The sleepwalkers How Europe went to war in 1914

Christopher M. Clark

Book - 2013

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Harper 2013.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain in 2012 by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Books."
Physical Description
xxxi, 697 pages : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 563-666) and index.
ISBN
9780061146657
006114665X
Main Author
Christopher M. Clark (-)
  • Roads to Sarajevo. Serbian ghosts. Murder in Belgrade ; 'Irresponsible elements' ; Mental maps ; Separation ; Escalation ; Three Turkish wars ; The conspiracy ; Nikola Pašić reacts ; The empire without qualities. Conflict and equilibrium ; The chess players ; Lies and forgeries ; Deceptive calm ; Hawks and doves
  • One continent divided. The polarization of Europe, 1887-1907. Dangerous liaison : the Franco-Russian Alliance ; The Judgement of Paris ; The end of British neutrality ; Belated empire : Germany ; The Great Turning Point? ; Painting the devil on the wall ; The many voices of european foreign policy. Sovereign decision-makers; Who governed in St Petersburg? ; Who governed in Paris? ; Who governed in Berlin? ; The troubled supremacy of Sir Edward Grey ; The Agadir Crisis of 1911 ; Soldiers and civilians ; The press and public opinion ; The fluidity of power ; Balkan entanglements. Air strikes on Libya ; Balkan helter-skelter ; The wobbler ; The Balkan Winter Crisis of 1912-13 ; Bulgaria or Serbia? ; Austria's troubles ; The Balkanization of the Franco-Russian Alliance ; Paris forces the pace ; Poincaré under pressure ; Last chances : détente and danger, 1912-1914. The limits of détente ; 'Now or never' ; Germans on the Bosphorus ; The Balkan inception scenario ; A crisis of masculinity? ; How open was the future? ; Murder in Sarajevo. The assassination ; Flashbulb moments ; The investigation begins ; Serbian responses ; What is to be done? ; The widening circle. Reactions abroad ; Count Hoyos goes to Berlin ; The road to the Austrian ultimatum ; The strange death of Nikolai Hartwig ; The French in St Petersburg. Count de Robien changes trains ; M. Poincaré sails to Russia ; The poker game ; The ultimatum. Austria demands ; Serbia responds ; A 'local war' begins ; Warning shots. Firmness prevails ; 'Its' war this time' ; Russian reasons ; :Last days. A strange light falls upon the map of Europe ; Poincaré returns to Paris ; Russia mobilizes ; The leap into the dark ; 'There must be some misunderstanding' ; The tribulations of Paul Cambon ; Britain intervenes ; Belgium ; Boots.
Review by Booklist Reviews

The immense documentation of the origin of WWI, remarks historian Clark, can be marshaled to support a range of theses, and it but weakly sustains, in the tenor of his intricate analysis, the temptation to assign exclusive blame for the cataclysm to a particular country. Dispensing with a thesis, Clark interprets evidence in terms of the character, internal political heft, and external geopolitical perception and intention of a political actor. In other words, Clark centralizes human agency and, especially, human foibles of misperception, illogic, and emotion in his narrative. Touching on every significant figure in European diplomacy in the decade leading to August 1914, Clark underscores an entanglement of an official's fluctuating domestic power with a foreign interlocutor's appreciation, accurate or not, of that official's ability to make something stick in foreign policy. As narrative background, Clark choreographs the alliances and series of crises that preceded the one provoked by the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, but he focuses on the men whose risk-taking mistakes detonated WWI. Emphasizing the human element, Clark bestows a tragic sensibility on a magisterial work of scholarship. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

Clark (Cambridge) has made stunning use of new diplomatic evidence in European archives to present a "new view" of the march to world war in 1914. The meticulous trail of diplomatic notes and telegrams increases the likelihood that the author's view of "blame all around" will become the prevailing theory. Key factors that Clark considers: even though the Great Power alliance system was in place (Triple Entente versus Triple Alliance), countries within these blocs had suspicions as to whether their "allies" would back them up in the event of war. The murder of Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914 may have lit the match, but the fact that war actually broke out in August 1914 shows that diplomacy failed in large measure to "localize" the conflict (as Germany hoped), and spotlights Russia's ruthless pan-Slav policy against Austria-Hungary, which forced German action against Belgium, drawing France and Great Britain into war. German historian Fritz Fischer may claim that German revanchism was key, and that diplomats who wrote the Versailles Treaty and Article 231 tried to pin war blame on Germany's "blank check" to Austria-Hungary, but Clark's measured approach shows in actuality that there was enough blame to go around. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Diplomatic scholars of the period, graduate level and above. Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. A. M. Mayer College of Staten Island Copyright 2013 American Library Association.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

WWI is frequently described as a long-fused inevitable conflict, yet this comprehensively researched, gracefully written account of the war's genesis convincingly posits a bad brew of diplomatic contingencies and individual agency as the cause. Clark, history professor at Cambridge University, begins by describing the interactions of Serbia and Austria-Hungary, which sparked the conflict. He presents the former as a "raw and fragile democracy" whose "turbulent" politics challenged a neighboring empire held together by habit. Indeed, the instability across Europe further polarized alliance networks—foreign policies were shaped by "ambiguous relationships... and adversarial competitions" that obfuscated intentions. Nevertheless, the European system demonstrated "a surprising capacity for crisis management." But even the détente years of 1912–1914 were characterized by "persistent uncertainty in all quarters about the intentions of friends and potential foes alike." Beginning with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, that uncertainty informed the burgeoning crisis—Austria-Hungary's hesitation allowed Russia to frame the event as a tyrant "cut down by citizens of his own country"; Britain and France offered no challenge to the narrative; and Germany "counted on the localization of the Austro-Serbian conflict." Instead Russia escalated the crisis by mobilizing, Britain by hesitating, and Germany by panicking: Europe sleepwalked into "a tragedy." B&w illus., 7 maps. Agent: Andrew Wylie, the Wylie Agency. (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Illustrated with dozens of black-and-white photos, this authoritative chronicle, drawing on new research on World War I, traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, fast-paced narrative that examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914. 25,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An authoritative chronicle, drawing on new research on World War I, traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute narrative that examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

One of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the YearWinner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark’s riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark’s The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe’s descent into a war that tore the world apart.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of the YearWinner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (History)The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 is historian Christopher Clark's riveting account of the explosive beginnings of World War I.Drawing on new scholarship, Clark offers a fresh look at World War I, focusing not on the battles and atrocities of the war itself, but on the complex events and relationships that led a group of well-meaning leaders into brutal conflict.Clark traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts between the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade, and examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.Meticulously researched and masterfully written, Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers is a dramatic and authoritative chronicle of Europe's descent into a war that tore the world apart.