The Origins of the World War

In This Review

The Origins of the World War

By Sidney B. Fay
Macmillan, 1928
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The publication of this work may be called an event of note, for Professor Fay's book easily supersedes all previous treatments of the subject. It is neither a restatement of the outworn Allied arguments in regard to the origins of the war nor a new presentation of the so-called revisionist view. In other words, the book has no place in the controversial literature of the subject, but belongs to the province of serious scientific history. The mass of material in all languages upon which the author bases his account is truly staggering, but the great deluge of new evidence has pretty well come to a close and it is unlikely that his main conclusions will be called seriously into question. The work is divided into two parts, the one dealing with the period prior to July 1914 and the other with the crisis of that fatal year. In the first volume many obscure points have been investigated and elucidated. Among the most important of these may be mentioned the problem of the Anglo-French military conversations and the question of English obligations to France, as well as the all-important matter of Russia's policy in the Straits question and the general evolution of the Near Eastern problem in the years just preceding the crisis. The volume dealing with the July crisis is less novel than the first, for the subject has been handled by many writers and most of what can be said has been said in one place or another. Still, this part too is impressive for its cogency of argument. All in all, this is and will probably remain for some time the book on the subject.