Throughout the twentieth century events that transpired were subject to a great deal of debate from students to trained historians. It was a span of one hundred years that saw the entire world at war on two separate occasions, it saw the end of the old idea that the Europe was home to the most successful countries in the world, and it saw the world on the brink of a nuclear war and perhaps its end. Through all of this many debates emerged on the events that transpired. Perhaps the most debated subject and the subject of this essay is who or what events were the main causes of the failure of diplomacy that lead to WWI.
Diplomatic failure in 1914 did not happen all the suddenly, for Europe was not merely thrown into a “Great War.” This was a result of building tensions which were a direct result of events that had occured over a long period of time prior to 1914. Historians have studied these events and the key players that were connected to them since the end of the war. These studies, have lead them to draw conclusions as to the people or events that are to blame for diplomatic failure. Many historians’ interpretations and the conclusions they draw from these events differ from one another on the basis that they are personal opinions. This essay will examine the conflicting views of four authors using their specific books: Henry Kissinger; Diplomacy, Laurence Lafore; The Long Fuse, Fritz Fischer, and Alan Palmer; The Chancelleries of Europe. Each of these authors draws their own conclusions from the events leading up to WWI and offers their educated opinion as to where blame lies. Henry Kissinger refers to European diplomacy leading up to 1914 as a “political doomsday machine,” for he states that no one Great Power or one person is directly to blame for the crisis. Kissinger believes that it was a combination of indiscretions and the shortsightedness of the Great Powers that lead to a world war. He states that the powers of Europe had forgotten...
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