Causes of World War I

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The Emperor of Russia.
The Emperors of Germany & Austria.
President Poincare of France.

The Causes of World War 1 or The Great War (1914 to 1918) deals with assertions of responsibility for the outbreak of this large scale, fratricidal military conflict in which over nine-million people died. Since 1918 the "accepted" position has been that of the Western Plutocratic Allies clearly authored to support and justify their position, "victors' history". In 1919 these Allies forced Germany to accept primary guilt for the war, and this was written into the Versailles Treaty. For almost a century this has been regurgitated and reprinted ad infinitum in an attempt to make the lie truth (Kriegsschuldluge). In 1925 Count Max Montegelas published The Case for the Central Powers - an Impeachment of the Versailles Verdict, in an early attempt to redress the balance.

The Protagonists


The opposing sides were the Allied Entente Powers, which included Serbia, Montenegro, the Russian Empire, France, Belgium, the British Empire, Japan, and (from April 1917) the United States. Also, Italy (1915) and Romania (August 27, 1916) both broke treaties and joined the Allies.[1]

Central Powers

Opposing them were the Central Powers, which included the Austro-Hungarian and German Empires, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire.


Ethnic and Political Rivalries

A Balkan war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was considered by some inevitable, as the Pan-Slav movement[2], which was motivated by ethnic and religious loyalties, and a rivalry with Austria dating back to at least the Crimean War period, grew and became more aggressive. The rise of ethnic nationalism, particularly the 'Greater Serbia' movement, where anti-Austrian sentiment was perhaps most fervent, fuelled matters in this region. The increasing Serbian nationalist sentiment also coincided with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. After the new Balkan nations had practically pushed Turkey out of Europe, the next target was inevitably Austria-Hungary.[3]

After the defeat of the Turks, in which they had played no small part, Austria-Hungary, had in 1878 occupied the former Ottoman province of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had a large Serb minority population. It was subsequently formally annexed as part of Austria-Hungary in 1908. Despite the model administration given to the two provinces, they were open to destabilisation by neighbouring Serbia.[4] In 1903 the relatively pro-Austrian Serbian ruling dynasty, the Obrenovics, were brutally murdered in a putsch by Serbian Officers, and the pro-Russian Karadjordjevic family were installed in their place. The latter were far more robust in pursuing a 'Greater Serbia' expansionist policy, and encouraged closer ties with Russia, which supported the Pan-Slav movement.[5] Yet in 1912, Austria-Hungary "by its loyal and disinterested attitude gave Serbia a chance to become nearly twice the size it was before" following the Balkan Wars.[6]

A myriad of other geopolitical motivations existed elsewhere as well, for example France's loss of Alsace and Lorraine, which they had occupied for 300 years, in the Franco-Prussian War, helped create a sentiment of irredentist revanchism in that country. Russia sought hegemony in the Balkans.

Balance of power alliances

One of the goals of the foreign policies of the Great Powers in the pre-war years was to maintain the so-called 'Balance of Power' in Europe. This evolved into an elaborate network of secret and public alliances and agreements. In 1871 there was no system of alliance in existence; in 1885, when the 'scramble for Africa' began, there existed only the "Triple Alliance".[7]

France, smarting from its humiliating defeat by Germany in the Franco-Prussian war in 1871, found an ally in Russia, who was actively pursing a Pan-Slav policy opposing Austria-Hungary in the Balkans. Russia and France signed a "diplomatic agreement" in 1891, a military convention the following year, and a treaty of alliance in 1894. In 1912 France and Russia concluded a naval convention.[8] These treaties ended for good the previous co-operation between the great conservative Powers of the East: Russia, Germany and Austria.[9]

Following the Franco-Prussian war Britain was in favour of a strong Germany, against its traditional enemy, France. After Germany began to increase its strength, which included a 'place in the sun' with colonies, plus increasing the size of its navy, the British attitude changed. Britain had no treaties with Russia. However Britain negotiated an alliance with Japan in 1902; her Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, negotiated the Anglo-Russian Convention in 1907, and found itself increasingly supporting Russian interests. Egged on by a Russophile Ambassador, Arthur Nicolson, in St. Petersburg from 1906-1910, the British Foreign Office increasingly saw the Balkans through Russian eyes. During the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina 'crisis' in 1908, Sir Edward Grey supported the Russian point of view wholeheartedly.[10]

Britain had entered the "Entente Cordiale" with France (primarily an arrangement over colonial questions[11]) in 1904, and "military agreements" with France in 1905-6[12] but there were no formal and binding agreements for military co-operation between Britain and anyone else.[13] It has been stated that "Britain was also opposed to any offensive war against Germany provoked by Russia or France."[14] In 1914 Britain announced she would only formally enter the war if there was a violation of Belgian territory, of which she (with Prussia) was a guarantor.

