Reflections on the Great War
Frank C. Zagare

As the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War grew near, scholarly interest in its origins intensified. The renewed focus on the causes of World War I is reflected in the literatures of interstate conflict, peace science and, especially, diplomatic history. In the run-up to the war’s anniversary, new documents were discovered (Mombauer, 2013) and, as one might expect, the consensus understanding of the July crisis shifted (Otte, 2014a; Vasquez, 2014; Williamson, 2014). This paper explores three of the foundational questions about the Great War in light of these discoveries: 1) who was to blame; 2) was the war inevitable; and 3) was it an accident? It argues that the answers to these question that were reached in my book The Games of July are more than consistent with the most recent historiographical research. Standing up less well is the accidental war thesis, the war was inevitable argument, the cult of the offensive hypothesis, and any explanation that singles out Germany, Austria, Russia, Britain, or France as the causal villain.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/rhps.v3n2a1