...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)
In 1914 the world changed. Europe’s great powers were dragged, one by one, into a war by Serbian conflict which affected very few of them directly. At least it would resemble the short sharp battles of the previous century, many thought – fought with military bands, horsemen, and swift victories. But 1914 proved to be different, a watershed, as old notions of war were trampled in the mud.
‘1914: History in an Hour’ is the indispensable overview of the year that marked the end of the Belle Époque and the shocking birth of modern mechanised warfare. It became a war of unimaginable horror, fought with terrifying new weapons that produced death on an industrial scale, a war that involved so many nations and reached into the fabric of their societies. 1914 shaped the First World War, and the years beyond.