This book reassesses the critical role played by Germany in the events leading to the First World War. Contemporary historians have argued that German leaders acted defensively in 1914, conscious of the Reich's deteriorating military and diplomatic position. Hewitson challenges such interpretations, placing new emphasis on the idea that the Reich Chancellor, the German Foreign Office and the Great General Staff were confident that they could win a continental war. Accordingly, they pursued offensive policies--at the risk of war--at important junctures during the 1900s and 1910s. Hewitson contends that the decade before the First World War witnessed critical changes in German foreign policy. During the July crisis of 1914, for example, the perception of enemies had altered, with Russia becoming the principal opponent of the Reich. German leaders could now pursue their strategy of brinkmanship, using war as an instrument of policy, to its logical conclusion.
Subgenre: Europe / Germany, Military / World War I