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Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies$
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Frank C. Zagare

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198831587

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198831587.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 July 2021

Explaining the 1914 War in Europe

Explaining the 1914 War in Europe

(p.99) 6 Explaining the 1914 War in Europe
Game Theory, Diplomatic History and Security Studies

Frank C. Zagare

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the outbreak of World War I, which remains one of the most perplexing events of international history. It should be no surprise that rationalist interpretations of the July Crisis are a diverse lot, ranging from the sinister to the benign. This chapter constructs a theoretically rigorous rationalist explanation of World War I, the 1914 European war that involved Austria–Hungary, Germany, Russia, and France. On the one hand, this chapter confirms the view that one does not have to take a particularly dark view of German intentions to explain the onset of war in 1914; on the other hand, it also calls into question the “accidental war” thesis. A number of related questions about the Great War are addressed in the context of a generic game-theoretic escalation model with incomplete information.

Keywords:   World War I, July Crisis, accidental war, escalation, Great War

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