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The Road to Hell? Intentions, Uncertainty and the Origins of World War I, Dr. Sebastian Rosato

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The Road to Hell? Intentions, Uncertainty and the Origins of World War I - Sebastian Rosato

A century after the outbreak of World War I, there is still little consensus on its causes. The lessons learned are of particular importance for the United States and the world today. University of Notre Dame Professor Sebastian Rosato specializes in the theory and history of great power politics and will question established explanations and develop new arguments about the causes of the Great War.

The event is part of the Hesburgh Lecture Series and is presented in partnership with the Notre Dame Club of Kansas City.

Recorded April 19, 2015 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
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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.
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13. The Origins of World War I

France Since 1871 (HIST 276)

The traditional, diplomatic history of World War I is helpful in understanding how a series of hitherto improbable alliances come to be formed in the early years of the twentieth century. In the case of France and Russia, this involves a significant ideological compromise. Along with the history of imperial machinations, however, World War I should be understood in the context of the popular imagination and the growth of nationalist sentiment in Europe.

00:00 - Chapter 1. Tangled Maps of Empire: Diplomatic Origins of the First World War
07:24 - Chapter 2. A Delicate Balances: The Shifting Alliances of the Great Powers
19:26 - Chapter 3. The British Empire on the World Stage: Capabilities on the Continent
32:29 - Chapter 4. Mounting Tensions in Alsace-Lorraine: The Saverne Crisis
40:14 - Chapter 5. War Expectations and Enthusiasm

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website:

This course was recorded in Fall 2007.
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Domination and Betrayal - WWI and the Modern World

The Great War signaled the terminal crisis of the European old regime–a crisis more than a century in the making. Pursuing the story of this crisis across themes of domination, integration and betrayal, UW History Professor Raymond Jonas considers the rivalries that underpinned the war and the bleak geopolitical thinking that informed them. Professor Jonas explores the political culture that obliterated tolerance for difference, finding the foundations of power in nation and race. Finally, he asks us to ponder the responsibilities of the powerful, viewed with the eyes of the young men they had persuaded to fight.

Raymond Jonas
UW Professor of History
11/5/14
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Verdun: The Bleeding of Nations - Richard S. Faulkner

Dr. Richard S. Faulkner joins The National World War I Museum and Memorial to discuss the Battle of Verdun

For more information regarding Then National World War I Museum and Memorial visit

The War of 1914: An Avoidable Catastrophe - Sean McMeekin

Sean McMeekin is Professor of History at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

Rejecting earlier accounts of the outbreak of World War I, which emphasized structural factors or German ‘premeditation,’ McMeekin proposes instead a series of contingent occurrences stretching from the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28 to the British ultimatum to Berlin on Aug. 4, 1914. Far from fated by the alliance system or the arms race, the war of 1914 was an eminently avoidable catastrophe brought on by the opportunistic scheming by a small handful of statesmen, often driven as much by personal complexes and rivalries as by compelling reasons of state. Though aware, in some sense, of the risks they were running, none of the men responsible could have imagined the scale of the human catastrophe they were about to unleash.

Presented November 7, 2014 as part of the National World War I Museum and United States World War I Centennial Commission 2014 Symposium, 1914: Global War & American Neutrality.

The Symposium was held in association with The Western Front Association East Coast Branch and the World War I Historical Association. Sponsored by Colonel J's, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and Verlag Militaria.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Pershing Lecture Series: The AEF in Battle: September to November 1918 - Richard S. Faulkner

Join award-winning historian Richard S. Faulkner for a discussion of how pivotal engagements, including the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, shaped the outcome of the war. Take an in-depth look at the actions of this crucial time and explore the enduring impact of the year of the Armistice.

This lecture is part of the John J. Pershing Great War Centennial Series presented in partnership with the Command and General Staff College Foundation.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

The Guns of Autumn: World War I on the Eastern Front - Dennis Showalter

Dennis Showalter is Professor of History at Colorado College, where he has taught since 1969. He is past President of the Society for Military History, Joint Editor of War in History and has held visiting appointments at the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy. He specializes in modern military history.

The centennial of the Great War has inspired a predictable abundance of conferences, books, articles and speeches. Most are built on a familiar meme: soldiers and societies as victims of flawed intentions and defective methods, which in turn reflected inability or unwillingness to adapt to the spectrum of innovations, material, both intellectual and emotional, that made the Great War the first modern conflict. That perspective is reinforced by the war’s rechristening, backlit by a later and greater struggle, as World War I, which confers a preliminary, test-bed status. In point of fact, the defining aspect of World War I is its semi-modern character. The “classic” Great War, the war of myth, memory and image, could be waged only in a limited area: a narrow belt in Western Europe. War waged outside of the northwest European quadrilateral tended quite rapidly to follow a pattern of de-modernization. Peacetime armies and their cadres melted away in combat, were submerged by repeated infusions of unprepared conscripts, saw their support systems melt irretrievably away and saw their public and political support erode to critical points. Those developments began with the first salvoes of the Guns of August and, arguably, even earlier. This session examines and analyzes the processes that defined and shaped the Great War on the Eastern Front and heralded the disappearance of three empires.

Presented November 7, 2014 as part of the National World War I Museum and United States World War I Centennial Commission 2014 Symposium, 1914: Global War & American Neutrality.

