Burden of Guilt: How Germany Shattered the Last Days of Peace, Summer 1914

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Casemate, Jul 27, 2010 - History - 336 pages
2 Reviews
The conflagration that consumed Europe in August 1914 had been a long time in coming—and yet it need never have happened at all. For though all the European powers were prepared to accept a war as a resolution to the tensions which were fermenting across the Continent, only one nation wanted war to come: Imperial Germany. Of all the countries caught up in the tangle of alliances, promises, and pledges of support during the crisis that followed the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Germany alone possessed the opportunity and the power to determine that a war in eastern Europe would become The Great War, which swept across the Continent and nearly destroyed a thousand years of European civilization. For nearly nine decades it has been argued that the responsibility for the First World War was a shared one, spread among all the Great Powers. Now, in The Burden of Guilt, historian Daniel Allen Butler has substantively challenged that point of view, establishing that the Treaty of Versailles was actually a correct and fair judgment: Germany did indeed bear the true responsibility for the Great War. Working from government archives and records, as well as personal papers and memoirs of the men who made the decisions that carried Europe to war, Butler interweaves the events of summer 1914 with portraits of the monarchs, diplomats, prime ministers, and other national leaders involved in the 1914 crisis. He explores the national policies and goals these men were pursuing, and shows conclusively how on three distinct occasions the Imperial German government was presented with opportunities to contain the spreading crisis—opportunities unlike those of any other nation involved—yet each time, the German government consciously and deliberately chose the path which virtually assured that the Continent would go up in flames. The Burden of Guilt is a work destined to become an essential part of the library of the First World War, vital to understanding not only the “how” but also the “why” behind the pivotal event of modern world history.
 

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User Review  - christineplouvier - LibraryThing

Telling the story of those fragile few days by focusing separately on the actions of each of the eventual belligerents, ensures that the reader learns the history well and becomes thoroughly ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - douboy50 - LibraryThing

Interesting book by Daniel A. Butler. Another 'war guilt' work. This one, however, focuses deeply on Germany's role not so much in starting the war, but in not workig to prevent the conflict. Butler's ... Read full review

Contents

Two Bullets in Sarajevo
5
The Vials of Wrath
21
Counselors and Kings
41
War Plans
59
An Ultimatum from Vienna
85
Mobilization in St Petersburg
111
Willy and Nicky
133
A Warning in London
157
The Last Chance
233
The Burden of Guilt
261
No Mans Land
288
The AustroHungarian Note to Serbia and the Serbian Reply
289
The WillyNicky Telegrams
299
Germanys Demand for Free Passage through Belgium August 2 1914
305
Sir Edward Greys Speech Before the House of Commons August 3 1914
307
Sources and Bibliography
319

Decisions in Berlin
185
Resolution in Paris
213

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About the author (2010)

Daniel Allen Butler is a maritime and military historian, the author (through September 2011) of nine books. Some of his previous works include "Unsinkable"--the Full Story of RMS Titanic; Distant Victory-the Battle of Jutland and the Allied Triumph in the First World War; The Age of Cunard-A Transatlantic History, 1839-2003; The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian, and the Night the Titanic was Lost; The Burden of Guilt: How Germany Shattered the Last Days of Peace, Summer 1914; and Shadow of the Sultan's Realm: the Destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East.

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