Decisions for War focuses on the choices made by small coteries in Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, France, Britain and elsewhere to address a common yet perplexing question: why did World War I happen? Several of the usual causes for the war are reviewed and discussed. Rather than accepting arguments of mass demands, nationalism, militarism, and social Darwinism, the book shows how in each country, the decision to enter the war was made by only a handful of individuals - monarchs, ministers, military people, party leaders, ambassadors, and others. In each case, we also see separate and distinct agendas, the considerations differing from one nation to the next. The leadership of Japan, the Ottoman Empire, Italy, the Balkans, and the United States are explored, as well as that of the major European countries involved.
Richard F. Hamilton is Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Political Science and Research Associate of The Mershon Center at Ohio State University. He is co-editor, with Holger Herwig, of The Origins of World War I (Cambridge, 2003). His previous books include Who Voted for Hitler? (1982) and The Bourgeois Epoch (1991). Holger H. Herwig is Professor of History and Canada Research Chair in Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary. Among the many books he has written are Biographical Dictionary of World War I (1982), co-authored with Neil M. Heyman, The First World War (1997), and The Destruction of the Bismarck (2001).