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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]]]
Barbara Tuchman. <i>[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]</i> (1962)
Barabara Tuchman's Pulitzer Prize winning book narrates and analyzes the immediate causes of the war. She discusses the strategies and policies of all those involved in the declaration of war. The book is a work of diplomatic and political history and Tuchman outlines the series of errors that according to her led to the onset of war. She asserts that none of those involved envisaged that any conflict in 1914 could become a global conflict. Tuchman believed that politicians and soldiers underestimated the possibility that Europe could descend into a general war. Politicians miscalculated that economic ties would mean that war would be averted because all the European nations were economically interdependent. The military mistakenly believed that any conflict would be limited. These miscalculations resulted in politicians and generals making decisions without considering their impact and this was to plunge the continent into war.