The war that ended peace The road to 1914

Margaret MacMillan, 1943-

Book - 2013

Presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural, and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.

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Subjects
Published
New York : Random House 2013.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xxxv, 739 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [651]-706) and index.
ISBN
9781400068555
140006855X
Main Author
Margaret MacMillan, 1943- (author)
  • War or peace?
  • Europe in 1900
  • Great Britain and splendid isolation
  • "Woe to the country that has a child for king!" : Wilhelm II and Germany
  • Weltpolitik : Germany's place on the world stage
  • Dreadnought : the Anglo-German naval rivalry
  • Unlikely friends : the Entente Cordiale between France and Britain
  • The bear and the whale : Russia and Great Britain
  • The loyalty of the Nibelungs : the dual alliance of Austria-Hungary and Germany
  • What were they thinking? : hopes, fears, ideas, and unspoken assumptions
  • Dreaming of peace
  • Thinking about war
  • Making the plans
  • The crises start : Germany, France, and Morocco
  • The Bosnian crisis : confrontation. between Russia and Austria-Hungary in the Balkans
  • 1911 : the year of discords : Morocco again
  • The first Balkan Wars
  • Preparing for war or peace : Europe's last months of peace
  • Assassination at Sarajevo
  • The end of the Concert of Europe : Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia
  • turning out the lights : Europe's last week of peace
  • The War.
Review by Booklist Reviews

Anytime something turns 100, the commemorations and look-backs are sure to come rolling in. Take WWI, which "celebrates" the 100th anniversary of its declaration come summer of 2014. Nevertheless, that war, as with most wars, was a long chain of events that culminated in disaster. MacMillan's charting of those events comprises the bulk of this hefty text. She showcases how numerous royals, politicians, industrialists, colonial advocates, and military minds groped in the dark toward a showdown in which each nation's respective valor could be tested. The trouble with a book like this is that everything can be lent a veneer of inevitability, but history rarely works in such a linear manner. But MacMillan, famous for her scholarship on the peace concluding WWI, avoids this trap. She shows, again and again, that events could have run in any number of different directions. What resulted was a blunder on the part of plenty of blood-stained hands all around that was far from inevitable. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Choice Reviews

MacMillan (international history, Oxford), author of the outstanding Paris, 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (CH, Apr'03, 40-4847) about the Treaty of Versailles, has written a serious work about the history of Europe leading up to the outbreak of WW I in 1914. She chooses to view WW I from the perspective of the great power conflict over crises in Morocco, the Balkan wars, the Russo-Japanese War, and, more importantly, the serious naval conflict between Great Britain and Germany. While MacMillan acknowledges that trade issues, colonialism, nationalism, and militarism also caused tensions, she makes clear that the Alliance System of the Entente Powers versus the Central Powers was more imprisoning than helpful in the buildup to war. However, key to the march to war was the recalcitrance of Austria-Hungary to settle the Serbian post-Sarajevo crisis of July 1914 without drawing in Germany; Russia's early mobilization in committed support of Serbia; and the mistaken belief by statesmen in Great Britain and France that Germany would somehow pull back from the brink when faced with Belgian resistance and the prospect of a two-front war. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Historians of the period and students of the history of 20th-century Europe. Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty. A. M. Mayer College of Staten Island Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

This study of events leading up to World War I comes from the author of Paris 1919, which sold over 415,000 copies and won the Duff Cooper, Samuel Johnson, Hessell-Tiltman, and Governor-General's prizes and a Silver Medal for the Arthur Ross Book Award of the Council on Foreign Relations. [Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The question of the causes of the Great War has occupied historians for decades and promises to continue to intrigue. MacMillan (history, Univ. of Toronto), prize winner for Paris 1919, reviews the dynamic tensions in Europe prior to 1914. She reminds readers that the leaders of several European nations were dealing with such issues as fears of revolution at home and abroad while maneuvering for an advantage in the military sphere. The series of crises in the Balkans may have convinced political and military minds that any impending conflict would be of short duration. So, as MacMillan notes, the war was perceived as one that would have almost a cleansing effect on the European world. It turned out much differently. This book adds to a growing corpus exploring the war's roots, including Michael S. Neiberg's Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I, Frank C. Zagare's The Games of July: Explaining the Great War, and William Mulligan's The Origins of the First World War. MacMillan, who edited Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August and The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890–1914 for the Library of America, writes in a style reminiscent of Tuchman. VERDICT This is a first-rate study, necessary for all World War I collections. Highly recommended.—Ed Goedeken, (EG) Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames [Page 110]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

