berchtold. “He betrayed the peace deliberately by lying, deceiving, double-dealing, and committing folly unequalled. After receiving the clichéd “blank check,”[28] Marshall contends Berchtold then embarked on a campaign of trickery and intrigue to achieve his end of war against Serbia. When Germany finally woke up to the threat of Austrian escalation, “Berchtold tricked Francis Joseph into signing the [declaration of war] by lying; he told him that Serbia was already attacking.”[29] Marshall does put some blame upon the complacent Willhelm who went sailing for two weeks after handing the “blank check” to Austria. His example caused others in the government to flee to their summer locales, leaving the government in the hands of Bethmann-Hollweg. “The Kaiser did not deliberately isolate himself while the crisis mounted. He was guilty only of carelessness amounting to criminal negligence.”[30]
Throughout the origins debate, historians wrote many books defending various positions, while dissenting authors would respond with books of their own. One of the most striking was an account written in 1931 by Professor M. H. Cochran definitively entitled Germany Not Guilty in 1914. In it, Cochran savages his contemporary, Bernadotte E. Schmitt’s The Coming of the War, 1914. As previously discussed, Professor Schmitt’s account was of the intentionalist persuasion, heavily biased against Germany and alleged the totality of war guilt to be Germany’s to bear. Professor Cochran, however, claims it to be revisionist history especially “after Professor [Sidney Bradshaw] Fay’s careful work [The Origins of the World War] demolished the pro-Entente thesis convincingly.”[31] He provides examples of poor methodology, translation errors, factual untruths, chronological errors, and extreme pro-British bias throughout Schmitt’s volume.
There is such an abundance of books on the subject of the origins that historians have even written historiographies documenting the debates, the formations of theories, and the movements of schools of thought on the topic. One such account is Annika Mombauer’s The Origins of the First World War: Controversies and Consensus[32]. Mombauer explores how historians have treated the question since the Paris Peace Conference through modern day. She explains how the punitive Versailles treaty laid all blame upon the Central Powers and Germany in particular and then goes on to document the various revisionist and anti-revisionist movements in the 1920s. These movements were particularly nationalistic in nature with the Americans, British, and especially German figures proposing shared blame for the conflict, with the expected backlash from French anti-revisionists who wished to continue to blame Germany for the devastation wreaked on her soil. She explains the movement of the Post World War II, Fischer school of German historians who defended the continuity of German aggression from the First through the Second World Wars. She also elaborates on the anti-Fischer German movement who sought to preserve the nationalism and wounded patriotic pride as a result of the punitive measures of the treaty.
Other Historiographical Movements
In nearly every occasion, the factor of time dictates the historiography of the subject. This is especially applicable to the historiographies of wars. Nearly always, the first war histories will be narratives, written immediately after the conflict. “Just as it was won and lost, the Battle of the Marne became an historical subject.”[33] Quite often, they will not be written by professional historians, but by journalists, eye-witnesses, and others with intimate knowledge or compelling interest in the events being reported.
Nearly simultaneous with these narrative accounts, war accounts arise heavily laden with still-poignant emotions due to the immediacy of the events. Writers with interests heavily invested in political or ideological dogmas, or still suffering emotionally from the psychological impact of the conflicts will use their writing as tools to defend their positions and attack differing ones or use their pens as cathartic elements of collective and self-healing.
