1 Steven F. Hayward, “100 Years After The Outbreak of World War I, Could The World Commit Suicide Again," Forbes (January 5, 2014),

2 World Cat is a catalog of more than 72,000 libraries worldwide and bills itself as the “world’s largest library catalog." There are several useful bibliographies specifically on the US and the war; see, for example, Ronald Schaffer, United States in World War I: A Selected Bibliography (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1978); David R. Woodward, America and World War I: A Selected Annotated Bibliography of English Language Sources (New York: Routledge, 2007), and A.G.S. Enser, A Subject Bibliography of the First World War. Books in English, 1914-1987 (Brookfield, VT: Gower Publishing Co., 1979). On American foreign relations and diplomacy, Robert L. Beisner, ed., American Foreign Relations Since 1600. A Guide to the Literature, 2nd edition, Vol. I (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2003); and Samuel Flagg Bemis, Guide to the Diplomatic History of the United States, 1775-1921, Part II (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1935). For a brief over view of the literature see Jacob Kipp, “’Over There’: World War I in Recent American Military Historiography. An Overview," in Jürgen Rohwer, editor, Neue Forschungen zum Ersten Weltkrieg (Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1985), 383-391.Jay Winter, “Introduction," in Jay Winter and Antoine Prost, The Great War in History. Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 2.

3 “100 Years After 1914. Still in the Grip of the Great War," The Economist (March 29th 2014), 89. For another insightful review, see Tara Zahara, “Behind the Storm," The Nation (December 12, 2013), 31-34. Zahara critiques the recent books by Margaret Macmillan, Christopher Clark, and Michael Neiburg.

4 John Jay Chapman, Deutschland ?ber Alles or Germany Speaks (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1914).

5 Ibid., 2, 4.

6 Dr. Charles W. Eliot, “America’s Duty in Relation to the European War," Address – the Women’s Club, October 15, 1914, 7. See, for example, the 1917 brochure, “Origins of the European War," which has section heading “The Responsibility of Germany" and “Desire for War" and concludes with this comment: “the German peoples…adhere faithfully to the Prussian government which carries the responsibility of the greatest crime ever committed against humanity." The quote is from page 8.

7 Gilbert Parker The World in the Crucible. An Account of the Origins and Conduct of the World War (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1915). Parker was a prolific Canadian author.

8 Ibid., 1, 3-5, 9.

9 Ibid., 379.

10 George H. Blakeslee, editor, The Problems and Lessons of the War (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1916), 265-278.

11 Frederic C. Howe, Why War (New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1916), vii-viii. Howe held a PhD from The Johns Hopkins University, authored several books, and held various political positions. See his The Only Possible Peace (New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1919) for a similar argument.

12 Howe, Why War, viii, xii.

13 Lindsay Rogers, America’s Case Against Germany (New York: E.P. Dutton & Company, 1917), 1, 5. William Backus Guitteau, Democracy On Trial In the World War (Toldeo, Ohio: The Newell B. Newton Company, 1918), 6-7. Wilbur F. Gordy, The Causes and Meaning of the Great War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1919).

14 Syndey B. Fay, “New Light on the Origins of World War I. Berlin and Vienna to July 29," American Historical Review 25(July 1920), 616-639. The remaining two articles were published in the October 1920 issue (pages 37-53) and January 1921 (pages 225-254). See the remarks of Charles H. Haskins, “European History and American Scholarship," American Historical Review 23(January 1923), 215-227, who wrote in the first line of his essay “European history is of profound importance to Americans," echoing the sentiment of journalists writing in August 1914 about the outbreak of the war in Europe.

15 Karl Kautsky, et al., Outbreak of the World War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1924), which was published in the U.S. by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Fay, “New Light on the Origins of World War I," 616.

16 Fay, “New Light on the Origins of World War I," 617-618.

17 Sydney B. Fay, “New Light on the Origins of the World War, II. Berlin and Vienna, July 29 to 31," American Historical Review 26(October 1920), 51-52.