Perhaps the most significant treaty of all was the 1879 "Dual Alliance", a purely defensive treaty, between Germany and Austria-Hungary, which Germany in 1909 reconfirmed by declaring that Germany was bound to stand with Austria-Hungary even if it had started a war.

Italy had joined the "Dual Alliance" in 1882, with caveats to account for Austro-Italian rivalry, transforming it into the "Triple Alliance". The alliance provisions were strengthened in 1911 following the Libyan war. Italy, however, refused to enter the war with them in 1914, changing sides the next year to the Allies who had secretly promised them Austrian territory. Romania also failed to honour its treaty with the Central Powers, and instead joined the Allies who had offered them territories at their neighbours' expense, in Hungary and Bulgaria.

When The Great War broke out, these treaties determined who entered the war and on which side.

Arms Race

The 1st new Austrian dreadnought battleship, the Tegetthof (launched 1912).

Alfred Thayer Mahan's thesis was that a strong navy was vital to 'great nation' status, and this appears to have been shared by the European great powers, all of whom had naval expansion plans in action. Following Russia's defeat at the hands of Japan in 1904-5 and with the rapid advances in armaments, particularly warships and their design, the Great Powers began modernising all aspects of their military capabilities. Britain at this time had the world's largest navy. The so-called naval race between Britain and Germany was intensified by the 1906 launch of HMS Dreadnought a revolutionary vessel whose size and power, notably the centre-line positions of its heaviest guns, which had rendered previous battleship designs partially obsolete. American author David G Herrmann[15] viewed the shipbuilding rivalry as part of a general movement in the direction of war. Count Max Montgelas demolished this as myth, and historian Niall Ferguson argued Britain's clear ability to maintain an overall naval lead signified this was not a factor in the oncoming conflict.

A fresh naval agreement was concluded between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy in 1913 in reaction to the significant increase in French naval strength in the Mediterranean.[16]

The cost of rearmament was felt by all the Great Powers in Europe. The total arms spending by Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary and Italy increased by 50% between 1908 and 1913.

Distrust and Mobilization Plans

The thesis adopted by many is that the mobilization plans of Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, Belgium, Great Britain and Germany (in that order), automatically escalated the conflict. Modern but left-wing German author Fritz Fischer emphasized what he saw as the inherently aggressive nature of the German Schlieffen Plan, which considered a two-front strategy. However, almost all European Empires and countries had common borders with another, and all High Commands, since Napoleonic times, had extensive strategic plans of action in place if a war was declared. Germany, in order to avoid a two-front war, would therefore have to eliminate one major opponent quickly, before taking on the other. Germany had drawn up the Schlieffen plan as a fast moving strategy, based on Clausewitz's argument that attack can be the best defence. Germany did not want to risk all the terrain problems they encountered during the Franco-Prussian war[17], thus giving France time to organise. The plan therefore called for a strong right to either pass through or seize Belgium and cripple the French Army by pre-empting its mobilization. After the attack, the German Army would rush east by railroad and quickly destroy what was expected to be slowly mobilizing Russian forces.

France meanwhile had concluded a military alliance with Russia in 1894.[18] In addition France spent hundreds of millions of Francs on a series of supposedly impregnable fortresses (i.e: Verdun), and by subsidising Belgium's construction of similar fortresses (i.e: Leige) to complement their own. Their principle line of movement was to be into the disputed provinces of Alsace and Lorraine which had been restored to Germany in 1871, and where the only fortifications were old.

Russia, following their defeat at the hands of the Japanese in 1904, lost interest in that part of the Far-East, and reverted her attention to the Balkans and the Straits. In the famous secret conference in St. Petersburg, 21 February - 6 March 1914, it was pointed out that "a struggle for Constantinople was not possible without a general European War".[19] With the French as long-standing partners in their conspiracy against the Central Powers[20], Russia foresaw a mobilization of its armies against both Austria-Hungary and Germany (and also the Ottoman Empire), a huge front, and in this respect France financed vast loans to the Imperial Government for a string of new railways all heading towards the German and Austro-Hungarian frontiers.