World War One was no exception to this. Outside of the standard, narrative accounts, historians often gave into their still fomenting patriotic emotions and spewed vitriol against the opponent. For French and English historiography, this resulted in many accounts heavily biased against Germany. Bernadotte E. Smith’s The Coming of the War, 1914[34] is one example whose account unfairly pins the entirety of the blame for the war upon Germany. While some present biased evidence in making the case for Germany’s culpability, others like Cyril Falls use a decidedly condemning tone in discussing the German’s role. The words “arrogant,” “sinister,” and “disingenuous” pepper Falls’ telling of the story.[35]
Closely related to these emotional narratives were the very biased memoirs written by the key players in the conflict. Prime Minister Lloyd George,[36] General Pershing,[37] Field-Marshall Viscount French,[38] and Bethmann-Hollweg[39] are just a few of the many prominent actors of the conflict to write accounts on the war. Because the war was such a seminal, divisive, and emotionally-fueled historical event, many of the decision makers wrote these apologetic accounts to tell the story of the war from their perspective. Historians Antoine Prost and Jay Winter elaborate: “This braiding together of witnessing and history is characteristic of [this] period, when the most learned and apparently impartial books … were no less influenced by friendships, relationships, or political commitments, all the more at a time when all these authors were well aware of the importance of their writings for the morale of the nation.”[40]
David Lloyd George
Andrew Suttie critiques Lloyd George’s war memoirs in Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy 1914-1918. He looks on the volumes published in the 1920s and 1930s and argues that historians should not accept them as works of un-biased history, but rather apologetic works explaining Lloyd George’s actions and decision making during the war.[41] Lloyd George rightly lays the majority of the blame upon his generals for “their lack of imagination, obstinacy, and obsession with the muddy battlefields of Flanders.”[42] Though he is justified in these assertions by the documentary evidence he produces, “his aim was self vindication, to be achieved by ‘blackening the repute’ of his wartime colleagues who disagreed with his views.”[43] Another criticism of Suttie leveled against Lloyd George’s account is his overly idealistic modernist world-view. “[He] still accepted ‘the legendary account of the war as a struggle between right and wrong’, and he still thought of history ‘as primarily made by men who can will a given end and, if they have the necessary capacities, secure its triumph.’”[44]
As stated previously there also arose a movement of histories that challenged the conventional narratives on the war. One important one was a fairly recent work by Niall Ferguson who sought to dispel ten, what he believed to be myths that pass for conventional wisdom. In The Pity of War: Explaining World War I, Ferguson dispels ten of these, including that the war was “inevitable,” that the war “was greeted with popular enthusiasm,” that the Entente powers had superior armies, and that the indemnities upon the Germans in the treaty of Versailles was over-bearing upon the Germans.[45]
Upon the closing of the Second World War, and the fall of the Nazi regime, the Allies threw open the records vaults, releasing many of the official records of Germany and Austria related to the First World War. One example of the fruits, albeit belated, of this disclosure was Holger H. Herwig’s The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918.[46] Herwig provides a German and Austro-Hungarian perspective to the war. Drawn extensively from German-language sources, it provides a slightly different perspective. The dearth of German primary sources was one of the many difficulties historians had had to overcome. One of the reasons for this was that much of it had been destroyed in World War II. Herwig partially leapt this hurdle by utilizing official documents unearthed in Vienna. The book itself is a broad, sweeping overview of the battles and campaigns of the conflict, in keeping with the historical tradition of the early Great War historians.
Socio-Cultural Movement
One of the more recent developments in the historiography is the study of how the war was told in popular culture and how it impacted the civilian populace. Michael Paris edited The First World War and Popular Cinema. It provides a history of movies on the war. Its contributors present chapters on U.S., British, French, Canadian, Italian, Soviet, Polish, German, Austrian, and propaganda efforts in film depicting the war throughout history.[47] Frans Coetzee and Marylin Shevin-Coetzee edited a similar volume on the cultural contributions of the war. The first section deals with the subject of authority in civilian life. The second part concerns religious, gender, and nationality issues brought about by the war. The final section closes with “Images of the Soldier.”[48]
J. M. Winter wrote The Experience of World War I which gives an almost encyclopedic account of the war. It is split into chapters telling stories of the war from various points of view: the politicians, the generals, the soldiers, the civilians, how it affected culture and the arts, and the aftermath of the war. It is rife with photographs, maps, inlays, and other useful bits of information for public consumption. It is not as heavily sourced as a standard historical narrative, but Winter draws upon an extensive bibliography at the end and it is clearly intended more for the lay-historian.[49] Winter also wrote a cultural look at the war in Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning – The Great War in European Cultural History, a book that is as much an anthropological work as a history book in that it studies how the European peoples remembered and marked World War One. It explores the subjects of how the cultures practice bereavement, mourning, burial, remembrance, commemoration, and how they all influence the arts.
A Unifying Historiography
Two historians have written a short but comprehensive historiography on the Great War. In 2005, Antoine Prost and Jay Winter provided three simplistic configurations to the historiography of the war in The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to Present. They described them as military and diplomatic in the first, social history in the second, and cultural and social history in the third.