18 Ibid., 52.

19 In the 1960s, the domestic pressures that contributed to the outbreak of war became an important issue. See, for example, Arno Mayer, professor at Princeton University, “Domestic Causes of the First World War,“ in The Responsibility of Power. Historical Essays in Honor of Hajo Holborn (London: Macmillan, 1968), 286-300.

20 Fay, “New Light on the Origins of the World War, II, 53.

21 Sydney B. Fay, “New Light on the Origins of the War, III. Russia and the Other Powers," American Historical Review 26(January 1921), 225-254. On England, see Fay’s review of British Documents on the Origins of the War in the American Historical Review 32(1927), 600-603.

22 Fay, “New Light on the Origins of the War, III, 252.

23 Charles Seymour, review, Diplomatische Aktenstucke zur Geschichte der Ententepolitik der Vorkriegsjahre and Entente Diplomacy and the World, in American Historical Review 28(October 1922), 122-123.

24 “The Meeting of the American Historical Association at St. Louis," American Historical Review 27(April 1922), 410.

25 Recent Disclosures concerning the Origins of the World War, Discussed by Harry Elmer Barnes and Bernadotte E. Schmitt, Stenographic Report of the Luncheon Meeting, April 3rd, 1926, of the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Pamphlet No. 8, 3.

26 Ibid.

27 Ibid., 4-5.

28 Ibid., 5.

29 Ibid., 5-6.

30 See, for example, Kautsky, et al., Outbreak of the World War. An editor of this volume, Max Montglas, published in 1925 a book entitled The Case for the Central Powers. An Impeachment of the Versailles Verdict (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1925).

31 Recent Disclosures concerning the Origins of the World War, 6-11.

32 Ibid., 11-13.

33 Bernadotte Schmitt, Ibid., 13ff, 23.

34 Ibid., 35 .

35 Thomas C. Kennedy, Charles A. Beard and American Foreign Policy (Gainesville, FL: The University Presses of Florida, 1975), 15-16.

36 Charles A. Beard and James Harvey Robinson, Outlines of Eruopean History, volume 2 (Boston, Ginn and Company, 1914), 677, 680, 684, 691-693..

37 Sydney B. Fay, review, in American Historical Review 28(April 1923), 543-548.

38 Ibid., 544.

39 Ibid., 547.

40 Charles F. Horne, editor, Source Records of the Great War, 7 volumes (New York: National Alumni, 1923), Volume 1, ix.

41 Horne, “An Outline Narrative of the Causes of the War," Ibid., xvii.

42 John S. Ewart, The Root Causes of the Wars (1914-1918), Volume 1 (New York: George H. Doran Company,1925), 4.

43 On Barnes, see Justus D. Doenecke, “Harry Elmer Barnes," Wisconsin Magazine of History 56(summer 1973), 311-323; and “Recent Deaths. Harry Elmer Barnes," American Historical Review 74(February 1969), 1179-1180.

44 Harry Elmer Barnes, The Genesis of the World War. An Introduction to the Problem of War Guilt(New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926).

45 Ibid., iv, ix.

46 See, the obituary, “Recent Deaths," American Historical Review 74(February 1969), 1179. Barnes, The Genesis of the World War, iv, ix.

47 Ibid., xii, xiii. See the critiques in Outlook (June 23, 1926), the London Times (September 30, 1926), Foreign Affairs (October 1926), the London Observer (October 3, 1926), and the American Historical Review (January 1927).