All these plans created an atmosphere in which speed was one of the determining factors for victory. Elaborate timetables were prepared; once mobilizations had begun, there was little possibility of turning back. Also, the plans of France, Russia, & Germany (but not Austria-Hungary) were based upon some form of offensive, in clear conflict with the modern improvements of defensive firepower and entrenchment.

Anti-Imperial Propaganda

It has been argued that aristocrats and military élites had too much power in Empires such as Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, and that war was a consequence of their desire for armed forces and disdain for democracy. This theme figured prominently in anti-German sentiment propaganda.[21] Consequently, supporters of this theory, and republicans, called for the abdication of rulers such as Kaiser Wilhelm II, as well as an end to aristocracy and militarism in general. This platform provided some justification for the entry of the USA into the war when revolution hit the Russian Empire in 1917, as the USA had been vocally anti-Tsarist. American President Wilson hoped the League of Nations and disarmament would secure a lasting peace after the war. He also said that variations of militarism, in his opinion, existed within the British and French Empires.

However this was a propaganda myth as Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia and Italy were by 1914 were all democracies with representative parliaments. The Ottoman, alone of the Empires, remained autocratic.

Opposition & Support for the War

Some Jewish political activists, both of the Bolshevik and Zionist variety, favored the war seeing it as an opportunity for the destruction and breakup of empires.

Vladimir Lenin asserted that imperialism was responsible for the war. He drew upon the economic theories of Karl Marx and English economist John A. Hobson, who predicted that unlimited competition for expanding markets would lead to a global conflict. Cordell Hull, later the American Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt, a free-trader, believed that trade barriers were the root cause of both World War I and World War II. In 1944, he helped design the Bretton Woods Agreements to reduce trade barriers and eliminate what he saw as the cause of the conflicts.

The trade union and socialist movements, controlled by Communists and their fellow-travellers, had long voiced their opposition to a war, which they argued, meant only that workers would kill other workers in the interest of capitalism. Once war was declared, however, the vast majority of socialists and trade unions backed their governments. The exceptions were the Bolsheviks en bloc, the Italian Socialist Party, and individuals such as Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and their followers in Germany. There were also small anti-war groups in Britain and France. Other opposition came from conscientious objectors - some socialist, some religious - who refused to fight. In Britain 16,000 people asked for conscientious objector status. Many suffered years of prison, including solitary confinement and bread and water diets. Even after the war, in Britain many job advertisements were marked "No conscientious objectors need apply". Many countries also jailed those who spoke out against the conflict. These included Eugene Debs in the United States and Bertrand Russell in Britain.

July Crisis and Declarations of War

The Assassination

Archduke Franz-Ferdinand and his wife leave Sarajevo Town Hall shortly before their murders, 28 June 1914.

On the 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb[22] failed student, assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Princip was a fanatical member of the Black Hand, a group whose aims included (article 1) "the union of all Serbs" and the organisation of revolutionary activity "in all lands inhabited by Serbs".[23] Investigations proved that the head of the Intelligence Department of the Serbian General Staff, Colonel Dimitrijevich, a leading member of the "Black hand" had arranged the whole thing.[24] The British Blue Book stated: "no crime has ever aroused deeper and more general horror throughout Europe, none had ever been less justified.............Austria was under provocation."[25]

"Greater Serbia propaganda has been continually increasing in extent and is to the account of that propaganda that the latest outrage, the trail of which leads to Belgrade, can be charged."[26]

War Preparations by the Pan-Slavs

The German Chancellor had been made aware from intelligence reports that the French Ambassador in St.Petersburg had advised Paris by telegram at 11.35 p.m. on July 20, 1914 that "the Russian Government had decided to take the first steps towards general mobilisation secretly." The German Chancellor therefore telegraphed the Russian Foreign Minister the following day: "We would emphasise that the problem, in our view, is soley for Austria-Hungary and Serbia to solve, and one which it should be the earnest endeavour of the [Great] Powers to confine to the immediate participants."[27]

The Austro-Hungarian government, a great European power, were outraged by the assassination of the heir-apparent to their throne and his consort, and served an ultimatum on Serbia on July 23 with numerous demands, compliance with would mean an acceptable peace. Austria insisted it had no wish to compromise Serbian sovereignty.[28] Serbia rejected the ultimatum[29][30] and, relying on the 'blank cheque' guaranteed support by Russia, ordered full mobilization of its army at 3 p.m., on July 24, which was followed by Austria’s partial mobilisation of eight Army Corps [31] against Serbia[32] on the evening of the following day.

