The above Image comes from a link Lena Peterson, from the class of 2010, shared with me recently titled, “if WWI were a Bar Fight”. Its pretty funny. You can google it or I’ll share it with you tomorrow. Regardless it illustrates the absurdity, or as Kissinger calls it, the Greek tragedy that unfolds after the assassination of the archduke.
Why WWI becomes WWI is ascribed by the popular British historian AJP Taylor, to the “long dead hand of Schlieffen pulling the trigger on the first WW”. For, as Kissinger quotes Obruchev as noting, “mobilization means war”, was only really true, according to Taylor, of Germany. Germany’s mobilization of mechanized and troop forces on its vast Railroad system demanded, under the Schlieffen plan, an invasion of Belgium, a quick decisive victory of France and then an all out effort brought to the Russian front.
Taylor also points out that mechanization and mobilization in this era, really led to defensive strength, not an offensive one. The troops could be brought to the front lines but once in enemy territory, they moved as slow as ever. That coupled with the newly invented barbed wire and machine gun, and given that planes and tanks were insufficiently advanced to make a real difference, led to the inevitable trench warfare.
A film and / or book that you should see or read (can you say extra credit?) is “All Quiet on the Western Front” by Erich Maria Remarque. The book came out in 1928 and I believe the film is 1929 or 1930 (I own it). Read it / watch it and bring in a 1-2 page typed thoughtful review analysing the “limitations and values” of the source for a historian and it will net you three points towards your quizzes. The book/film is a fiction, but I would argue it still has substantial value.
For your comments you can throw down anything of note. Why do you think Russia wanted a general war? Why did Austria press their demand against Serbia? Was the war at all avoidable?