48 The Genesis of the World War, 685-686.

49 Sidney Bradshaw Fay, The Origins of the World War (New York: the Macmillan Company, 1928).

50 Ibid., vii.

51 Ibid., viii.

52 Ibid., 548-549.

53 Ibid., 558.

54 Olin Dee Morrison, The Origins of the World War (Athens, OH: The University Bookstore, 1929).

55 Ibid., 2, 8, 17-19.

56 L.W. Cramer, The Diplomatic Background of the World War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1929).

57 Ibid., 7, 9.

58 Berntotte E. Schmitt, The Coming of the War 1914 (New York: Charles Schribner’s Sons, 1930).

59 Ibid., 480-481. Schmitt revised some of his views in a 1944 article; see Bernadotte Everly Schmitt, “July 1914: Thirty Years After," Journal of Modern History 16(September 1944), 169-204. He then concluded “the primary responsibility of Germany for the fatal ending of the crisis is clear and overwhelming" (page 204).

60 See Writings of American History (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office). Each of the annually published volumes has a section entitled “World War and Peace Conference, 1917-1919," thereby revealing the main interest.

61 Newton D. Baker, Why We Went to War (New York: Harper & Bros., 1936). Charles C. Tonsall, review, American Historical Review 42(1937), 808-809.

62 Samuel Taylor Moore, America and the World War. A Narrative of the Part Played by the United States. From the Outbreak to Peace (New York: Greenberg Publisher, 1937).

63 John L. Snell, “Imperial Germany’s Tragic Era, 1888-1918: Threshold to Democracy or Foreground of Nazism?," Journal of Central European History XVIII (Janaury 1959), 380-395, and “Imperial Germany’s Tragic Era, 1888-1918: Threshold to Democracy or Foreground of Nazism? Conclusion," Journal of Central European History XIX (April 1959) 57-75. Snell surveys the literature published not just in America, but also Germany and Great Britain during the 1940s and 1950s.

64 Ibid., I, 380, 385; II, 65, 75.

65 Ibid., I. 391-395.

66 Geoffrey Barraclaugh, "Goodbye to All That,“ New York Review of Books 2(May 14,1 964).

67 Richard L. Tobin, “The Blood of Change," The Saturday Review (September 4, 1965), 36.

68 Barbara Tuchman, The Guns of August (New York: Macmillan, 1962). The book, a best seller, runs to 511 pages. For a biographical sketch of Tuchman, see Walter A. Sutton, “Tuchman, Barbara Wertheim (1912-1989), in D.R. Woolf, editor, A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, voume II (NY: Garland Publishing, 1998), 902.

69 Tuchmann, Guns of August, 93-157.


71 See, Michael Dobbs, One Minute to Midnight. Kennedy, Khruschev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), 226-227. James G. Blight, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., David A. Welch, “The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited," Foreign Affairs 66(Fall 1987), 171-172.

72 See, for example,Richard Holbrooke, “The Guns of August," Washington Post (August 10, 2006). Graham Allison, Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (Boston: Little Brown, 1971). Jordan Michael Smith, “Did a Mistake Save the World? John F. Kennedy Relied on a History Book to Guide Him in the Cuban Missle Crisis – and We Now Know that Book Was Wrong," Boston Globe (October 21, 2012). Smith quotes University of Chicago political science professor John Mearsheimer who stated “Hardly any scholars accept the Tuchman thesis that WWI was an accidental or inadvertent war."

73 Ulrich Trumpener, review, Journal of Modern History 35(March 1963), 84-85.

74 Ibid., 85. Trumpener later turned to the July crisis in an article, which though narrow in focus, was based on extensive archival research. See, Ulrich Trumpener, “War Premeditated?’ German Intelligence Operations in July 1914," Central European History 9(1976), 58-85.

75 Hanson W. Baldwin, World War I: An Outline History (New York: Harper & Row, 1962). Louis L. Synder, review, in Journal of Modern History 35(March 1963), 95-96.

76 Laurence Lafore, The Long Fuse. An Interpretation of the Origins of World War I (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1965), 15.

77 Ibid., 16-17. Marion C. Siney, review, in Journal of Modern History 38(September 1966), 319-320. Lafore’s book does include a bibliographic essay, a thorough summary of the literature, one that students using his text would find useful; 269-274.

78 Lafore, The Long Fuse, 22-23, 267-269. Joachim Remark, review, in American Historical Review, 71(January 1966), 515.

79 Gabriel Kolko, The Roots of American Foreign Policy: An Analysis of Power and Purpose (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), xii.

