- Hardcover: 344 pages
- Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (Nov. 30 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674062108
- ISBN-13: 978-0674062108
- Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 680 g
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #432,564 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Russian Origins of the First World War Hardcover – Nov 30 2011
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This book should forever change the ways we have understood the role of Russia in the First World War.
--Michael S. Neiberg, author of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I
A bold reinterpretation of the Russian Empire's entry into the First World War. McMeekin argues that Russia believed a European war to be in its interest, that it sought to humiliate Vienna, and that it hoped to conquer Constantinople and the Ottoman Straits.
--Mustafa Aksakal, author of The Ottoman Road to War in 1914
The Russian Origins of the First World War is a polemic in the best sense. Written in a lively and engaging style, it should provoke a much-needed debate on Russia's role in the Great War.
--Michael Reynolds, author of Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918
Going against a century of received wisdom, Bilkent University professor McMeekin offers a dramatic new interpretation of WWI...Rifling the archives, analyzing battle plans, and sifting through the machinations of high diplomacy, McMeekin reveals the grand ambitions of czarist Russia, which wanted control of the Black Sea straits to guarantee all-weather access to foreign markets. Maneuvering France and England into a war against Germany presented the best chance to acquire this longed-for prize. No empire had more to gain from the coming conflict, and none pushed harder to ensure its arrival. Once unleashed, however, the conflagration leapt out of control, and imperial Russia herself ranked among its countless victims. (Publishers Weekly 2011-09-26)
Casting a contrarian eye on the first major conflict of the twentieth century, Sean McMeekin finds the roots of WWI inside Russia, whose leaders deliberately sought--for their own ends--to expand a brawl that the Germans wanted to keep local. The author tracks the fallout of these antique plots right down to the present geopolitical landscape. (Barnes & Noble Review 2012-01-13)
An entirely new take on the origins of World War I comes as a surprise. If war guilt is to be assigned, this book argues, it should go not only (or even primarily) to Germany--the long-accepted culprit--but also to Russia...Bold reading between the lines of history.
--Robert Legvold (Foreign Affairs 2012-01-01)
As Sean McMeekin argues in this bold and brilliant revisionist study, Russia was as much to blame as Germany for the outbreak of the war. Using a wide range of archival sources, including long-neglected tsarist documents, he argues that the Russians had ambitions of their own (the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, no less) and that they were ready for a war once they had secured a favorable alliance with the British and the French.
--Orlando Figes (Sunday Times 2012-01-01)
The book is a refreshing challenge to longstanding assumptions and shifted perspectives are always good.
--Miriam Cosic (The Australian 2012-03-03)
About the Author
Sean McMeekin is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Bilkent University in Turkey.
Top customer reviews
His focus on Russia is both good and bad, however, as he brings something almost unknown basing himself on a lot of primary documentation, but the author tends to forget and minimize the role of other nations. For example, after reading his account, the reader can get the idea that the British Empire was very passive in the events leading to the war, but in fact London had a very aggressive and manipulative role, as historian Webster Tarpley demonstrated.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
only giving it 4* - I expect that it will deserve 5* by the time that I have finished it.
It is so well researched and written, just as the other books of his that I have read
(The Berlin Bagdad Express and the Ottoman Endgame) and it has already given
me a very considerable insight of factors that went into the start of WW!. Certainly
it was not so straightforward as we were taught at school>
"DJE Welsh Argentinian."
Using recently opened historical archives, this book shows the Russian thinking, goals, strategies and diplomatic maneuvering that drove what should have been another small Balkan conflict into a civilization-destroying disaster.
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