The Symposium was held in association with The Western Front Association East Coast Branch and the World War I Historical Association. Sponsored by Colonel J's, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and Verlag Militaria.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Ottoman Entry into WWI: Politics, Nationalism and Diplomacy - Lisa Adeli

Lisa Adeli, the National Council for Social Studies 2012 Global Education award recipient, develops programs for the University of Arizona Center for Middle Eastern Studies, primarily for K-12 students and for educators. Adeli specializes in Ottoman and Balkan history with a special interest in World War I, with academic degrees from Georgetown, Indiana University and the University of Arizona.

When the Great War erupted, the Ottoman Empire was already depleted from years of conflict in the Balkans and elsewhere. Why, then, were the Ottomans so quick to join the Central Powers in early November 1914? The immediate answers involve internal Ottoman politics and a struggle for dominance within the Young Turk ruling elite. This presentation examines the Ottoman decision within the broader context of European relations and the challenges caused by the rise of competing forms of nationalism within the Empire, issues which shape the history of the Middle East throughout the war and the century that followed.

Presented November 7, 2014 as part of the National World War I Museum and United States World War I Centennial Commission 2014 Symposium, 1914: Global War & American Neutrality.

The Symposium was held in association with The Western Front Association East Coast Branch and the World War I Historical Association. Sponsored by Colonel J's, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and Verlag Militaria.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

The Forgotten Realm on the Eve of the Great War: Austria-Hungary in July 1914 - John Deak

Dr. John Deak, University of Notre Dame, discusses the Austro-Hungarian Empire during July of 1914, challenging traditional concepts of Austria-Hungary's doomed existence and the conglomerate state's complex position in Eastern Europe.

The lecture is part of the Hesburgh Lecture Series and is presented in partnership with the Notre Dame Club of Kansas City.

Recorded April 13, 2014 in J.C. Nichols Auditorium at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit
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British Naval Strategy in the First Months of the Great War - Phillip Pattee

Phillip Pattee, PhD in Military and Diplomatic History (Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa.) is a retired U.S. Navy Commander, currently serving as an associate professor in the Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

Dr. Pattee looks at how British naval strategy handled fleet dispositions, technology and tactics, control and intelligence, enemy objectives and capabilities, the nature of the war and what is to be achieved, during the first months of World War I and how British and associated Allied strategy defeated that of the Central naval powers.

Presented November 8, 2014 as part of the National World War I Museum and United States World War I Centennial Commission 2014 Symposium, 1914: Global War & American Neutrality.

The Symposium was held in association with The Western Front Association East Coast Branch and the World War I Historical Association. Sponsored by Colonel J's, the Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund and Verlag Militaria.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Sean McMeekin | July 1914: Countdown to War - January 29, 2014

In a discussion of his new book, historian Sean McMeekin reveals how a small cabal of European statesmen used the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand to initiate a long-awaited showdown among the Continent's powers, ultimately leading to the start of World War I.

The Great WWI Controversy: Who Was to Blame? A Panel Discussion on the Centennial

The origins of the First World War have aroused deep controversy for decades. On the centennial of the war, there is renewed interest in revisiting its origins. Was Germany to blame? Did Europe’s statesmen sleepwalk to war? In this panel discussion, leading historians and IR experts will weigh in on the debate and offer lessons for avoiding another great power conflict.

Graham Allison: Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Douglas Dillon Professor of Government, Harvard Kennedy School
Peter Gourevitch: Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
Charles S. Maier: Leverett Saltonstall Professor of History, Harvard University
Thomas Weber: Professor of History and International Affairs, University of Aberdeen; Visiting Scholar, CES
Chaired by: Alison Frank Johnson: Professor of History, Harvard University

Monday, Nov 24th, 2014

D-Day: The Greatest Generation Remembers WWII - Dr. Mark DePue

6/27/19

Dr. Mark DePue discusses D-day, at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum's Union Theater.

Oral History Website:


D-Day Video From 2019 WWII exhibit at ALPLM:


ALPLM Website:


Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation:


Twitter @ALPLM
Facebook: /Lincoln.Museum
Instagram: LincolnMuseum

The Great War's Forgotten Realm: Revisiting The Habsburg Monarchy's First World War

On September 11, 2014, John Deak (Notre Dame) gave a talk at the London Global Gateway based on his specialty, and the topic of his forthcoming book, the Habsburg Empire.
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Ever Present Danger: Churchill, the Rise of German Power & the Outbreak of the First World War

Dr. John Maurer, United States Naval War College, presents, Ever Present Danger: Winston Churchill, the Rise of German Power, and the Outbreak of the First World War. Presented at the National World War I Museum, in cooperation with The Churchill Centre.

Recorded October 9, 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

Christopher Clark, France and the Origins of the Great War

H-France Salon, Volume 6, Issue 13
Society for French Historical Studies
Plenary Session
26 April 2014

Germany and the Outbreak of WWI Reconsidered - Michael Epkenhans

Dr. Michael Epkenhans, professor and Director of Historical Research at the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces at Potsdam, presents, Germany and the Outbreak of WWI Reconsidered.

Presented July 27, 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 Intelligence Legacy of WWI

Society for Military History 2014 Conference at the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

Perspectives on American Entry into World War I

On Tuesday, 25 April 2017, the Historical Office hosted a Speaker Series panel featuring Dr. Thomas Boghardt; Dr. Robert Doughty; and Dr. Jennifer Keene. They spoke on Perspectives on American Entry into World War I.

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