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The Tragic Poker Game: World War One on the BBC

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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Sunday, 6 Jul 2014, 08:03

Catch the short pieces by Prof. Chris Clark on the First World War.

He's the author of 'Sleepwalkers. How Europe went to war in 1914'. He's a compelling, easy to listen to historian. A linguist too: he is adamant about the need for historians to do first hand research in the original language - he has German and French at least. An Australian whose accent has vanished after a decade or more in the quads of Cambridge.

Listen, then think again.

Personally, I have come to not wholly agree - which cost me a few marks short of a distinction on an essay on the origins of the First World War which I wrote by amongst others, by extensive reading of the OU's Annika Mombauer's edited anthologies of original documents. These are fascinating to pick through so that you can construct your own point of view.

Christopher Clark believes that a) the Kaiser, had he real power, could have and would have prevented the outbreak of a general European war b) that between the French and Russian's had been planning for it and were 'up for it' as the prospective of a test of strength developed. 

No war, no Russian Revolution?

No war, dynastic monarchies still ruling Europe?

No war ... 

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