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Some Damned Foolish Thing in the Balkans – “The Guns of August 1914”, Barbara Tuchman

April 1st, 2012 · No Comments · History, Leadership, Politics, War, WW1

“Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans,” Bismark had predicted would ignite the next war. The assassination of the Austrian heir apparent, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by Serbian nationalists on June 28, 1914, satisfied his condition…

War pressed against every frontier. Suddenly dismayed, governments struggled and twisted to fend it off. It was no use. Agents at frontiers were reporting every cavalry patrol as a development to beat the mobilisation gun. General Staffs, goaded by their relentless timetables, were pounding the table for the signal to move lest their opponents gain an hour’s headstart. Appalled upon the brink, the chiefs of state who would ultimately be responsible for their country’s fate, attempted to back away but the pull of military schedules dragged them forward.

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