The Initiation and Spread of the First World War: Interdependent Decisions

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Abstract

The ConflictSpace framework begins with the assumption that the factors leading a war to spread are different from the factors leading to the initiation of war. I argue that the presumed analytic separation of the initiation and spread of war is misleading because leaders' expectations of how a war might spread have a significant effect on their decisions to initiate war. I demonstrate this for the July 1914 crisis, and in the process I question Vasquez et al.'s argument that the key to the outbreak of the war lies in the Austro-Serbian relationship. I end by suggesting that the impact of the anticipated spread of war on the initiation of war probably varies across cases and constitutes an empirical question to investigate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalForeign Policy Analysis
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations

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