War and Peace in Europe from Napoleon to the Kaiser: From Balkan War to World War, 1908-1918
Apr 22, 2010
This lecture explores in broad terms the origins, of the First World War, both in terms of the aims and purposes of the main combatants, and by examining the influence of Social Darwinism and militarism, which led to a growing willingness of European states to engage in military conflict. Technological changes in warfare - notably the invention of barbed wire and the machine gun - gave the advantage to defence over attack. The First World War became far more destructive than almost anyone had imagined, and destroyed the Europe created at the Congress of Vienna for ever.
This is part of the series of lectures, War and Peace in Europe from Napoleon to the Kaiser, which looks at the conflicts that tore Europe apart at various times during the 19th century. It examines the origins, course and impact of six wars, or international conflicts, looking not just at their military aspects but also at how soldiers and civilians experienced them, the ideological influences that underlay them, and the social and cultural changes to which they gave rise.