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July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914 (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 5. Juni 2014

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

'Anyone planning to wade through the vast outpouring of literature on the First World War might do well to make July Crisis their first port of call.' Jules Stewart, Military History

'By returning meticulously to sources that many historians have ignored, one of Britain's brightest new-generation historians, Thomas Otte, has come up with a startlingly original yet wholly believable new interpretation of the true causes of the Great War. This is historical scholarship at its best, with the bonus of being written with a gently ironic yet extremely funny wit, in a subject that isn't naturally given to it.' Andrew Roberts, author of The Storm of War (2010)

'This account of the July crisis will become the gold standard for all future historians. Unlike almost all contemporary studies, Otte has gone back to the original sources and used both public and private collections, some never cited before, to trace the unfolding of these fateful days. His judgments are convincing and clearly presented. Otte catches the drama of these weeks and carries the reader with him to the very end.' Zara Steiner, author of The Lights That Failed (2005) and The Triumph of the Dark (2011)

'The first new analysis of the origins of the war based on original documents, July Crisis: The World's Descent into War will become the classic account. Otte's scholarship is unsurpassed: his judgments are judicious and fair and based on a deep understanding of both the evidence and its context. It is unlikely to be superseded.' Keith Neilson, author of Britain, Soviet Russia and the Collapse of the Versailles Order, 1919–1939 (2005)

'Thomas Otte brings impeccable and painstaking research and a flair for story-telling to illuminate Europe's last weeks of peace in 1914. From the assassination of the Archduke in Sarajevo to the outbreak of a general war five weeks later, he shows how a series of individual decisions led towards the catastrophe.' Margaret MacMillan, author of The War That Ended Peace: How Europe Abandoned Peace for the First World War (2013)

'… distinguished and readable …' Wall Street Journal Online

'Drawing on painstaking research and many new sources, Otte illuminates the importance of timing in understanding the crisis.' Financial Times

'If you want to understand how Europe stumbled into suicide in 1914, read this book.' The Independent

'Historians like Otte are painting a whole new picture of the origins of the Great War … But the best part of this virtuoso examination of the 38-day political and diplomatic crisis that stretched from the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Germany's declaration of war on Russia is the way Otte, a professor at the University of East Anglia, restores individual actors to where they should be: at the centre of historical events. Once it began, the First World War was so unpredictable in its course and so momentous in its outcomes – some of which, like the current Iraqi crisis, the world is still working through – that historians have increasingly tended to pin its outbreak on huge impersonal forces, a socio-economic-technological horror story whose time had come. By poring over archival records and postwar memoirs (the latter with a properly jaundiced eye), Otte brings to light the calculations (mostly bad) and motivations of the handful of men whose decisions brought Europe to catastrophe.' Brian Bethune, Maclean's

'I've rarely read a more sickeningly thrilling first chapter than the opener of July Crisis … Otte takes you step by fateful step to the moment that changed the world forever.' Katharine Whittemore, The Boston Globe

'… especially forensic and diligent …' Lawrence D. Freedman, Foreign Affairs

'Otte's account is refreshing, captivating and compelling in its description of the twists and turns of the crisis and, above all, humane in its analysis of the ambiguities and frailties of its protagonists. It dispels so successfully the usual teleological march to war, that this reviewer repeatedly found himself believing that an outcome other than the tragic one we all know would ensue.' J. F. V. Keiger, International Affairs

'2014 seemed a good year to read a bit more about 1914, and there were a lot of new books to choose from … But the best account is T. G. Otte's July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914, which unpacks the motives and muddles of the leaders of Europe with unmatched clarity. Read it slowly.' Lowy Institute

'July Crisis is an insightful and comprehensive analysis of the politics and diplomacy of every country involved in Europe's descent into the madness that was the First World War. By placing the emphasis on individuals Thomas Otte has created a compelling portrait of the men at the center of causes of the First World War, and challenges readers to reassess the importance of the individual in the war's history. Without a doubt July Crisis will become the standard by which all other work on this time period will be judged.' Justin Quinn Olmstead, Francia-Recensio

'Impeccable and meticulous research, a capacity to pose searching questions, and admirably clear prose.' The Times Literary Supplement

Über das Produkt

A definitive new account of the catalytic events that led to the outbreak of the First World War. Thomas Otte argues that neither martial culture nor the alliance system played a decisive role for much of the crisis. Instead he reveals the fatal flaws, failings and miscalculations of those who led Europe into war.

