Cover Osteuropa 11-12/2014

In Osteuropa 11-12/2014

Nobody Slid into It
One Hundred Years of Debate over Assigning Blame for the First World War

Egbert Jahn

Deutsche Fassung


The question of war guilt, which for decades dominated the debate over the origins of the First World War and exhausted itself in mutual recrimination at the national level, hardly received any attention in most of the new academic studies marking the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the start of the war. Historians now prefer the term “responsibility” or fall back on the old theory that the heads of state “slid” into the war. In fact, the politicians responsible at the time consciously and deliberately decided to unleash several bilateral wars. The First World War is the linking of a number of bilateral wars that in most cases could have been avoided.

(Osteuropa 11-12/2014, pp. 3–28)