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Russia and the Origins of the First World…

Russia and the Origins of the First World War (Making of the Twentieth…

by D. C. B. Lieven

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This is one many 'Origins of the First World War' books I have read. What makes this one different is that it goes into more depth than these studies generally present. For example, the author introduces numerous names of Russian officials and non-officials whom I have never run acorss before in my readings. This appraoch broadens one's knowledge, but is also confusing. It is difficult remember who all the players are, what their capacity is, and what is their position on the issues. More than once I had to go to the internet to search for names mentioned in the book in order to refresh myself on a particular person. Do not let that comment deter you. The book is definately worth reading; do not give up on it once you start reading. It will be worth the effort to get though the material. It is also relatively brief: 154 pages of text. The remaining 59 pages are for a timeline, notes and references.

Many of the points discussed by the author I found very thought provoking. Here are a few:
> If Austri-Hungary collapsed before the war, what would Germany's reaction be? Acquire Austria (a German state) and let Hungary and the Balkans go it alone?

> Would Germany get directly involved in the Balkan situation? To what end? What would the effect be on Russia as the Big Brother ot the Slavs?

> For Russia's self interest should it support Austria vs Serbia after the assassination of the Archduke in order to try for peace in the Balkans? Would this approach be another diplomatic defeat for the Tsar?

There are many more questions discussed in this book such as economic concerns, issues relative the integrity of Russia's territory, the challenge from Japan to the East, which were new to me.

One more interesting point.....the author is D.C.B. Lieven. On the cover of the jacket, the person on left is Admiral Prince A. A. Lieven. Perhaps related to the author? Don't know. May need to some internet research on that one.

I recommend this book if you are interested in a more in-depth analysis of Russia's internal and external relationships and issues which affected the start of the war, and their entry into World War I. ( )
  douboy50 | May 12, 2011 |
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