The conflagration that consumed Europe in August 1914 had been a long time in coming-and yet it need never have happened at all. For though all the European powers were prepared to accept a war as a resolution to the tensions which were fermenting across the Continent, only one nation wanted war to come: Imperial Germany. Germany alone possessed the opportunity and the power to determine that a war in eastern Europe would become The Great War, which swept across the Continent and nearly destroyed a thousand years of European civilisation.For nearly nine decades it has been argued that the responsibility for the First World War was a shared one, spread among all the Great Powers. Now historian Daniel Allen Butler (author of The Other Side of the Night and The First Jihad) has substantively challenged that point of view, establishing that the Treaty of Versailles was actually a fair judgement: Germany did indeed bear the true responsibility for the Great War.Working from government archives and records, as well as personal papers and memoirs of the men who made the decisions that carried Europe to war, Butler interweaves the events of summer 1914 with portraits of the monarchs, diplomats, prime ministers, and other national leaders involved in the 1914 crisis. He explores the national policies and goals these men were pursuing, and shows how the Imperial German government was presented with opportunities to contain the spreading crisis-opportunities unlike those of any other nation involved-yet each time, the German government consciously and deliberately chose the path which virtually assured that the Continent would go up in flames.The Burden of Guilt is a work destined to become an essential part of the library of the First World War, vital to understanding not only the "how" but also the "why" behind this pivotal event.
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