The Pan-Slav Russian Press became exceptionally excited, calling for immediate mobilisation.[33] The Russian Ministerial Council, presided over by the Tsar, decided upon partial mobilisation: to mobilise thirteen Army Corps against Austria-Hungary on July 25. These measures were conveyed to Paris, where the Russian Ambassador, Paléologue, stated that the Russian General Staff said "war had been a certainty since the 24th July", when France had assured Russia that she "would fulfil all the obligations of her military alliance". Russia ordered a "Period of Preparation for War" for the whole Empire on July 26, on which day Sir George Buchanan, British Ambassador in St Petersburg, telegraphed London: "Russia being sure of support by France will face all the risks of war." General Joffe later wrote that he and the French War Office were "delighted" that their covert war measures had so far been carried out without a hitch.

Frantic German negotiations to avoid war

Meanwhile the German Government appeared to still think that matters could be dealt with without a war.[34]

Kaiser Wilhelm II, upon learning of the Austrian partial mobilisation against Serbia on the 24th, immediately telegraphed Tsar Nicholas II emphasising that Austria had only partially mobilised, and only against Serbia.[35] At 9.19 p.m. on July 27 the German War Ministry telegraphed the German Military Attaché in St Petersburg: "No military measures are contemplated here. But we note that the (Russian) frontier guard is already mobilised, and that steps are being taken to close the frontier. Therefore request constant watch to be kept on Russian military measures and report." The following day Emperor Wilhelm II sent a note at 10 a.m., to Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, von Jagow, saying "There is no reason for war." Von Moltke records that this Note was communicated at once to the Chief of the German General Staff. On the same day the German Government, through Herr von Schoen, declared "Germany was ready to work with the other powers for the preservation of peace."

The Imperial German Chancellor made urgent "let us decrease the tension" appeals to Paris, over French preparations for war, and to St Petersburg, on the afternoon of the 29th, which were met with evasive responses. The Chancellor asked the British Ambassador to convey to London Germany’s regret that the Austrian Government had rejected the proposal for negotiations with Serbia which Berlin had supported.

The German Emperor had meanwhile telegraphed the Austrian Emperor on the same day: "I could not see my way to refuse the Tsar’s personal request that I should undertake to mediate with a view to averting a general conflagration and maintaining peace, and I have submitted proposals to your government through my Ambassador yesterday and today."

On July 31 the German Ambassador Count Pourtales was received by Tsar Nicholas when he "begged the Tsar, if it were possible in any way, to check or to revoke Russian mobilisation" to which the Tsar replied "for technical reasons that was no longer possible".[36]

Austria declares war on Serbia

With the Serbian rejection[37] of the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, that empire declared war on Serbia, "in order to compel the Serbian Government to comply with the demands in full and establish guarantees for future good behaviour", at about 7 pm on July 28, 1914.[38] The Serbs immediately appealed to Russia "the protector of Serbia" to "severely punish" Austria-Hungary.[39] In response, Sazanov, Russian Foreign Minister, now urged the "necessity of general mobilisation without further delay". (Notwithstanding that partial mobilisations had been under way in Russia some time before this). Ukases were then drawn up and issued the same night for mobilisation against Austria-Hungary.


On July 29, Russia mobilised by Imperial Ukase all the military districts on the Austrian frontier and generally against Austria-Hungary and Germany.[40] Germany advised London that if a Russian offensive against Austria occurred Germany would be obliged to respect her defence treaty obligations as Russia could engage 55 infantry divisions whereas Austria-Hungary could only raise 22 because of the reserves in place for action against Serbia. On the same day France announced partial mobilisation, and the German General Staff minuted that they were feeling uneasy in a Memorandum to their Imperial Chancellor, that Russia already has twelve Army Corps on the German frontier and were making great "military dispositions". Further reports came from Paris one of which states that "the French General Staff were surprised at Germany taking so few protective measures."

