Adam Smith17.42, Spring 2004David Art
Preventing the First World War
The historical and political science communities have both shed light on the origins of theFirst World War; many papers and books have been published.
In this paper we will turn to thequestion of design. That is, now that we have a good understanding of the dynamics of WWI,how could they be manipulated to prevent it from occurring?
In the conclusion, we will havediscovered a host of manipulable causes, some of which are more important than others. Thesmaller points of interest include: publishing literature explaining specific dangers of the pre-WWI situation; and assassinating the members of the Black Hand who would otherwise kill theAustrian archduke and spawn the July crisis.
The most critical actions to take are: changing the“cult of the offensive” paradigm of many European countries’ populations; and evoking the samechange in the European leaderships, probably using assassination instead of relying ontransformation.We will step through these manipulable causes, and address how each can be manipulatedas well as what effects those manipulations should have.
Addressing National Misperceptions and Blunders
The single work which will be referenced the most is
Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War
, anInternational Security Reader which is composed of papers representing a diverse sampling of perspectives. We willrefer to this work as
throughout the footnotes.
There is a slight technicality here. If we just wanted to prevent this specific war from happening, i.e. a war spawned from the July crisis of 1914, there are very simple ways that this could be done. On the contrary, in this paper we are interested in preventing the main causes of the war from developing, hopefully preventing anyEuropean war around that time period.
As outlined in footnote2, if we are successful, preventing the archduke’s assassination shouldn’t be necessary. Onthe other hand, we include it for thoroughness.