80 Mayer, "Domestic Causes of the First World War," 286-300. Winter, The Great War in History, 48-49.

81 The description of Mayer is from Matt Perry, “Mayer, Arno J. (1926- )," in Kelly Boyd, editor, Encyclopedia of Historians and Historical Writing, volume 2 (London: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1999), 786.Ibid., 286-287, 300.

82 Mayer, “Domestic Causes of the First World War,“ 28-288. Mayer published several other articles on this issue. See his suggestive “Internal Causes and Purposes of War, 1870-1956: A Research Assignment,"Journal of Modern History 41(September 1969), 291-303, and “The Primacy of Domestic Politics," in Holger Herwig, editor, The Outbreak of World War I (NY: Houghton Mufflin, 1996), 42-47. See also Michael R. Gordon, “Domestic Conflict and the Origins of the First World War: The British and German Cases," Journal of Modern History 46(June 1974), 191-226.

83 L.L. Farrar, The Short War Illusion: German Policy, Strategy, and Domestic Affairs, August-December 1914 (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 1973). See also his 1972 article, “The Short War Illusion: The Syndrome of German Strategy, August-December 1914," Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 12(December 1972), 39-52.

84 Farrar, The Short War Illusion, xv, 19-37.

85 Ibid., 148.

86 D.F. Fleming, The Origins and Legacies of World War I (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1968), 140ff, 319. Emphasis in original. See, Dwight E. Lee, Europe’s Crucial Years: The Diplomatic Background of World War I. 1902-1914 (Hannover, NH: University Press of New England, 1974), who concluded once more that the European diplomatic system and the balance of power policies led to war.

87 Gerald E. Silberstein, The Troubled Alliance. German-Austrian Relations, 1914-1917 (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1970), 343.

88 William H. Maehl, “Germany’s War Aims in the East, 1914-1917: Status of the Question," Historian 34(1972), 381-406; the quotes are from pages 386, 398. Fitz Fischer, Germany’s Aims in the First World War (New York: W.W. Norton, 1967). See the review essay by Klaus Epstein (Brown University) of the German edition, “Germany’s Aims in the First World War," World Politics 15(1962), 163-185. John W. Langdon, “Emerging From Fischer’s Shadow: Recent Examinations of the Crisis of July 1914," History Teacher 20(1986), 63-86.

89 David E. Kaiser, “Germany and the Origins of the First World War," Journal of Modern History 55(September 1983), 442-47; quotes pages 442, 444.

90 John Milton Cooper, editor,Causes and Consequences of World War I (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1972).

91 Michael J. Hogan, “Introduction," in Michael J. Hogan, editor, Paths to Power: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations to 1941 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 3, 7. The chapters in this volume all deal with solely American issues. See, for example, William H. Becker, “1888-1920," in America Adjusts to World Power," in William H. Becker and Samuel F. Wells, Jr., editors, Economics and World Power: An Assessment of American Diplomacy Since 1789 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), 206-209.

92 See, Louis Morton, “The Historian and the Study of War," Mississippi Valley Historical Review 48(March 1962), 599-613.

93 Stephen van Evera, “Why Cooperation Failed in 1914," World Politics 38(October 1985), 80-117.

94 Ibid., 81.

95 John. W. Langdon, July 1914. The Long Debate, 1918-1990 (New York: St. Martins, 1991). See the review by Hew Strachan in German History 10(1992), 253.

96 Stanley Hoffmann, review, Europe’s Last Summer, in Foreign Affairs 83(May/June 2004), 146. David Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer. Who Started the Great War in 1914?, (New York: Knopf, 2004), 4, 286-287.

97 Fromkin, Europe’s Last Summer, 287, 292-293, 296.

98 Hayward, “100 Years After the Outbreak of World War I."

99 See, for example, Patricia A. Weitsman, Dangerous Allinaces: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2004). Weitsman uses case studies from pre 1914 to discuss alliance formation.

