An Improbable War?: The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture Before 1914

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Holger Afflerbach, David Stevenson
Berghahn Books, 2012 - History - 365 pages
1 Review
...outstanding scholarly analyses...These essays comprise a valuable addition to the never-ending debate on the causes of the Great War. Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association

...vigorously and thoughtfully renews one of the great, enduring questions of twentieth-century European and world history. This is a landmark book that sums up the state of research and suggests fruitful possibilities for going forward. German Studies Review

The value of the book is in the chapters, all of which are thoughtful and well argued. The International History Review

Like any provocative book, this one forced me to rethink some of my historiographical assumptions. Bryan Ganaway, College of Charleston

The First World War has been described as the "primordial catastrophe of the twentieth century." Arguably, Italian Fascism, German National Socialism and Soviet Leninism and Stalinism would not have emerged without the cultural and political shock of World War I. The question why this catastrophe happened therefore preoccupies historians to this day. The focus of this volume is not on the consequences, but rather on the connection between the Great War and the long 19th century, the short- and long-term causes of World War I. This approach results in the questioning of many received ideas about the war's causes, especially the notion of "inevitability."

Holger Afflerbach specializes in 19th- and 20th- Century German history; international relations; military history, particularly World War I and World War II, as well as Austrian and Italian history and has written widely on these topics. He is teaching at the University of Leeds.

David Stevenson is Stevenson Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He specializes in the history of international relations in Europe since c.1900, with particular reference to the World War I. His recent publications include Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe, 1904-1914 (Oxford, 1996), Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy (New York, 2004) and With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (Allen Lane, 2011)

 

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This book is the outcome of a conference at Emory University in 2004. The conference was to deal with the question "Was the First World War inevitable or improbable?". Taken from that conference were ... Read full review

Contents

Part I EUROPEAN STATES CRAFT AND THE QUESTION OF WAR AND PEACE BEFORE 1914
14
Chapter 1 STEALING HORSES TO GREAT APPLAUSE
17
Chapter 2 DID NORMS MATTER IN NINETEENTHCENTURY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS?
43
Chapter 3 AGGRESSIVE AND DEFENSIVE AIMS OF POLITICAL ELITES?
60
Chapter 4 THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE KAISERS DISAPPEARING WAR GUILT
74
EUROPE BETWEENHOT AND COLD WAR
92
18981914
94
Chapter 6 WAS A PEACEFUL OUTCOME THINKABLE?
113
Chapter 12 EDUCATION FOR WAR PEACE AND PATRIOTISM IN RUSSIA ON THE EVE OF WORLD WAR I
213
Part IV CULTURE GENDER RELIGIOSITY AND THE COMING OF WAR
230
Chapter 13 HONOR GENDER AND POWER
232
Chapter 14 INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY IN EUROPEAN AND NORTH AMERICAN PROTESTANTISM BEFORE 1914 AND AFTER
256
Chapter 15 AN IMPROBABLE WAR? INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS ARTS AND CULTURE BEFORE 1914
270
THE OUTBREAK OF WAR IN EUROPEIN THE EYES OF OTHER CONTINENTS
284
Chapter 16 WAR AS THE SAVIOR? HOPES FOR WAR AND PEACE IN OTTOMAN POLITICS BEFORE 1914
287
Chapter 17 THE VIEW FROM JAPAN
302

Chapter 8 THE GERMAN AND AUSTROHUNGARIAN GENERAL STAFFS AND THEIR REFLECTIONS ON AN IMPOSSIBLE WAR
149
Part III HOPES AND FEARS OF WAR AND PEACE SUBJECTIVE EXPECTATIONS AND UNSPOKEN ASSUMPTIONS IN EUROPEAN SOCIET...
159
Chapter 9 THE TOPOS OF IMPROBABLE WAR IN EUROPE BEFORE 1914
160
Chapter 10 UNFOUGHT WARS
182
Chapter 11 WAR ENTHUSIASM? PUBLIC OPINION AND THE OUTBREAK OF WAR IN 1914
200
Chapter 18 WAR PEACE AND COMMERCE
320
CONTRIBUTORS
335
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
340
INDEX
360
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About the author (2012)

Holger Afflerbach specializes in 19th- and 20th- Century German history; international relations; military history, particularly World War I and World War II, as well as Austrian and Italian history and has written widely on these topics. He is teaching at the University of Leeds.

David Stevenson is Stevenson Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He specializes in the history of international relations in Europe since c.1900, with particular reference to the World War I. His recent publications include Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe, 1904-1914 (Oxford, 1996), Cataclysm: The First World War as Political Tragedy (New York, 2004) amd With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (Allen Lane, 2011)

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