Allison And Tuchman's Strategic Factors And Causes Of World War I

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In Tuchman’s book, The Guns of August, she highlights Bismarck’s fateful prediction that “Some damned foolish thing in the Balkans” would be the requisite spark igniting the powder keg of tension between the major powers in Europe and Russia—a spark ultimately leading to an explosion we refer to today as “World War I.” This prescient forecast manifested itself as Gavrilo Princip’s trigger-pull on June 28, 1914, and the successful assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand fulfilled the requirement for ignition; however, it was only one event of many that led to the outbreak of hostilities. Allison and Zelikow highlight a deceptively simple analysis by Hans Morganthau, “The First World War had its origins ‘exclusively in the fear of a disturbance in the balance of power.’ ” The …show more content…
The truth with respect to the war’s genesis is far more complicated than states simply competing over territory in a realist paradigm. The strategic factors that best explain the outbreak of World War I (WWI) exist in layers within those states—the organizations and individuals within those organizations. These organizations and organizational actors operated with biases and agendas, and these factors were substantive to show the resultant effects and scale of WWI. Allison and Zelikow identify these factors as discrete models and subsets of rational behavior (Model 1), and they illuminate how organizational behavior (Model 2) and governmental politics (Model 3), including the individual actors therein, have tremendous explanatory power for world events. Therefore, the strategic factors that best explain the outbreak of WWI are: 1) organizations within participatory states in WWI generated strategic effects through their actions and also their inertia, 2) specific actors in those states played integral roles leading to the conflict, 3) there is a common theme of perception and misperceptions as a product of fear, honor, and bounded rational interest that led to the outbreak of

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