Gary Sheffield: Britain’s First World War was a War of National SurvivalRoundup: Talking About History
tags: World War I, Germany, United Kingdom, Gary Sheffield, war guilt, Austria-Hungary, just wars
McSmith’s insight is astute. It was the government’s ‘non-judgmental’ approach that led to the culture secretary’s moment of car-crash radio. She was responding to the journalist and historian Max Hastings, who had stated that most historians held Germany and Austria-Hungary primarily responsible for the outbreak of the First World War. While recently there has been an attempt to spread the blame, particularly by pinning responsibility on Russia, this indeed remains the mainstream position among serious historians. In the debate over war guilt, what happened next is often ignored. However the conflict started, Germany took full advantage to carry out a war of conquest and aggression. Britain’s First World War was a war of national survival, a defensive conflict fought at huge cost against an aggressive enemy bent on achieving hegemony in Europe....
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