100 David G. Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996). His book has been widely praised. See the reviews by John F.V. Keiger, in H-Net Reviews (1997); Mars Trachtenberg,Journal of Modern History 69(September 1997), 557-558; and Eliot A. Cohen,Foreign Affairs75(July/August 1996), 142.

101 Terence Zuber, “The Schlieffen Plan Reconsidered,“ War in History (1999), 262-305. The repsonses with full bibliographic references and summaries of each article are listed at I am grateful to Dr. David Zabecki, a distinguished military historian and retired U.S. Army Major General, for bringing this literature to my attention. Zuber’s book, The Real German War Plan 1904-14, came out in 2001 (published in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, by The History Press). He also published a volume of documents; see German War Planning, 1891-1914 (Woolbridge: Blydell Press, 2004).

102 Zuber, The Real German War Plan, 193.

103 Richard B. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, editors, War Planning 1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 2-3, passim.

104 See the review article by Jan Rüger, “Revisiting the Anglo-German Antagonism," Journal of Modern History 83(September 2011), 579-617.

105 Robin Higham, Researching World War I: A Handbook (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2003), vii. Higham, it should be noted, was born and educated in England but has taught for years in the United States.

106 Higham, “Introduction," Ibid., xvi. Dennis Showalter, “Origins," Ibid., 1-23. Showalter’s list of references runs to 262 titles.

107 Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, editors, The Origins of World War I (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

108 Holger H. Herwig, “Why Did It Happen?," in Ibid., 443. See David G. Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996) who views the changed strategic environment of the European powers as making each more willing to go to war.

109 Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, editors, Decisions for War, 1914-1917 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

110 Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig, editors, War Planning 1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010). For a similar perspective on military planning and pressures on the government in the decade leading to the war, see David G. Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 225-232. Another important conference on the background and origins of the war was held in 2004 at Emory University. The speakers came from a number of nations and each was asked to address the issue was peace possible. See Holger Afflerbach & David Stevenson, An Improbable War. The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture before 1914 (New York: Berghahn Books, 2007).

111 Hamiltion, “War Planning: Obvious Needs, Not So Obvious Solutions," in Hamilton, War Planning 1914, 1, 23.

112 Daniel Allen Butler, The Burden of Guilt. How Germany Shattered the Last Days of Peace, August 1914 (Philadelphia: Casemate Publishers, 2010), 3.

113 Michael S. Neiberg, Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011), 4. Neiberg is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi.

114 Ibid., 4-5.

115 Ibid., 6, 10-14, 21

116 Ibid., 234.

117 See Sean McMeeken’s recently published July 1914. Countdown to War (New York: Basic Books, 2013). McMeeken holds a handful of men responsible for leading Europe to war and his book, based on extensive archival research, shifts blame, however, from Austria-Hungary and Germany to France and Russia. He devotes the Epilogue to “The Question of Responsibility." I have not yet had the opportunity to read this book.

118 See Keir A. Lieber, “The New History of World War I," International Security 32(Fall 2007), 155-156, for an excellent summation of the arguments.

119 Zahra, “Behind the Storm," 34. See, for example, Frank C. Zagare, The Games of July. Explaining the Great War (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2011), 188-190. Zagare, a political scientist, used “some recent advances in the theory of noncooperative games," namely the “perfect deterrence theory." This he described as “a logically consistent and empirically plausible theory of interstate conflict initiation, limitation, and escalation." (4) Zagare applies this theory to explain the escalation of tensions and disputes that culminated in the World War, and he sees an immediate relevance for today’s struggles with terrorism. Steven Haywood, the journalist quoted at the beginning of this essay, sees other lessons, namely in the consequences of the war. David Fromkin devotes a chapter to the question “Could It Happen Again?" in his book, Europe’s Last Summer. See the comments by Christopher Clark, “Rätselhfte Reime," Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nr. 24 (January 30, 2014).