Skip to main content Accessibility help
The Outbreak of the First World War
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 6
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

The First World War had profound consequences both for the evolution of the international system and for domestic political systems. How and why did the war start? Offering a unique interdisciplinary perspective, this volume brings together a distinguished group of diplomatic historians and international relations scholars to debate the causes of the war. Organized around several theoretically based questions, it shows how power, alliances, historical rivalries, militarism, nationalism, public opinion, internal politics, and powerful personalities shaped decision-making in each of the major countries in the lead up to war. The emphasis on the interplay of theory and history is a significant contribution to the dialogue between historians and political scientists, and will contribute to a better understanding of the war in both disciplines.


‘The First World War is a dominant event for subfields in both history and political science. This interdisciplinary revisiting of the causes of the conflict focuses on several enduring and important questions, including the impact of situational and dispositional factors, whether Germany or other states bear primary responsibility, and why the war began in 1914. These serious, scholarly, and timely essays are a valuable addition to multiple research traditions, including international relations theory, security studies, and diplomatic history.'

Colin Elman - Maxwell School of Syracuse University

‘This important collection of essays offers new perspectives on a century-old controversy that shows no sign of abating. It is a unique volume which advances original and thought-provoking interpretations by leading historians and political scientists.’

Annika Mombauer - The Open University

‘World War I continues to command attention even after a century both because of the immense destruction it caused and the still worse conflict and war it helped produce. That it also remains highly instructive on fundamental questions of war, peace, and international politics is convincingly proved by this well organized and expertly edited collection of original essays by leading historians and political scientists.’

Paul W. Schroeder - Professor (emeritus), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

‘The editors are to be congratulated for assembling a closely reasoned volume of essays of outstanding quality. Blending insights from international history and from political science, this book provides an indispensable update that forcefully represents both sides in the continuing debate.’

David Stevenson - London School of Economics and Political Science

'A fruitful collaboration of historians and political scientists that contains much high class scholarship.'

Source: Wall Street Journal

'This collection of essays by historians and political scientists from across the English-speaking world examine various aspects of the political and diplomatic institutions and decisions that had immediate influence on the outbreak of the Great War. … The essays are all well-documented and thoughtful … An excellent work, this is primarily for the serious scholar of the Great War and of decision-making in times of crisis.'

Source: NYMAS Review

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Send to Kindle
  • Send to Dropbox
  • Send to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.