Magazine article New Internationalist

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!

Magazine article New Internationalist

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives!

Article excerpt

Archduke Franz Ferdinand Lives! by Richard Ned Lebow (Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN 978113727853)

The premise of Richard Ned Lebow's book is a simple yet intriguing one. How would our present world be different if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had not been assassinated and the great powers had avoided the First World War? He begins by sketching out the causal chain which led to war and shows how quite small changes could have led to radically different outcomes. Subsequent chapters are devoted to laying out in detail what he calls the best and worst plausible worlds that could have sprung from an absence of war.

Lebow's 'counterfactual' worlds are fascinating and he paints vivid portraits of alternative realities in which neither Israel nor the Soviet Union come into being, Winston Churchill does not become British Prime Minister, John F Kennedy is not elected US President and - in the worst- case scenario - a Cold War between Britain and Germany tips into nuclear war. …

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