Tag Archives: wwi

Who Started World War I

Author Notes:

Most historians have a difficult time dispensing with their biases when writing historical treatises. They are after all merely Human, so this tendency is quite natural and should be expected from their readers. As large, complex events such as World War I are studied in great deal historians, researchers, and other interested parties tend to migrate to what are known as “schools of thought”. Each school believes it has found the answer or answers that explain the reasons for why such events have happened. In many cases these schools are also politicized to support prevailing political ideologies in a society and\or encourage a group-thing among a society’s citizens. None of this means that the research such “schools of thought”, which has been popularized in the mainstream, is necessarily inaccurate or wrong. However, under such circumstances it is easy for a veil of deceit and subterfuge to become the surface of such studies and in some cases replace good research with inept conclusions for various agendas.

World War I was a horrific conflict and unlike World War II after its conclusion, was allowed to be studied from a variety of quickly released resources that the second war’s researchers did not enjoy. However, as one historian as already noted, the documents released soon after the first world war’s conclusion were done so with the added intention of legitimizing the claims in the war made by each country’s release as well as with their to claims to innocence of any involvement towards initiating the conflict.

Such documentation has of course led to much debate over the actual reasons behind this cataclysm in world history; most of it being quite honest attempts since it did not have the overlying concerns of the “Holocaust” or the “European Jewish Question” to contend with. However, some will still claim that even the Jews in 1914 and before it were responsible for this event. Whatever their influence at the time it certainly was not in the various political groups that made up the leadership of the belligerents; at least not to the extent that they are given credit for.

The short answer to this decades’ old question is that they were all responsible due to their miscalculation of the expected consequences of their actions and there were specific reasons for these miscalculation the answer to which will be provided in the conclusion to this paper.

Continue reading


Pyrrhic Victory – A Book Review

Author: Robert A. Doughty

In Pyrrhic Victory, General Robert A. Doughty, formerly an instructor of military history at West Point for 20 years, writes an excellent, detailed history of the French Army’s strategies and operations during The Great War from 1914 to 1918. He meticulously covers every single major engagement on the Western Front through these years and provides what some have called the definitive, analytical study on the subject.

That being said, this is not a book for the casual reader of military history. In that it deals specifically with the analysis of combat operations during World War I, the focus of the book is narrowly focused on this area of study alone.

For such a study, Doughty does provide some very illuminating areas in his research but only a few times does his prose generate a sense of excitement over the subject matter. As a former West Point history instructor, one gets the feeling that his book was designed as a text for The Point as much as it was for commercial distribution. As a result, his writing at times becomes pedantic and dry at points. However, this should not lessen anyone’s interest in reading this text if combat operations is what you are interested in studying. No doubt, despite the failings of the prose at times, this book will definitely provide the reader with an in-depth look at how the French Army performed in these years.

The problem with the way the book is written is its inherent lack of color. Doughty appears to have written such a text as clinically as possible with little background information about the major actors on the battlefield in this tragic event. His intent is to only cover strategy and operations.

However, The French Army did not fight in a vacuum. Many complex factors provided the reasons why the French were on the battlefield in the first place; most importantly their loss in the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, a conflict the French initiated, though some historians are of the opinion that Otto von Bismark, then chancellor of Prussia, provoked. France’s loss in the conflict forced them to concede Alsace and Lorraine to the Prussian Army, which incensed French politicians and the public at large right through 1918. And though Germany would later attempt to formulate its own security through several alliances with surrounding nations, France sought to literally surround Germany with an alliance with Russia, making Germany far more concerned about her security than she would have been had such an alliance not been developed.

Continue reading