Reading History: The First World War

Hew Strachan reviews historians' approaches to the Great War.

It is no exaggeration to say that the approach of historians to the First World War is still being affected by the impact of Fritz Fischer's Germany's Aims in the First World War (Chatto and Windus, 1966). Put very crudely, Fischer rejected the arguments for the war's causation that had prevailed since the 1930s. The outbreak of war was not the consequence of a general breakdown in the international system but rather it had been sought by Germany in order to fulfil her aspirations to world-power status.

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