At 3 p.m. on July 30, Russian Minister Isvolsky’s response to the calls for further negotiations were: "we cannot comply with Germany’s wishes, and have no alternative but to hasten with our military preparations and assume war is inevitable." That evening the Austrians were still only considering partial mobilisation for their Russian frontier, their Government having telegraphed St.Petersburg that "Austria really wishes to reach an understanding with Russia". However the next day, following receipt of intelligence reports, Austria-Hungary announced full mobilisation "as a purely defensive measure". On July 30th also, Montenegro mobilised against Austria-Hungary.[41]

On July 31, after the Russian General Staff informed the Tsar that continuing partial mobilization was logistically impossible, a full mobilization of army and fleets was ordered throughout Russia.[42] The German Ambassador at St.Petersburg telegraphed the German Foreign office that his Military Attaché reported vast troop movements and trains carrying them West, which had commenced as early as the 29th July.

The Emperor Franz-Joseph telegraphed German Emperor on July 31 to say that he had reluctantly ordered the mobilisation of his entire armed forces, including the navy, following the Russian full mobilisation against his Empire.[43] The Germans, who had continued to hope for peace, were now being inundated with military intelligence reports of those preparing to attack them, and declared on July 31 a state of "threatening danger of war", a pre-mobilisation step.[44]

The German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs subsequently served upon the Russian Ambassador at Berlin an extensive note for the Russian Government: "While Germany, striving since the commencement of the crisis to find a peaceful solution, was still continuing upon orders from her August Sovereign, its role of mediator between Austria-Hungary and Russia, you have proceeded to the full mobilisation of all your land and sea forces. Obviously the security of the German Empire is now menaced by this extreme measure which had not been preceded in Germany in similar measure. Our request to His Majesty the Emperor (of Russia) to stop this mobilisation for war (ultimatum of 31st) having been declined, His Majesty the Emperor, my August Sovereign, declares that he accepts the war which is forced upon him."

The full German Mobilisation Order was given by von Falkenhayn, Minister of War, at 5 p.m. on August 2, Germany being the last of the four Great Continental Powers to give this order.


As for France, the Russian Military attaché in Paris reported by telegram to St. Petersburg at 1 a.m. on August 1st: "The French War Minister informed me, in great spirits, that his Government are firmly determined on war, and begged me to endorse the hope of the French General Staff that all our efforts will be directed against Germany, and that Austria will be treated as a quantité négligeable.” France ordered full mobilisation the same day, although French cavalry regiments had taken up war positions on the German frontier on the 31st and further mounted troops were brought by train early the next morning, before official mobilisation. The German Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, von Jagow, urgently telegraphed his Ambassador at Paris: "We want and contemplate no hostile action against France, despite their mobilisation. We are speaking with [England's] Sir Edward Grey and shall keep you informed".

Meanwhile, President Poincare advised the Russian Ambassador, Isvolsky, at 11 pm, that because of France’s Constitution it was necessary to obtain the consent of parliament before war could be declared, and at least two days would be required to summon a meeting of the Chamber. He said, therefore, that it would be better if the declaration of war were made by Germany. Given that France had mobilised against Germany, and already sent large formations to the frontier, a declaration of War between them was now purely a matter of form, as in three days French detachments had crossed the frontiers about 56 times. In addition French airmen had dropped bombs on the railway at Karlsruhe and Nuremberg on August 2, and these violations were mentioned in the German Declaration of War against France by telegram at 6 p.m. on August 3.


On July 29, German State Secretary von Jago formally communicated Germany's proposals in case of war to the German Ambassador in Brussels for submission to the Royal Belgian Government.[45] The Ambassador replied to the Foreign Office in Berlin on August 3 when he confirmed he had served the German Government's further note of August 2, delivered at 8 p.m., that "according to reliable information French forces intend to march on the Meuse via Givet and Namur, and that Belgium, in spite of the best intentions, would not be in a position to repulse, without assistance, any advance of French troops. The German Government would consider itself compelled to anticipate this attack and to violate Belgian territory. The German Government urged the Royal Belgian Government to assist the friendly passage of German troops to meet the French and that if the Belgians refused and put up a fight they will be considered an enemy. We emphasise that Germany had no hostile intentions of any sort towards Belgium. Germany would evacuate immediately peace was declared and that they would offer Belgium generous compensation." This was declined by the Belgian government.

