Cataclysm : the First World War as political tragedy New York : Basic Books, c 2004 David Stevenson World War, 1914-1918 Hardcover. First edition and printing. xix, 564 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 489-510) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
The standard account of World War I says that the war happened because politicians lost control of events, and that once the war began, it quickly became an unstoppable machine. But in this major new work, historian David Stevenson shows that politicians deliberately took risks that led to war in July 1914, and that battle by bloody battle, their decision remained to continue the fighting.
Cataclysm presents the disturbing reality that the course of the war was the result of conscious choices – including the continued acceptance of astronomical casualties.Rather than the standard Germany-vs.-England account, Cataclysm is a truly international history, drawing on previously undisclosed records from the Italian, Russian, Japanese, and Ottoman governments.
From the complex network of secret treaties and alliances that eventually drew all of Europe into the war, to the way that World War I reconfigured how societies mourn and memorialize wartime dead, Cataclysm is a major revision of World War I history.