How and why did Britain become involved in the First World War? Taking into account the scholarship of the last twenty-five years, this second edition of Zara S. Steiner's classic study, thoroughly revised with Keith Neilson, explores a subject which is as highly contentious as ever.
While retaining the basic argument that Britain went to war in 1914 not as a result of internal pressures but as a response to external events, Steiner and Neilson reject recent arguments that Britain became involved because of fears of an 'invented' German menace, or to defend her Empire. Instead, placing greater emphasis than before on the role of Russia, the authors convincingly argue that Britain entered the war in order to preserve the European balance of power and the nation's favourable position within it.
Lucid and comprehensive, Britain and the Origins of the First World War brings together the bureaucratic, diplomatic, economic, strategical and ideological factors that led to Britain's entry into the Great War, and remains the most complete survey of the pre-war situation.
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ZARA S. STEINER is Emeritus Fellow of New Hall, University of Cambridge.
KEITH NEILSON is Professor of History at the Royal Military College of Canada.
Reviews of the first edition:'Zara Steiner's book is a sober, sensible account of how this country became impelled into the First World War. She is a very good historian, with exceptionally balanced judgement.' - C. P. Snow, Financial Times'[Steiner's] brilliant exposition provides many ideas to argue over and some to agree with.' - A. J. P. Taylor, The Observer
'This is a fine study of British politics and attitudes during the momentous decade and a half from the death of Queen Victoria to the outbreak of the Great War.' - J. A. S. Grenville, THES
'With careful scholarship, [Steiner] describes the circumstances and intermittent crises that brought a country...to the moment of truth in 1914.' - John Grigg, The Listener
'Zara Steiner...has now synthesized both the labours of other British scholars and her own to produce this excellent work on Britain's role in the coming of World War I....This is the best analysis so far produced of this highly contentious issue, containing as it does a wealth of interesting material and a thought-provoking sketch of the personality of British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey. I recommend this book with enthusiasm as a major contribution to the continuing debate about the causes of World War I, and one which should appeal to teachers and undergraduates alike.' - M. L. Dockrill, British Book News
'Zara Steiner has the control of sources and the mastery of detail that are taken for granted in Cambridge dons.' - Economist
'Here at last we have that balanced, learned account which will make it easily the best guide to this complicated and important topic. The structure and layout of the book are admirable; the style is clear and flowing; and the erudition and clarity of argument convincing.' - Paul Kennedy, Sunday Times
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