On August 3rd, at 11 am, mobilisation orders were issued in Great Britain, as France had reported that Belgian neutrality had been violated (false at that point). Belgium's neutrality was subsequently violated, at 6 a.m. on August 4th, by the German advance heading towards Paris, and this brought the British Empire into the war as a 'defender' of Belgium. With this, five of the six European powers were now involved in the largest continental European conflict since the Napoleonic Wars.


  1. Schucking, Professor Walther, & Montgelas, Count Max, editors, Outbreak of the World War - German Documents Collected by Karl Kautsky, Oxford University Press, 1924, p.612-4, for the Austro-Hungarian-Romanian Treaty of Alliance of February 5, 1913, with the German Declaration of Accession, February 26, 1913. Also, although the Italians were original members of the Central Powers, but declined involvement in 1914. Both Italy and Romania coveted various territories along their borders and were waiting to see which way they thought the war would go. A secret Italian-Romanian Accord dated September 23, 1914, pledged each state not to intervene without giving the other eight days warning.
  2. Portal, Roger, The Slavs, London, 1969, p.18-20.
  3. Geiss, 1967, p.17.
  4. Portal, 1969, p.378-9.
  5. Bassett, Richard, For God and Kaiser - The Imperial Austrian Army 1619 to 1918, Yale University Press, 2015, p.414-7. ISBN 978-0-300-17858-6
  6. Geiss, 1967, p.148: telegram of Count Berchtold to the KuK Ambassador in St. Petersburg, 20 July 1914.
  7. Geiss, 1967, p.25.
  8. Montgelas, 1925, p.111.
  9. Geiss, 1967, p.26.
  10. Bassett, 2015, p.416-7.
  11. Geiss, 1967, p.26.
  12. Montgelas, 1925, p.111.
  13. Geiss, 1967, p.26.
  14. Geiss, 1967, p.28.
  15. The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War, Princeton Studies in International History and Politics, 1997.
  16. Montgelas, 1925, p.111.
  17. Howard, Michael, The Franco-Prussian War, New York, 1961, ISBN:0-88029-432-9
  18. Bassett, 2015, p.417.
  19. Geiss, 1967, p.27.
  20. Bassett, 2015, p.416-7
  21. Peterson,Professor H.C., Propaganda for War - The Campaign against American Neutrality 1914-17, University of Oklahoma Press, 1939.
  22. Cassels, L., The Archduke and the Assassin, London, 1984, p.75, where it give's Princips biographical details. He was baptised on the day of his birth, St. Gabriel's day, into a devout Serbian Orthodox family.
  23. Cassels, 1984, p.121.
  24. Montgelas, 1925, p.114. The Colonel was condemned to death by Serbian court-martial in the spring of 1917, and shot, By that time Serbia was over-run.
  25. Montgelas, 1925, p.113.
  26. Geiss, 1967, p.149: telegram from German Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg to his Ambassador at St. Petersburg, 21 July 1914.
  27. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.149, no.100, Despatch from German Imperial Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg to the German Ambassadors at St. Petersburg, Paris and London, July 21, 1914.
  28. The Austrian Red Book, published by the American Association for International Conciliation, New York, April 1915.
  29. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, pps: 250-254, no.271
  30. The Serbian Book, published by the American Association for International Conciliation, New York, May 1915.
  31. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.364, no.425.
  32. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.354,no.408.
  33. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, pps: 266-272, nos.288-291, includes lengthy report and quotes from the principal Russian newspapers by Count Pourtales.
  34. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.372, no.441.
  35. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.360, no.420.
  36. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.428, no.535
  37. The Serbian Blue Book, published May 1915.
  38. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.283, no.311
  39. Serbian Blue Book, published May 1915, Minute of Dr.Spalaikovitch, Serbian Ambassador to Russia of 28 July, p.30.
  40. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, pps: 303 & 347, nos.343 & 300.
  41. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.393, no.476
  42. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.391, no.473
  43. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.400, no.482.
  44. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, pps: 395 & 409, nos.479 & 499.
  45. Schucking & Montgelas, 1924, p.330-1, no.376
  • Montgelas, Count Max, and Schucking, Professor Walther, Outbreak of the World War – German Documents collected by Karl Kautsky, first published in German in November 1919, this book is commonly referred to as the "Kautsky Documents" and contains all the diplomatic telegrams, Minutes, memos, transcripts, etc. Oxford University Press published the English-language version, in New York, in 1924, 688 pages.
  • Montegelas, Count Max, The Case for the Central Powers - an Impeachment of the Versailles Verdict, translated by Constance Vesey, London, 1925. pps:255.

