November 30, 2009
Why Nations go to War Review
Why do notions go to war? What is the reasoning behind their actions? John G. Stoessinger analyzes these questions in his book, Why Nations go to War. Stoessinger believes that to understand the war, you must understand the leaders of the war. When you understand the leaders you understand their actions and when you understand their actions, you have the answer to the question, "Why do nations go to war?" In this review paper I am going to review each chapter individually, 1-10. I will then give a brief summary of the book and what I think as a whole based on my reading.
This chapter is an analyzation of the beginning of WWI and how Austria's and Serbia's actions led Europe into this state of war. Stoessinger believed that every leader had a distorted view of themselves. They thought greater of themselves and lesser of their enemies than they really were. This was one of the major contributing factors to the war. He says:
All the participants suffered from greater or lesser distortions in their images of
themselves. They tended to see themselves as honorable, virtuous, and pure, and the
adversary as diabolical. (page 24)
Because they all believed that they were all acting as if they should, in the right manner, they had no problem with their actions. They had no problem assassinating the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. Austria had no problem punishing Serbia for this assassination.
The Kaiser believed that he could do as he wished. He gave Austria the "go ahead" to punishing Serbia. After Austria drafted out their requirements, which they knew couldn't be met, they would go to war. The Kaiser issued a "blank check" stating that he would back up Austria with any of their actions. He did not know what Austria would do to punish Serbia. Stoessinger stated, "On July 5 [the Kaiser] took the fateful step of assuring Austria that she could count... [continues]
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