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Auch in der angelsächsischen Welt reißt der Strom der Neuerscheinungen zum Ersten Weltkrieg nicht ab. Die beiden Flaggschiffe unter den britischen Wissenschaftsverlagen, Cambridge und Oxford University Press, haben jetzt nahezu zeitgleich zwei Bücher über die Juli-Krise herausgebracht. Als historisch interessierter Leser fragt man sich unwillkürlich, ob das wirklich notwendig ist. Es herrscht beileibe kein Mangel an englischsprachigen Untersuchungen der Ereignisse, die zum Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkrieges führten. Vor zehn Jahren legte der Amerikaner David Fromkin ein Buch zu diesem Thema vor ("Europe's Last Summer. Who Started the Great War in 1914?", 2004). In jüngster Zeit haben Christopher Clark, Sean McMeekin und Margaret MacMillan die Juli-Krise unter die Lupe genommen. Deshalb drängt sich die Frage auf, ob weitere Bücher der Juli-Krise tatsächlich neue Facetten und Erkenntnisse abgewinnen können. Die Studie des britischen Historikers Thomas Otte verdient schon allein deshalb Aufmerksamkeit, weil der Verfasser ein bekannter Experte für die Geschichte des europäischen Staatensystems im 19. und frühen 20. Jahrhundert ist. Bevor Ottes Darstellung und Interpretation der Juli-Krise skizziert werden, müssen zwei grundsätzliche Probleme seines Buches angesprochen werden.

1. Das Vorwort und die - auffallend knappe - Einleitung enthalten keinerlei Thesen, die Neugierde wecken und potentielle Leser davon überzeugen könnten, dass die Lektüre der folgenden 500 (!) Seiten lohnenswert ist. Unklar bleibt, was Otte bewogen hat, der bereits sehr umfangreichen Literatur über den Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkrieges ein weiteres umfangreiches Buch hinzuzufügen.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 von 5 Sternen 30 Rezensionen
55 von 57 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Some new insights 3. Juni 2014
Von Alan Paton - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
This is an outstanding book. Certainly, as measured by the number of bookmarks I made "I didn't know that", "that's interesting", "I must read that again" ... it warrants that description.

It is a narrative of what happened and why, from the plotting of the Archduke's assassination to Britain's declaration of war on Germany on the 4 August and it divides that fraught period into helpful sub-divisions and managers very well the difficult task of describing so much going on in parallel without confusing or losing the reader. The author also has the knack of selecting just the right bit from the many telegrams, diaries and other primary sources he quotes.

It is a good read throughout. I personally found the account of how the Austro-Hungarians reacted, persuaded Tisza, the Hungarian prime minister, to fall into line, and made their decisions, especially informative and convincing. There is neat balance of facts and interpretation.

There is also plenty to argue with. Jagow is given a much stronger role than I expected even to the extent of giving the Austro-Hungarians a "second blank cheque" seemingly without Bethmann's approval or knowledge. Jagow and Stumm are credited with undermining the Kaiser's "halt in Belgrade" proposal without reference to Bethmann when it was forwarded to Vienna but it seems to me most unlikely that Bethmann did not see and fully approve such an important communication going out over his signature. And, it was the point where Germany's plans were beginning to unravel

The roles of two ambassadors, Paleologue the French ambassador in St Petersburg, and especially Tschirschky the German ambassador in Vienna, while not over played, are shown to be most emphatically negative, pushing in the direction of war.

A most striking feature is the rehabilitation of Grey, the British Foreign Secretary. The author blames Lloyd George for the picture of Grey as the man who failed to warn Germany in time that Britain would side with its Entente partners. He doesn't mention Albertini's scathing assessment of Grey's role. He believes Grey made it clear in the first week of July in conversations with Lichnowsky, the German ambassador, that there could be European complications, and the problem was largely that Berlin did not believe Lichnowsky's accurate reporting and analysis of the British position.

