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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Man is Irrational and acts irrationally-First World War as a case Study

Whatever war aims they proclaimed during the conflict , none of the rulers of the great powers  really know what they were fighting about in August 1914.Once the Austrian ultimatum had been delivered in Belgrade,the crisis gathered momentum and the calculations of statesman were overwhelmed  by the rapid succession of events ,the tide of emotion in the various capitals, and the inexorable demands of military planning.

After the first great battles ,the leading political figures soon lost contact with reality ,while popular demands for victory and vengeance insisted on a ruthless prosecution of the war and the imposition of a merciless peace on the conquered enemy.

Fischer has rendered a great service to historical knowledge by his thoroughly documented study of German war aims ,but P.H.S Hatton has pointed out that " once embarked upon a war , states in both alliance groups thought in terms of what they might gain if the war was won" . He draws attention to the surprising speed with which the British Colonial Office decided in August 1914 that Germanys colonies in Africa must be " forfeit", if possible to Britain.

Pages- 112 and 113 , Origins of the First World War, L.F.C Turner, Edward Arnold Publishers ,London , 1970

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