Count Montgelas's father had been the Bavarian Government’s Ambassador in St. Petersburg, where the Count was born. He was a member of the Reichstag Committee of Enquiry (into the war) in 1918-19, and a member of the Commission sent to Versailles by the German Government in 1919, specially to investigate the question of responsibility for the war. He was one of the four signatories to the "Memorandum", presented on 29th May, in reply to the allegations made by the Commission appointed by the Allied and Associated Governments to report on the subject, and he was jointly responsible, with Delbruck, for the "Memorandum" replying to the "Allied Note" of 16th June 1919.)

  • Hohenzollern, Crown Prince Wilhelm, I Seek The Truth – On Responsibility for the War, translated by Ralph Butler, London, 1926. pps:325.
  • Cassells, L., The Archduke & the Assassin, London, 1984, pps.216.
  • Crankshaw, Edward, The Fall of the House of Habsburg, London, 1963, pps:454.
  • Lee, John, The Warlords - Hindenburg & Ludendorff, London, 2005 pps:207.
  • Craig, Gordon A., Germany 1866-1945, Oxford History of Modern Europe series, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1978 and 1988 pps:825. Author is a liberal.
  • Taylor, A.J.P., The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918, same pubs, 1954 & 1957. Author is a socialist.
  • Seton-Watson, Hugh, The Russian Empire 1801-1917, edited by Alan Bullock (anti-German), same pubs, 1967 & 1988, pps:811.
  • Witte, Sergei, The Memoirs of Count Witte, (former Prime Minister of Russia), New York, 1921, pps:445. Give a view of the period leading up to the war. Witte was opposed to the Pan-Slavists and to the war. He famously and prophetically told the Cabinet "none of you will be here when this ends."
  • Buchanan, Sir George, My Mission to Russia, London, 1923, 2 vols. Sir George was the British Ambassador to St. Petersburg 1910-1918.
  • Dmytryshyn, Basil, editor, Imperial Russia – A Source Book 1700-1917, USA 1967, contains Sazanov’s account of Russia’s entry into the war. (He was Foreign Minister). Better still, it contains the famous and again prophetic "Durnovo’s Memorandum" of February 1914. Peter N. Durnovo had a distinguished Ministerial career and was a prominent member of the State Council. He argued against the war. Almost everything he said came true.
  • Geiss, Imanuel, July 1914 - The Outbreak of the 1st World War: selected documents , London, 1967. The author is an established left-wing pro-Fischer historian who is very anti-Imperialist etc. So "selected documents" means the ones that he wants you to see. Most can be found in the "Kautsky Documents".
  • The famous coloured books of the various governments are absolutely essential reading. The most notorious are the Allied ones which are “selected” and so they are notable for what was left out as much as what appears. The American Association for International Conciliation in New York were responsible for bringing these books to the public before the USA entered the war. They are verbatim publications. Important are:
  • The Austrian Red Book, April 1915, no.89.
  • The Serbian Blue Book, May 1915, no.90.
  • Official Documents Bearing upon the European War, no.96, Series XI: (1)US Secretary Bryan’s Letter to Senator Stone regarding charges of partiality shown to Great Britain, 20th January 1915.(2)The Austro-Hungarian Minister for Foreign Affairs to US Ambassador Penfield, 29th June 1915. (3)The US Secretary of State to Ambassador Penfield, 12th August 1915.
  • Russian Documents, March 1919, no.136.
  • Fromkin, Professor David, Europe’s Last Summer – Why the World Went to War in 1914 , London, 2004, pps.350. An American liberal's view.
  • Wheeler-Bennett, Sir John, D.C.L., Brest-Litovsk – The Forgotten Peace March 1918, first published in 1938 and reprinted in 1939, 1956, 1963 & 1966. London. pps: 478.
  • Sinclair, David, Hall of Mirrors, London, 2001. pps:323.
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