Most helpful positive review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Superb, illuminating discussion
on 19 June 2001
Twenty-one years after it was first published, this still looks like the best account of why Britain and Germany grew ever more at odds with each other in the course of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Kennedy's fundamental point is that, with Britain an established world power and Germany becoming stronger and more ambitious as time passed, the antagonism was all but inevitable. One power wanted to preserve the status quo, or allow only modest changes; the other wanted its "place in the sun" and, after Bismarck's departure, pursued its goals with alarming single-mindedness, not to say pushy aggressiveness. If Germany ended up with an encircling Anglo-Franco-Russian alliance around it, it basically had itself to blame. Perhaps a more liberal and less divided German society and a more inclusive post-1870 political settlement would have made a difference. Or perhaps, as one historian once suggested to me, "the basic problem was that Germany was too big for Europe".