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Decisions for War, 1914-1917

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  49 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Focusing on the choices made by coteries, this study examines the perplexing question of why World War I happened. In each case, the decision to enter the war was made by a handful of individuals--monarchs, ministers, military people, party leaders, ambassadors, and a few others. In each case also, separate and distinct agendas are seen, with considerations differing from ...more
Paperback, Abridged, 284 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 2004)
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3.69  · 
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 ·  49 ratings  ·  11 reviews

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Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well-structured and well argued account of the decision-making processes, taken country by country, as to how each went to war during WW1. Along the way, the book addresses the various theories about how the conflict happened e.g. the inadvertence argument advanced by Lloyd George and others - and concludes that No - the war happened through a premeditated series of decisions by a small coterie in the states concerned. And that those decisions - at least in respect of the major pl ...more
Heather C
Decisions for War, 1914-1917 by Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig is a book that I found to be extremely valuable to my understanding of the complex and varied reasons for the belligerents in World War I to decide to enter the fray. The topic is one that many authors have set out to cover in their books as there is a lot of interest in why the war occurred. Hamilton and Herwig set out to present their material in a different way from those other books out there that analyze this topic. Wh ...more
David Spruce
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A proper history book that addresses the causes of the war in a scholarly manner. That doesn't mean it is dry as the prose is as lively as the arguments convincing. A tonic for fiction like 'The Sleepwalkers'.
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read it for a class but really liked it. Not overly academic in language, it was a fast and interesting read.
Feb 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
read for class, but engaging considering its just europeans fucking shit up. more person driven, but clearly organized. i liked it tbh
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a outstanding book for anyone who wishes to know the real reasons why Europe went to war in 1914. Hamilton and Herwig focus on the decisions made by small "coteries" from each country and fully explain how it was these decisions that led to war and not the oft-cited other causes like the bogus "slide into war" theory. I really enjoyed this book. It was an easy read, yet I learned a great deal about WWI and the cast of characters that made it happen. What I like most about this book is th ...more
Howard Anders
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is essentially an abridgement of the authors' 2003 work on the same subject, done to summarize their views on the origins of World War One for undergraduate students. The authors contend that the decision for war 1914-1917, for each of the major powers was made by small coteries of men in each country, or by a single person advised by such a coterie. Much of their case is presented in the first chapter of the book, in which the authors analyze previously developed theories on the origins of ...more
Mark Singer
Apr 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in World War I
Fascinating look at the origins of World War I that examines the decision making process of the powers: who, what, where, when and why. The main emphasis is a detailed look at the small group of men in each nation who made these choices. Furthermore, it attempts to refute previous arguments based on alliance systems, nationalism, social Darwinism, imperialism, militarism, the press, domestic sources, and the "inevitable slide into war" theory. The book is an bridged version of "The Origins of Wo ...more
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good explanation as to how The Great War was entered to by very rational and thought-out decisions and not "blundered into". Some high-stakes risks and lots of argument and advisement went on and it was not an easy decision for anyone except Austria-Hungary who thought they were just getting a third Balkan War. You will enjoy this book as it is very well-written and concise. You may not agree with the authors' conclusions but you will see very clearly how they came to them.
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwi, own
Focus on the political decision making process in crisis rather than geopolitics or military planning.
Dec 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good overview of why each nation went to war. Extremely dry reading, and moves by so fast as to be forgettable.
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