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Origins of the World War One - Top Ten Booklist

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Gordon Martel. <i>[ The Origins of the First World War]</i>. (2001)
Martel summarizes and analyzes the policies and errors of judgments that led to a war in Europe. He provides an overview of the system of alliances in Europe prior to the war and how this system dominated international affairs. Martel explains the position of each of the great powers and how they saw the system as protecting their interests. The author shows that the system of alliances was fundamentally unstable. This was demonstrated when the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand led to its collapse. For Martel the alliance system in Europe, designed to create a ’balance of power’ and secure the peace, was fatally flawed and ultimately plunged Europe into the most barbaric war in centuries.
[[File:The_Sleepwalkers.jpg|thumbnail|left|250px|[ The Sleepwalkers]]]
Christopher Clarke. <i>[ The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War]</i>. (2014)
Clarke concentrates on the political decisions that led to the outbreak of war. He argues that none of the leaders were interested in starting a general war. All the leaders wanted peace. However, they made a series of mistakes and errors in their policies that led to misunderstandings and mutually suspicions among the competing nations. When Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated these led to the declaration of war. According to the thesis in this book, Europe was led into war by a series of political and diplomatic blunders.

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