However, later on, he discusses a meeting on the 22 July between Grey and the Austro-Hungarian ambassador in which Grey talks about the possibility of a four Great Power war, i.e., Russia, Germany, France and Austria-Hungary. No Britain in this war! Also, though Grey could not be held responsible for what King George said to the Kaiser's brother (Britain would try to remain neutral) or how the brother reported it to the Kaiser, or how his German naval colleague reported it to Berlin, Grey should have been more alive to the strength and persistence of the German belief that Britain would stay out of any war.

The author addresses head on the issue of who or what to blame for the outbreak of the war in a dedicated, and convincing, chapter at the end of his book. Without giving too much away I will say he doesn't blame the "alliance system" or the "arms race" or "domestic factors" or "German imperialism".

Even in an excellent book you can find something to gripe about. In the section dealing with the assassination the author says that Apis of the Serbian Black Hand secret society was the instigator and mastermind of the plot is "now widely accepted by scholars of the period". Princip and his fellow assassins were only "useful idiots" recruited by one of Apis' henchmen. A recently published and very well researched book by the journalist Tim Butcher, makes it very clear, even though the Black Hand supplied the weapons, Princip independently and for his own reasons decided to assassinate the Archduke. Another new book by Greg King and Sue Woolmans says there were two plots that were merged into one.

That photo on the cover of the hardback is not the arrest of Princip but the arrest of an innocent bystander, Ferdinand Behr, who tried to protect Princip from the wrath of the crowd. See "Centenary News" article, published 28 May.
33 von 34 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Strong Case 28. Juni 2014
Von Michael Philliber - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
When arriving a bit late for a dinner party, there is that awkward and embarrassed feeling the diner quickly gets as he steps into a group heavy with discussion. If he has any savoir faire, he would recognize that he has just entered an already raging conversation and would be clearly foolish to speak too authoritatively on the present topic. It is almost the same sensation with regard to Thomas Otte’s new 555 page hardback, “July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914.” Otte, Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of East Anglia, has crafted a fine, scholarly, heavily footnoted retelling of the immediate events that preceded the conflagration of the First World War. It doesn’t take too many minutes of reading to swiftly grasp one has stepped into a long, impassioned discussion and that the author is now making his case.
In “July Crisis” Otte walks the reader, slowly, thoroughly and thoughtfully, through the days of 28 June to 4 August 2014. The prosecutors, players, participants, and politicians are all paraded before the reader, unveiling motivations, schemes, plots, blunders and faux pas that turned the assassination of Franz Ferdinand into a world war. The author reads and retells the events through the lens that what happened then might help us now; for “in many ways, the concerns and events of that year and the years preceding it are more immediate to us today ( . . . ). At the beginning of the twenty-first century, as multiple power centres compete for economic, military and political influence and when suicide bombers have become a feature of modern life, the contours of the international landscape of 1914 look more familiar now than those of the era of Nixon, Brezhnev, and Carter” (524).
Otte is very careful to keep his re-examination of the events from slipping into mere schoolyard playground blame-shifting. As he notes repeatedly, there were many dynamics involved that accelerated the emergency: “By moving the actions of individual monarchs, politicians and generals into the foreground, by examining the ethos of the ruling elite with its emphasis on ‘honour’ and prestige, and by examining the accelerating dynamic of the unfolding crisis, this book has offered a comprehensive and original reassessment of the July Crisis” (522). The absence of coherent strategies, regional and self-interested narrow-mindedness, intentional miscommunications from ambassadors – both to their home and to their host countries, almost every Power being driven by a self-perceived sense of weakness, and virtually complete failure of state-craft, were many of the ingredients that concocted a cataclysmic cocktail. As Otte summarizes, “War had come as a result of individual decisions and a rapid series of moves and countermoves by the chancelleries of Europe, and set against the backdrop of recent shifts in the international landscape and anticipated further changes in the years to come” (506). In the end, “July Crisis” gives a clear and impressive re-telling of the events that led up to the First World War.
Two themes that reverberated through the book seem to me to be significant. First, “[p]ersonality mattered” (133). Whether it was the indecisiveness of Bethmann Hollweg, the highly emotional inflammations of Wilhelm II, the conflictions of Sazanov, or the intentional miscommunications of Tschirschky or Paléologue, personality mattered. The other theme was how clear-eyed so many players were that these actions would bring about “a war which will destroy for decades to come the culture of all Europe” (380), and yet they blazed on to that end.
As a non-specialist in this area, my reading “July Crisis” was like stepping late into that dinner discussion that was already in full swing. Nevertheless, Otte is neither demeaning nor scolding, but slowly and helpfully brings both the specialist deeper into his reassessment and the non-specialist into the discussion. As the centenary of the First World War is now upon us, Otte has given us a great resource to appreciate the events that exploded onto our world, and a way to untangle and gain from those events. I gladly encourage each one reading this review to race out and purchase a copy of “July Crisis” as quickly as possible!
Thanks to the fine folks of Cambridge University Press who provided an e-copy of the book for this review.
12 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A solid diplomatic history of July 1914 7. Juli 2014
Von Andy Lowry - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is excellent for what it offers: a back-to-the-sources analysis of how July 1914 unfolded in the chancelleries of Europe. Otte carefully analyzes how Austria-Hungary resolved on war with Serbia, obtained its "blank cheque" from Germany, and then plunged ahead with utter disregard for consequences. Great attention is paid to the record of telegrams and meeting notes. Unless one reads all through Albertini, it's unlikely this has been done as well anywhere else - and even so, Otte has the benefit of decades of research Albertini didn't.

