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The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America - Michael Neiberg

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The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America - Michael Neiberg

Michael Neiberg, US Army War College

The First World War transformed the United States into a financial powerhouse and global player, despite the reassertion of isolationism in the years that followed. Examining the social, political, and financial forces at work as well as the role of public opinion and popular culture, The Path to War offers both a compelling narrative and the inescapable conclusion that World War One was no parenthetical exception in the American story but a moment of national self-determination.

Lecture presented during the 15th Annual Truman Library Teachers' Conference at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

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Michael S. Neiberg - Why the US Entered the First World War and Why it Matters

Mr. Neiberg's presentation to the National Security Seminar and the class of 2018 during their capstone week.
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America and the World War, 1914-1917 - Michael Neiberg

American entry into the Great War resulted from lengthy debate and soul-searching about national identity and the nation’s role on the world stage. This talk will track American responses to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915, and the debates about military preparedness in 1916. American views shifted as global events increasingly threatened national security. By April 1917 most Americans, including most of those who had opposed the war in 1914, had come to see belligerence as America’s only remaining option. Rather than seeing American entry into the war as an exceptional event, we need to understand it as fundamental to American history and America’s relationship to the world in the century since.

Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit
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Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of War, 1914 - Michael Neiberg

Michael Neiberg, US Army War College

The common explanation for the outbreak of World War I depicts Europe as a minefield of nationalism, needing only the slightest pressure to set off an explosion of passion that would rip the continent apart. This talk will present a crucial reexamination of the outbreak of violence in 1914. It will show that ordinary Europeans, unlike their political and military leaders, neither wanted nor expected war during that fateful summer. By training our eyes on the ways that people outside the halls of power reacted to the rapid onset and escalation of the fighting, this talk dispels the notion that Europeans were rabid nationalists intent on mass slaughter. It reveals instead a complex set of allegiances that cut across national boundaries.

Lecture presented during the 15th Annual Truman Library Teachers' Conference at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit
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Short Talks on Big Subjects - The Treaty of Versailles with Michael Neiberg

The Treaty of Versailles ended more than the First World War. By putting a final end to the German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman Empires it also raised questions about the future of the Jews who lived in those empires. I

n our continuing series, Short Talks on Big Subjects, Michael S. Neiberg, author of The Treaty of Versailles: A Very Short Introduction, discussed the watershed events of 1916-1919 and their connection to the Jewish people today.

Presented by: Center for Jewish History, Leo Baeck Institute & Oxford University Press

How the U.S. Army Won World War I - Geoffrey Wawro

The Allies were on the brink of defeat in 1917. Russia and Italy were beaten, and the French and British reverses on the Chemin des Dames and Passchendaele led to the French army mutiny—never entirely solved—and a British manpower crisis as extreme as the French. Had the U.S. not intervened in 1917, the Germans might not have launched their 1918 offensives on the Western Front. They would have forced the Allies to attack the Hindenburg Line and exhaust the last of their manpower or accept German annexation of Belgium and northern France. However, with the Americans coming in force in 1918, the Germans had to attack. They nearly broke through to Calais and Paris. It was the Americans who saved the crumbling French army in the Second Battle of the Marne, and it was the Americans who delivered the decisive blow that won the war: the offensives at Saint-Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne, which cut the principal German line of supply and retreat and forced Hindenburg's surrender in November 1918.

Dr. Geoffrey Wawro, Professor of History and Director of the Military History Center at the University of North Texas

Lecture given as part of the National WWI Museum and Memorial's 2018 Symposium, 1918: Crucible of War.

Symposium presenting sponsor: Pritzker Military Museum & Library -

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The Outbreak of War in 1914: A New Look at an Old Problem - Michael Neiberg

Michael Neiberg was a featured speaker at A Century in the Shadow of the Great War, an International Centennial Planning Conference held at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City in March 2013.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

New Thinking on the Origins of World War I

This summer marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I, perhaps the most transformative war in history. While the wars of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars harnessed national populations to the war effort in a way not previously seen since the emergence of the modern states system, WWI combined the mobilization of both populations and industrial power, enhanced by technology, to produce a most lethal form of warfare. WWI also redrew the map of Europe and created the modern Middle East, as it led to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Ottoman Empire, thereby unleashing nationalism the disruptive characteristics of which still plague us today. It also paved the way for the great ideological conflicts of the 20th century by unleashing the forces of state-based communism and fascism. To commemorate the outbreak of The Great War, FPRI and ROA will present a workshop offering presentations by three eminent scholars of the war. Michael Neiberg of the US Army War College will discuss the factors that led to the outbreak of the war. John Schindler of the US Naval War College will discuss the often overlooked role of Austria-Hungary in the war and the Eastern and Italian fronts. Kate Epstein of Rutgers University-Camden will discuss the role of pre-war British defense policy in the outbreak of the conflict. Mac Owens, editor of Orbis and professor at the Naval War College, will moderate the panel.

