History, it is oftentimes said, is just one damned thing after another. Generally speaking, highly skilled diplomatic historians and security studies specialists have performed the task of describing each of these “things” with great acumen. Trachtenberg (1990/1991: 136), for example, convincingly and insightfully shows that the sudden change in German foreign policy on the eve of World War I was precipitated by Russia’s partial mobilization and not, as is oftentimes argued, by a warning in Berlin by the German ambassador in London that Great Britain was unlikely to stand aside in any war that involved France....
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