1914-1918: The History of the First World War by David Stevenson

By David Stevenson

In the summertime of 1914 Europe exploded right into a frenzy of mass violence. The battle that had worldwide repercussions, destroying 4 empires and costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Even the effective nations have been scarred for a iteration, and we nonetheless this present day stay in the conflict's shadow. during this significant new research, released a few 90 years after the 1st international warfare all started, David Stevenson re-examines the factors, path and impression of this 'war to finish war', putting it within the context of its period and exposing its underlying dynamics. His e-book offers a wide-ranging overseas historical past, drawing on insights from the newest learn. It bargains compelling solutions to the major questions about how this bad fight spread out: questions that stay disturbingly appropriate for our personal time

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None the less, the wars heightened the threat on Austria-Hungary’s south-eastern borders. Turkey and Bulgaria were weakened as potential Austrian allies, and in the second war Romania fought alongside Serbia. From being Austria-Hungary’s secret partner, Bucharest became another enemy, eyeing the Romanian-speakers in Transylvania. Finally, Franz Joseph’s new foreign minister, Leopold Berchtold, concluded from the Balkan Wars that working with the other powers through the Concert of Europe achieved little.

The chancellor and his ministers were not Reichstag deputies or indeed elected politicians at all, and the Reichstag, unlike the House of Commons or the French Chamber of Deputies, could not overthrow them. They needed its approval, however, for taxation and legislation, including army recruitment and warship construction laws. The Conservative and the National Liberal Parties (which normally the government could rely on) were losing support, mainly because of the rise of the Social Democratic Party (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands or SPD), which in the 1912 elections became the strongest in Germany.

25 The ultimatum impressed most European governments by its draconian demands, although if Serbian complicity was indeed as alleged the substance of the document was arguably moderate. But the summary time limit gave the game away, as did the peremptory rejection of Belgrade’s answer. The ultimatum had been intended to start a showdown, Serbia’s skilful reply reinforcing the impression that Vienna rather than Belgrade was guilty of provocation. How far were Austria-Hungary’s accusations accurate, and why was it committed to so overbearing a course?

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