The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War
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The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War

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David Herrmann's work is the most complete study to date of how land-based military power influenced international affairs during the series of diplomatic crises that led up to the First World War. Instead of emphasizing the naval arms race, which has been extensively studied before, Herrmann draws on documentary research in military and state archives in Germany, France, Austria, England, and Italy to show the previously unexplored effects of changes in the strength of the European armies during this period. Herrmann's work provides not only a contribution to debates about the causes of the war but also an account of how the European armies adopted the new weaponry of the twentieth century in the decade before 1914, including quick-firing artillery, machine guns, motor transport, and aircraft. In a narrative account that runs from the beginning of a series of international crises in 1904 until the outbreak of the war, Herrmann points to changes in the balance of military power to explain why the war began in 1914, instead of at some other time.
Russia was incapable of waging a European war in the aftermath of its defeat at the hands of Japan in 1904-5, but in 1912, when Russia appeared to be regaining its capacity to fight, an unprecedented land-armaments race began. Consequently, when the July crisis of 1914 developed, the atmosphere of military competition made war a far more likely outcome than it would have been a decade earlier.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 322 pages
  • 197 x 254 x 21.08mm | 510g
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 4 Maps
  • 0691015953
  • 9780691015958
  • 924,057

Table of contents

List of MapsPrefaceList of AbbreviationsIntroduction3Ch. 1The European Armies in 19047Ch. 2The European Armies and the First Moroccan Crisis, 1905-190637Ch. 3Military Effectiveness and Modern Technology, 1906-190859Ch. 4The Bosnia-Herzegovina Annexation Crisis and the Recovery of Russian Power, 1908-1911113Ch. 5The Second Moroccan Crisis and the Beginning of German Panic, 1911-1912147Ch. 6The Balkan Wars and the Spiral of Armaments, 1912-1913173Ch. 7The European Armies and the Outbreak of the First World War199Conclusion225Appendix A: Peacetime Strength of the European Armies, 1904-1913233Appendix B: Army Expenditures of the European Powers, 1904-1914236Notes239Bibliography289Index301
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Review quote

Winner of the 1996 Paul Birdsall Prize, American Historical Association "Herrmann argues that the dynamic element which upset the European balance was the change in statesmen's perceptions of the military strengths and weaknesses of their neighbors between 1904 and 1914...A good book [that] draws on evidence from French, German, Austrian, Italian, and British archives."--David French, The Times Literary Supplement "A valuable and long-overdue book... It offers a far more nuanced and sophisticated understanding of military organizations as they faced the calamity of the First World War. A first-rate piece of work."--Eliot A. Cohen, Foreign Affairs
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About David G. Herrmann

David G. Herrmann is Assistant Professor of History at Tulane University.
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Rating details

48 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 19% (9)
4 44% (21)
3 31% (15)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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