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The Failure to Prevent World War I

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'. 

Hardcover: 294 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1472430564


Hall Gardner’s book on the origins of the First World War is in many ways quite unique. As a political scientist, Gardner explores territory which in terms of a book length treatment, has been much more the terrain of historians than political scientists. And in terms f his thesis, Gardner is also treading on new territory in arguing that ‘the French reaction to the Prussian/ German seizure of Alsace-Lorrain (…) played a crucial role in Anglo-French-Russian-German-German seizure of Austrian-Italian diplomatic relations up until the outbreak of the war.


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Charles Giovanni Vanzan Coutinho—Royal Historical Soceity, London, England

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