The debate about the conflict which transformed Europe between 1914 and 1918 is one of the most fundamental in modern European history. This book, based on public lectures given in Oxford, makes two distinctive contributions to that debate. It presents readable and judicious accounts of the events and decisions which directly precipitated the outbreak of war in each of the main countries and assesses the role of public opinion and popular mood in determining and responding to the "July Crisis." The book offers a stimulating survey of the historiography of the immediate causes of the war, before and since the famous "Fischer controversy" over German responsibility, and new reflections on the character of the official and unofficial "mentalitA(c)s" during the last weeks of peace. Published on the seventieth anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, this book will appeal to anyone interested in how wars begin.
`A collection of excellent essays ... incorporating the conclusions of the latest scholarship.'
London Review of Books
`... full of fresh ideas and mostly elegantly and eloquently written. It fully justifies the editors' claim to have contributed something new and significant by concentrating ... upon the actual decisions of politicians and their immediate background in the public opinion and popular mood of those sultry July days.'
English Historical Review
'This fine collection is a major contribution to the "post-Fischer" debate on the coming of war. But the achievement of this collection also lies in communicating a sense of what the crisis meant to those beyond the embassy walls and Cabinet rooms.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'Interesting, informative and very readable ... worth getting if you need a reference on how it all began.'
Stand To! Journal of the Western Front Association
'As the editors say, the aim was to provide a 'concise and accessible account for the general reader' ... this objective has been successfully achieved ... highly readable throughout ... Almost every contribution exemplifies this fruitful combination of innovation and accessibility ... important volume.'
Gerd Krumeich, Düsseldorf, German Historical Institute London Bulletin
Introduction; Europe on the eve of the First World War; The Balkans in the outbreak of the First World War; The Habsburg monarchy and the coming of the war; Russia and the outbreak of the First World War; Germany and the origins of the First World War; The coming of the First World War: France; Britain enters the war; Bibliography; Index