One should not, however, blame this book for what it is NOT. The background to July 1914 is barely sketched in. (Macmillan's recent "The War That Ended Peace," however silly the title, is excellent in this regard - political, social, military backgrounds.) Otte takes note of war plans only to the barest extent necessary. Moltke is very much a background figure here; see Mombauer's fine book on him for a different account.

Chiding Christopher Clark & others, Otte thinks judgment is both possible and necessary. Besides the obvious culprits, the Germanic powers, Otte places great weight on Russia's decision to mobilize; given that Austria couldn't be ready before August 12, did it have to be done so soon? But his avoidance of military details makes it difficult, I think, for him to back up that criticism. And as he concedes, mobilization appeared to Russia the only way to convince Austria to back down. Had Austria not rested confident that Germany would handle Russia, it might well have worked. Another reservation is that there's very little discussion of the German DOW vs. Russia (and the one vs. France) - why were they necessary?

As other reviewers have noted, Grey comes off very well here - not undeservedly, I would say. I knew about Paleologue's sins of omission, but Tschirsky, the German ambassador to Vienna, eclipses the Frenchman in ambassadorial swashbuckling.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to Cambridge U P for using footnotes not endnotes. This is just the kind of book where one wants constantly to be checking the citations. Excellent choice.
17 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen This is a quite good and quite well written survey of Europe's descent into ... 1. Juli 2014
Von John Everard - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This is a quite good and quite well written survey of Europe's descent into war in 1914. Perhaps not surprisingly given his background the writer concentrates on the diplomatic exchanges leading to the war. He hardly nods towards the separate military exchanges that complicated matters and - unlike other prominent authors - gives little space to the elaborate German plans for war, so that for example Moltke suddenly appears in the last section of this book as a significant force but with little build-up to this moment. For the most part the prose is clear, if sometimes pedestrian, and the author at least has the courage to make clear where he thinks responsibility for the war lies. A worthwhile read.
8 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is the third book I've read on the events ... 6. Juli 2014
Von Margaret - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Verifizierter Kauf
This is the third book I've read on the events of July 1914, William Jannen's The Lions of July and Sean McMeekins July 1914 as well as Christopher Clark's The Sleepwalkers and Max Hastings Catastrophe 1914. I know how the story ends. But told by a diplomatic historian, the narrative was different. There was no sense of the inevitable as events unfolded and the players struggled to contain the conflict and prevent a global war. Three quarters of the way through the book I found myself rooting for peace. Localization... deterrence through strength... YES! This could work. Of course it didn't. Well done Mr. Otte. Bravo!
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