As stated in the earlier in this essay, events become history as soon as they are written about. Thus, this first configuration simply told the story of the war. Generals wrote with a view to defending their reputation and their strategic choices; motives not sufficient to discredit their narratives.[50]
The subject of “war guilt” dominated all other subjects in this first period of study.[51] The primary sources for these accounts were the vast diplomatic records that steadily became available following the close of the conflict. Generals and politicians were the dominant subject matter of these histories. The common soldier was missing.[52] This early phase focused solely on the strategic and operational levels of statecraft and warfare, but left out the individual battles waged at the company level. The life of the common soldier living in the trenches was omitted. There were however, non-scholarly publications that fed a growing public demand for this kind of story-telling. “There appeared innumerable books of letters, notebooks, diaries, memoirs, and novels. The public was interested in what they wrote, but historians were not.”[53]
The second configuration Prost and Winter explain is the formation of a social history. Following the Second World War, there was an explosion in higher learning, producing a massive amount of qualified historians. These historians started producing works around the year 1960. This increase in the number of historians naturally led to an increase in study in all subjects, including the Great War.[54] The lives of individual soldiers were examined in context. Other non-military areas of the war were included like socio-economic factors. Historians dealt with the ideological battle being waged between Marxists and Capitalists. This can be seen in a readdressing of the questions of war guilt both through the lens of Marxist ideology and counters to those theories in a number of works.[55] The occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the war, the age of retirement of its combatants, and the explosion of the availability of television programming led to a huge renewed interest in the subject in this time frame.[56]
Another hallmark of this era was the “shifting attention away from the question of war origins to the question of war aims.”[57] As previously stated, Fritz Fischers’ 1961 work questioned whether the Nazi regime was a blip on the radar of German history, or a logical continuation of aggressive policies that lead to the summer of 1914.[58] Once again the Marxism question came into play in questioning the economic motives of the Entente powers in the conflict.[59]
The third and final configuration discussed is how the war made an impact upon culture and society throughout history. At around the end of the Cold War, the focus had once again shifted. Not just content with the context of the Great War, historians started looking at the emotional aspects of the war and how it affected contemporary culture.[60] Prost and Winter attribute this shift in some part to the “delegitimation of the Marxist paradigm.”[61] The fall of the Iron Curtain removed many of the social aspects brought up by the ideological struggle of the 1960s to 1980s. Without an ideological lens through which to view the socio-economic fabric, the historians turned to the buzz words of “’mentality’, ‘opinion’, [and] ‘psychology.’”[62] A new subject matter focused on the brutality, the crimes, the inhumanity, and the violence of the war. A further tying together of the two World Wars was done as the horrors of the Second were apologetically explained by the acts of their fathers in the First.[63]
This era, which Prost and Winter say is still pervasive today, is also a struggle to remember the past. As the remaining combatants of the war died, there was a panic that their sacrifices, exploits, and the horrors that were the war would be forever forgotten.[64]
World War I will remain a topic of interest to historians for many hundreds of years.  It was truly a horrifying and spectacular opening to the bloodiest century in world history.  This conflict set the stage and contributed to the start of for the rise of fascism, Nazi Germany, the Bolshevik Revolution, the imperial ambitions of Japan, the rise of the Soviet Union, the Cold War, and the countless ancillary wars waged between countries backed by those on opposite ends of the war.  All of these events can be traced in some fashion to those first mobilizations of armies in the late summer of 1914.
As history continues, people’s knowledge and understandings change, new primary sources come to light, and the emotional attachments of nationalism and the memories of blood relatives fade, the way historians to come will write about the Great War will undoubtedly change.  How historians have written about the war the past ninety years is evidence of this.

Cochran, M. H. Germany Not Guilty in 1914. Colorado Springs, CO: Ralph Myles, 1972.
Coetzee, Frans and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds.. Authority, Identity and the Social History of the Great War. Oxford: Berghan Books, 1995.
Edmonds, BrigGen James E. A Short History of World War I. New York: Greenwood Press, 1968.
Falls, Cyril. The Great War. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1959.
Fay, Sidney Bradshaw. The Origins of the World War. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1928.
Ferguson, Niall. The Pity of War: Explaining World War I. New York: Basic Books, 1999.
Fischer, Fritz. Germany’s Aims in the First World War. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 1967.
Fleming, D. F. The Origins and Legacies of World War I. New York: Doubleday, 1968.
Fromkin, David. Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? Westminster, MD: Knopf Publishing Group, 2004.
Gilbert, Martin. The First World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.
Hale, Frederick A. “Fritz Fischer and the Historiography of World War One.” The History Teacher 9, no. 2 (February 1976): 258-279.
Hamilton, Richard, and Holger Herwig. Decisions for War, 1914-1917. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.
Hamilton, Richard, and Holger Herwig. The Origins of World War I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Hayes, Carlton J. H. A Brief History of the Great War. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1921.
Hayes, Carlton J. H. Contemporary Europe Since 1870. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1958.
Herwig, Holger H. The First World War – Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918. New York: Arnold, 1997.
Keegan, John. The First World War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf Publishing Group, 1998.
MacDonald, Lyn. 1914: The First Months of Fighting. New York: MacMillan, 1987.
Marshall, S. L. A. World War I. New York: American Heritage, 1971.
Martin, Gilbert. The First World War: A Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.