A prize-winning historian's exhaustive take on why the war happened when peace might have prevailed. (LJ 10/15/13) [Page 53]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The question of the causes of the Great War has occupied historians for decades and promises to continue to intrigue. MacMillan (history, Univ. of Toronto), prize winner for Paris 1919, reviews the dynamic tensions in Europe prior to 1914. She reminds readers that the leaders of several European nations were dealing with such issues as fears of revolution at home and abroad while maneuvering for an advantage in the military sphere. The series of crises in the Balkans may have convinced political and military minds that any impending conflict would be of short duration. So, as MacMillan notes, the war was perceived as one that would have almost a cleansing effect on the European world. It turned out much differently. This book adds to a growing corpus exploring the war's roots, including Michael S. Neiberg's Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I, Frank C. Zagare's The Games of July: Explaining the Great War, and William Mulligan's The Origins of the First World War. MacMillan, who edited Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August and The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890–1914 for the Library of America, writes in a style reminiscent of Tuchman. VERDICT This is a first-rate study, necessary for all World War I collections. Highly recom-mended.—Ed Goedeken, (EG) Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Macmillan, professor of international history at Oxford, follows her Paris 1919 with another richly textured narrative about WWI, this time addressing the war's build-up. She asks, "What made 1914 different?" and wonders why Europe "walk over the cliff" given the continent's relatively longstanding peace. She begins by addressing Germany's misfortune in having "a child for King"; Wilhelm II sought to secure Germany's—and his own—world power status by inaugurating a naval race with Britain. Britain responded by making "unlikely friends" with France and Russia. Germany in turn cultivated relations with a near-moribund Austria-Hungary. Macmillan tells this familiar story with panache. A major contribution, however, is her presentation of its subtext, as Europe's claims to be the world's most advanced civilization "were being challenged from without and undermined from within." Exertions for peace were overshadowed by acceptance of war as "a tool that could be used" against enemies made increasingly threatening by alliance systems. The nations' war plans shared a "deeply rooted faith in the offensive" and a near-irrational belief in the possibility of a short war. Macmillan eloquently shows that "turning out the lights" was not inevitable, but a consequence of years of decisions and reactions: a slow-motion train wreck few wanted but none could avoid. Agent: Christy Fletcher, C. Fletcher & Company LLC. (Nov.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural, and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The award-winning author of Paris 1919 presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BYThe New York Times Book Review • The Economist • The Christian Science Monitor • Bloomberg Businessweek • The Globe and MailFrom the bestselling and award-winning author of Paris 1919 comes a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, a fascinating portrait of Europe from 1900 up to the outbreak of World War I.The century since the end of the Napoleonic wars had been the most peaceful era Europe had known since the fall of the Roman Empire. In the first years of the twentieth century, Europe believed it was marching to a golden, happy, and prosperous future. But instead, complex personalities and rivalries, colonialism and ethnic nationalisms, and shifting alliances helped to bring about the failure of the long peace and the outbreak of a war that transformed Europe and the world.The War That Ended Peace brings vividly to life the military leaders, politicians, diplomats, bankers, and the extended, interrelated family of crowned headsacross Europe who failed to stop the descent into war: in Germany, the mercurial Kaiser Wilhelm II and the chief of the German general staff, Von Moltke the Younger; in Austria-Hungary, Emperor Franz Joseph, a man who tried, through sheer hard work, to stave off the coming chaos in his empire; in Russia, Tsar Nicholas II and his wife; in Britain, King Edward VII, Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, and British admiral Jacky Fisher, the fierce advocate of naval reform who entered into the arms race with Germany that pushed the continent toward confrontation on land and sea.There are the would-be peacemakers as well, among them prophets of the horrors of future wars whose warnings went unheeded: Alfred Nobel, who donated his fortune to the cause of international understanding, and Bertha von Suttner, a writer and activist who was the first woman awarded Nobel’s new Peace Prize. Here too we meet the urbane and cosmopolitan Count Harry Kessler, who noticed many of the early signs that something was stirring in Europe; the young Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty and a rising figure in British politics; Madame Caillaux, who shot a man who might have been a force for peace; and more. With indelible portraits, MacMillan shows how the fateful decisions of a few powerful people changed the course of history.Taut, suspenseful, and impossible to put down, The War That Ended Peace is also a wise cautionary reminder of how wars happen in spite of the near-universal desire to keep the peace. Destined to become a classic in the tradition of Barbara Tuchman’sThe Guns of August, The War That Ended Peace enriches our understanding of one of the defining periods and events of the twentieth century.Praise for The War That Ended Peace“Magnificent . . . The War That Ended Peace will certainly rank among the best books of the centennial crop.”—The Economist“Superb.”—The New York Times Book Review“Masterly . . . marvelous . . . Those looking to understand why World War I happened will have a hard time finding a better place to start.”—The Christian Science Monitor“The debate over the war’s origins has raged for years. Ms. MacMillan’s explanation goes straight to the heart of political fallibility. . . . Elegantly written, with wonderful character sketches of the key players, this is a book to be treasured.”—The Wall Street Journal“A magisterial 600-page panorama.”—Christopher Clark, London Review of Books