Customer Reviews


4 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
Most Helpful First | Newest First

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some new insights, 2 Jun 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914 (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, got 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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Perceptions, misperceptions and deliberate deceptions', 11 July 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914 (Kindle Edition)
In the midst of a deluge of WW1 books, this offers a fresh re-examination of the diplomatic sources from the fatal month of July 1914. Taking a panoramic view encompassing Vienna, Berlin and St.Petersburg as well as London, this explores the decisions taken by individuals in the moment of crisis and without the benefit of foresight.

Otte's book is not for the casual reader wanting a general overview of the lead up to war. It's good on the multiple 'perceptions, misperceptions and deliberate deceptions', and thus strives to find the role of individual agency in the move to war, rather than locating its causes in systemic forces.

Otte isn't the most elegant of writers but this is an interesting read for anyone with a fairly informed prior knowledge of the literature on the causes of the war.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE INTEGRITY OF THE AUSTRIAN AND GERMAN AMBASSADORS IN London., 16 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: July Crisis: The World's Descent into War, Summer 1914 (Kindle Edition)
This is the first book that is written by a historian of diplomatic history that has emerged from the plethora of books about the July crisis 1914. Surprisingly Professor Otte draws out the details and the obscure documents and refrains from being judgmental on areas where the judgments have flow fast and furious. The surprises include the Kaiser. he cannot again be regarded as a war monger but a blunderer but a man who was led by the head of the German foreign service Jagow, and the chancellor Bethmann Hollweg. Two men emerge who had they been listened to in Vienna and Berlin would have prevented any third Balkan War turning into the First World War. They were the Austrian and German ambassadors in London. The Russians and the French emerge as at least a significant part of the descent into war.

This is a book to give a proper deep understanding. It is a slow read. It is a good one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly detailed story of the leaders and diplomats of the ..., 17 July 2014
By 
Sk Picot "stevekp" (Stockport) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Highly detailed story of the leaders and diplomats of the countries responsible for the war. An eye opener to the events of July 1914 . Worthwhile reading for any serious study of the war.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews