Sunday, February 13, 2011

Origins of the World War


I finally buckled down and finished reading the last 200 pages of Sidney Fay’s Origins of the World War Volume 1: Before Sarajevo this week. I had been reading it intermittently over the span a probably 2 years, restarting it at some point when I had left it alone for too long. The book discusses the diplomatic maneuvering that takes place in Europe from the times of the Franco-Prussian war up until the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914. The book came to my attention because of Alan Calhammer. Calhammer is the person who designed the game Diplomacy, which is about the politics of Europe prior to the First World War. He has stated that both this book was an inspiration for designing the game, as well as a class he took at Harvard that was taught by Sidney Fay.

The main thing that comes out of the book, which is considered normal now, but was new when the book was originally published in the 30s is that Germany wasn’t the main party responsible for the war even though at the end of the war she was assigned all the blame. If you want to understand how the situation in Europe got to a point where the assassination would cause such a horrific war, this book is a good place to start.

Books read this year: 3

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