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300px|French soldiers flaming German trenches in Flanders]]
The First World War was an incredibly destructive and wide ranging catastrophe. Not only did it dramatically change the map of Europe and the world, it ultimately led to further instability and a second world war. There has long been a debate about the exact cause of the First World War. The assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand triggered the war but its ultimate causes were far more complex. These works all tend to agree that no government wanted to start a general war in Europe and dismiss the old idea that Germany was solely responsible for the war. They books shift blame for the immediate start of the war either on the miscalculations or errors of judgments of politicians. They also all agree that nationalism and international rivalry encouraged reckless decision making by governments and the militaries.
[[File:Guns_of_August.jpg|thumbnail|250px|[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0345476093/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0345476093&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=78538aecb1e3ec8e2a8768740f38b078 The Guns of August]]]