The History of Twelve Days, July 24th to August 4th, 1914: Being an Account of the Negotiations Preceding the Outbreak of War Based on the Official Publications

The History of Twelve Days, July 24th to August 4th, 1914: Being an Account of the Negotiations Preceding the Outbreak of War Based on the Official Publications

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The History of Twelve Days, July 24th to August 4th, 1914: Being an Account of the Negotiations Preceding the Outbreak of War Based on the Official Publications

The History of Twelve Days, July 24th to August 4th, 1914: Being an Account of the Negotiations Preceding the Outbreak of War Based on the Official Publications

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The following work is an attempt to analyse and explain in detail the events which immediately preceded, and were the cause of, the present war, I began it for my own satisfaction, and it is now published in the hope that it may be found useful by others who desire to master the contents of the diplomatic correspondence to which it is intended to serve as a guide.

After some consideration I found it necessary to place the examination in the form of a narrative; in this way alone was it possible to make clear the precise circumstances in which each document was written. The telegrams and despatches with which we have to deal are not abstract statements of political principles composed at leisure; each of them is an action; it represents a decision which was taken under urgent pressure, and was part of a continued course of action; its full significance can only be understood if we ourselves in imagination follow the course of events, day by day and hour by hour, so as to be able to put ourselves at each moment in the position of the actors.

To do this is not easy; quite apart from the general difficulties which are found in all historical narrative it in very difficult to determine on each occasion what information was at the disposal of the Ministers of the different countries. They had to deal with a situation which was not as clear to them as it is to us now. In many cases they could only guess at the motives and objects of the others; they were like a general who could not see what was going on at the other side of the hill.

When the information is full and detailed, as it is from London and Paris, these difficulties can to a great extent be overcome. Especially in the case of Great Britain the documents are so full that we can form a very fairly complete . . .

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