"THE FIRST World War, it came and it went, the reasons for fighting I never did get," sang Bob Dylan on 'With God On Our Side', and unlike WWI, the Great War's causes are complex and not straightforward.
A mixture of growing, unchecked, imperial power; competition for European dominance among its most powerful states; an arms race among the great powers; and German ambitions to rival Britain and France, are generally seen as the causes which would eventually result in the deaths of 40 million people.
The causes of WWI will be examined in a public lecture from the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, provocatively titled, The Great War Was Entirely England’s Fault, to be delivered by Eugene Jordan, president of GAHS, on Monday December 10 at the Harbour Hotel.
According to Mr Jordan, 'official' explanations of the causes of the war "bear little resemblance to what actually happened". Speaking in advance of the talk, he said: "Some scholars have been particularly brave in challenging the conventional view, like British historian Prof Niall Ferguson," he said. "The publisher’s summary of his book states, 'The Pity of War makes a simple and provocative argument: the human atrocity known as the Great War was entirely England’s fault.' Challenging convention is an endeavour fraught with danger as English historian Dan Snow can attest due to receiving hate mail for arguing that glorifying the "awfulness and tragedy" of WWI belittles the service of every British soldier.
The talk will present evidence from military planning, diplomatic communications, and a look at the behaviour and actions of the doves, hawks, and waverers which contributed to the outbreak of the war. It will also look at what evidence Prof Ferguson used to support his claims.
Admission is free and all are welcome.