World War I represents one of the most studied, yet least understood, systemic conflicts in modern history. At the time, it was a major power war that was largely unexpected. This book refines and expands points made in the author’s earlier work on the failure to prevent World War I. It provides an alternative viewpoint to the thesis of Christopher Clark, Fritz Fischer, Paul Kennedy, among others, as to the war's long-term origins. By starting its analysis with the causes and consequences of the 1870-71 Franco-Prussian War and the German annexation of Alsace-Lorraine, the study systematically explores the key geostrategic, political-economic and socio-cultural-ideological disputes between France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy, Russia, Japan, the United States and Great Britain, the nature of their foreign policy goals, alliance formations, arms rivalries, as well as the dynamics of the diplomatic process, so as to better explain the deeper roots of the 'Great War'. The book concludes with a discussion of the war's relevance and the diplomatic failure to forge a possible Anglo-German-French alliance, while pointing out how it took a second world war to realize Victor Hugo’s nineteenth-century vision of a United States of Europe-a vision now being challenged by financial crisis and Russia's annexation of Crimea.
'Hall Gardner's book on the origins of the First World War is in many ways quite unique.' - Journal of Intelligence History, 2017
About the Series
Military Strategy and Operational Art
The Ashgate Series on Military Strategy and Operational Art analyzes and assesses the synergistic interrelationship between joint and combined military operations, national military strategy, grand strategy, and national political objectives in peacetime, as well as during periods of armed conflict. In doing so, the series highlights how various patterns of civil-military relations, as well as styles of political and military leadership influence the outcome of armed conflicts. In addition, the series highlights both the advantages and challenges associated with the joint and combined use of military forces involved in humanitarian relief, nation building, and peacekeeping operations, as well as across the spectrum of conflict extending from limited conflicts fought for limited political objectives to total war fought for unlimited objectives. Finally, the series highlights the complexity and challenges associated with insurgency and counter-insurgency operations, as well as conventional operations and operations involving the possible use of weapons of mass destruction. Scholars and practitioners in the fields of politico-military history, international relations, and national security policy are invited to contribute to this new series as well as faculty at senior and intermediate level service schools involved in professional military education.
BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
- HISTORY / Military / General
- HISTORY / Military / World War I