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| | | |-+  Thomas Laqueur - Some Damn Foolish Thing (LRB)
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Author Topic: Thomas Laqueur - Some Damn Foolish Thing (LRB)  (Read 1182 times)
Tetro Kornbluth
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« on: December 01, 2013, 10:00:25 am »

Very good review of a recent book on the origins of the First World War by Thomas Laqueur in this month's LRB here

Favourite paragraph (I'm very predictable, amn't I?)
Quote
But even to speak in this way is to assume that particular politicians or rulers spoke for their nations, that there were such entities as ‘France’ or ‘Germany’ or ‘Russia’ that made decisions about matters of life and death. This misses the terrifying truth that it was an illusion that those who made or executed foreign policy spoke for the nation or even for the governing classes. The executive power in Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary was an emperor who, in the imagination of many, spoke for his subjects as well as for the state, but in fact spoke for god knows whom, and not even consistently for himself – the kaiser for one was notoriously mercurial and unconstrained. Information flowed or failed to flow without oversight or order between ambassadors, staff and ministers; it was unclear, organisationally and constitutionally, who had decision rights. No one knew for whom the press in each country spoke or how susceptible individual policy-makers were to its pressures. Some of these difficulties obtain in high-level decision-making today, but Clark shows that matters were far worse in 1914 and that the uncertainty engendered by this cacophony of voices had a great deal to do with the way people responded to 28 June.
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minionofmidas - supplemental forum account
Lewis Trondheim
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2013, 10:11:35 am »

That is in fact quite true.
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Tetro Kornbluth
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2013, 04:26:10 pm »

Found this in the University library and read about 100 pages of it. Very good so far.
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