The major European powers drafted war plans before 1914 and executed them in August 1914; none brought the expected victory by Christmas. Why? This tightly focused collection of essays by international experts in military history reassesses the war plans of 1914 in a broad diplomatic, military, and political setting for the first time in three decades. The book analyzes the war plans of Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia on the basis of the latest research and explores their demise in the opening months of World War I. Collectively and comparatively, these essays place contingency war planning before 1914 in the different contexts and challenges each state faced as well as into a broad European paradigm. This is the first such undertaking since Paul Kennedy's groundbreaking War Plans of the Great Powers (1979), and the end result is breathtaking in both scope and depth of analysis.
Richard F. Hamilton is Professor Emeritus at The Ohio State University. He is the author of President McKinley and the Coming of War, 1898; President McKinley and America's 'New Empire'; and The Origins of World War I. Holger H. Herwig is Canada Research Chair in Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. He is the author of The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918, War Memory and Popular Culture, The Origins of World War I, and The Marne: 1914 (2012).
1. War plans: obvious needs, not so obvious solutions Richard F. Hamilton; 2. Austria-Hungary Gunther Kronenbitter; 3. Germany Annika Mombauer; 4. Russia Bruce W. Menning; 5. French war plans 1914 - the 'Balance of Power Paradox' Robert Doughty; 6. British plans for war before 1914 Keith Neilson; 7. The uncertain partner: Italy and the war plans of the Triplice 1888-1914 John Gooch; 8. Conclusions Holger H. Herwig.
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