The first world war was anything but inevitable. As we approach the centennial of the start of that unspeakably horrible bloodbath, there’s a new book by author Jack Beatty called 1914; Reconsidering the Year the Great War Began. How much of the war was a convenient way of avoiding class struggle in Germany and England? Might the war have been stopped had an angry wife’s bullet missed it’s mark, the editor of a newspaper? Would the war have ended much sooner had the US not entered? And why was the monarch of Austria-Hungary thrilled that his nephew Franz Ferdinand was assassinated? So much more. History still turns on a dime.

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