Mombauer, Annika. The Origins of the First World War – Controversies and Consensus. New York: Pearson Education Limited, 2002.
Paris, Michael, ed. The First World War and Popular Cinema. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000.
Prost, Antoine and Jay Winter. The Great War in History – Debates and Controversies, 1914 to Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.
Seipp, Adam R. “Review: Beyond the ‘Seminal Catastrophe’: Re-Imagining the First World War.” Journal of Contemporary History 41, no. 4 (October 2006): 757-766.
Smith, Bernadotte E. The Coming of the War, 1914. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930.
Strachan, Hew. The First World War Volume One – To Arms. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
Suttie, Andrew. Rewriting the First World War – Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy 1914-1918. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005.
Winter, J. M. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning – The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

[1] Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History (New York: Henry Holt, 1994), xv.
[2] John Keegan, The First World War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 6.
[3] Ibid., 7.
[4] “The Covenant of the League of Nations,” June 28, 1919, [accessed July 26, 2011].
[5] James E. Edmonds, A Short History of World War I (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), vii.
[6] Ibid., 1-2.
[7] Ibid., 428.
[8] Ibid., 2.
[9] Fritz Fischer, Germany’s Aims in the First World War (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1967), 11
[10] Ibid., 637.
[11] Sidney Bradshaw Fay, The Origins of the World War (New York: The MacMillan Company, 1928), 1.
[12] Ibid., 2.
[13] Ibid., 547-548.
[14] D. F. Fleming, The Origins and Legacies of World War I (New York: Doubleday, 1968), 149.
[15] Martin Gilbert, The First World War: A Complete History (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994), 24.
[16] John Keegan, The First World War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), 19.
[17] Ibid., 20.
[18] Ibid., 21.
[19] David Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914? (Westminster, MD: Knopf Publishing Group, 2004), 259-263.
[20] Ibid., 272.
[21] Ibid., 277.
[22] Richard Hamilton and Holger Herwig, The Origins of World War I (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 1.
[23] Ibid., 443.
[24] Ibid., 451.
[25] Carlton J. H. Hayes, Contemporary Europe Since 1870 (New York: MacMillan, 1958), 209.
[26] Carlton J. H. Hayes, A Brief History of the Great War (New York: MacMillan, 1921), 7.
[27] S. L. A. Marshall, World War I (New York: American Heritage Press, 1971), 21.
[28] Ibid., 28.
[29] Ibid., 33.
[30] Ibid., 28.
[31] M. H. Cochran, Germany Not Guilty in 1914 (Colorado Springs: Ralph Myers, 1972), 4.
[32] Mombauer, Annika, The Origins of the First World War – Controversies and Consensus (New York: Pearson Education Limited, 2002).
[33] Antoine Prost and Jay Winter. The Great War in History – Debates and Controversies, 1914 to Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 7.
[34] Bernadotte E. Smith, The Coming of the War, 1914 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930).
[35] Cyril Falls, The Great War (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1959), 24-25, 29.
[36] David Lloyd George, The War Memoirs of David Lloyd George (London: Oldhams Press, 1938).
[37] John Joseph Pershing, My Experiences in the World War (New York: Frederick A. Stokes, 1931).
[38] Viscount French, 1914 (Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1919).
[39] Theobald Von Bethmann-Hollweg, Reflections on the World War (London: Thornton Butterworth, 1920).
[40] Antoine Prost and Jay Winter, The Great War in History – Debates and Controversies, 1914 to Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 7.
[41] Andrew Suttie, Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics and Strategy 1914-1918 (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2005), 196.
[42] Ibid., 4.
[43] Ibid., 196.
[44] Ibid.
[45] Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (New York: Basic Books, 1999), xxv-xxvi.
[46] Holger H. Herwig, The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 (New York: Arnold, 1997).
[47] Michael Paris, ed., The First World War and Popular Cinema (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2000).
[48] Frans Coetzee and Marilyn Shevin-Coetzee, eds, Authority, Identity and the Social History of the Great War (Oxford: Berghan Books, 1995).
[49] J.M. Winter, The Experience of World War I (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989).
[50] Antoine Prost and Jay Winter, The Great War in History – Debates and Controversies, 1914 to Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 7.
[51] Ibid., 8.
[52] Ibid., 13.
[53] Ibid., 13-14.
[54] Ibid., 18-19.
[55] Ibid., 22.
[56] Ibid., 19-20.
[57] Ibid., 23.
[58] Ibid., 24.
[59] Ibid.
[60] Ibid., 25-26.
[61] Ibid., 26.
[62] Ibid.
[63] Ibid., 29.
[64] Ibid., 28.

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