American Intervention and World Politics: War and Diplomacy in 1917 - David Stevenson

This presentation will re-assess the Wilson administration’s plans for America’s war effort, and how those plans expanded between April 1917 and Jan. 1918. Naval, military, economic, and diplomatic aspects will all receive attention, as will the impact of American intervention on the Allies and the Central Powers.

David Stevenson, Professor of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Path to War: U.S. Entry into World War I

On Wednesday, 24 May 2017, the OSD Historical Office hosted a Speaker Series event featuring Dr. Michael Neiberg. He spoke

on Path to War: U.S. Entry into World War I.
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Lessons from the Paris Peace Conference - Michael Neiberg

“To bed, sick of life.” With these words, British diplomat Harold Nicolson ended the diary he kept at the Paris Peace Conference. This lecture will provide an introduction to the problems that Nicolson and many others saw in the Treaty of Versailles. Most people came away disillusioned, convinced that the treaty did not do enough to justify the sacrifices of the war or set a foundation for a future of peace. What lessons can we learn from the conference and the peace treaties it produced?

Presented during Modern Foundations: The Treaty of Versailles and American Philanthropy, a WWI Centennial Symposium at the Palace of Versailles on June 28, 2019.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

America and the Unintended Consequences of War - Michael Neiberg

Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the United States Army War College

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Lecture: The End of World War 1

Paul Kelly delivers the Sir Herman Black Lecture - The End of World War 1 at the RUSI of NSW 11 December 2018

Harmon Lecture - Michael S. Neiberg

American Jews in WWI - Michael Neiberg

When the war began, most American Jews supported the Central Powers, but would later side with the British and French. Join WWI scholar, Michael Neiberg, as he traces the evolution of American Jewish thought from 1914 to 1917 and shows how events in Europe and the U.S. led American Jews to support America’s entry into the war.

Presented in conjunction with the centennial exhibition, For Liberty: American Jewish Experience in WWI.

Presented in partnership with National Archives at Kansas City, Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and Truman Library Institute.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit
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Outbreak of War in 1914: A New Look at an Old Problem by Dr. Michael S. Neiberg

The First World War set in motion the train of events that gave us fascism, World War II, genocide, the Cold War, and the modern Middle East. Most also know that the war supposedly started when the assassination of an Austrian archduke unleashed the nationalist hatreds that dominated the European continent. Almost one hundred years after the start of the war, this explanation is no longer sufficient. To understand why this most important of all wars began, we must get beyond the simple, yet incorrect, views of Europe that have dominated this discussion for a century. Dr. Neiberg provides a more accurate picture of Europe and the impact of the events of 1914 presenting the context of the First World War in all its complexity.

Length: 75 Minutes

Lecture Date: December 15, 2010

In Conversation: Jay Winter, John Milton Cooper and Michael Neiberg

Noted Great War historians Jay Winter, the Charles J. Stille Professor of History at Yale and editor of the recently published three-volume “Cambridge History of the First World War” and John Milton Cooper, Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, examine the lessons we can learn from the Great War. The discussion is moderated by award-winning author and U.S. Army War College professor Michael Neiberg.

Recorded November 8, 2014 in J.C. Nichols Auditorium at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

The Outbreak of War in 1914: New Ways to Think About the 'Road to War' - Michael Neiberg

Dr. Michael Neiberg, historian and author of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of War in 1914, discusses a more nuanced approach to thinking about the road to war, moving beyond the traditional explanation of MAIN (Militarism, Alliances, Imperialism, and Nationalism).

Presented at the World War I Historical Association Symposium, The Coming of the Great War, November 8-9, 2013.

Recorded November 8, 2013 in J.C. Nichols Auditorium at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Dr Michael Neiberg Lecture Part 1

Dr. Michael Neiberg's (Professor of History in the Department of National Security Studies at the US Army War College) Lecture The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America Part 1. Given on February 11, 2017 at the East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville, TN.

Dr Michael Neiberg Lecture Part 2

Dr. Michael Neiberg's (Professor of History in the Department of National Security Studies at the US Army War College) Lecture The Path to War: How the First World War Created Modern America Part 2. Given on February 11, 2017 at the East Tennessee Historical Society, Knoxville, TN.

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