Folly And Malice: The Habsburg Empire, The Balkans And The Start Of World War One by John ZameticaFolly And Malice: The Habsburg Empire, The Balkans And The Start Of World War One by John Zametica

Folly And Malice: The Habsburg Empire, The Balkans And The Start Of World War One

byJohn Zametica

Hardcover | September 1, 2017

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Examining the origins of the First World War has been called "the ultimate who dunnit". In his book, published on the anniversary of the assassination said to have triggered it, John Zametica, focusing on the Habsburg Empire and the Balkans, re-examines the evidence. This leads to a number of radical new interpretations and some remarkable revelations about the events that in 1914 led to the outbreak of the First World War.
The centenary of WW1 has spawned many new books on the subject. Utilizing a wide range of Serbo-Croat and German-language sources, the author overturns most of what we have been led to believe about the respective culpability of Austria-Hungary and Serbia for the outbreak of war. He also re-examines the role of Russia and Germany in this. The reader is left to conclude that Britain was drawn reluctantly into the war in defence of two small countries, one on each side of Europe, which had been attacked simultaneously by Austria-Hungary and Germany without provocation.
In Folly and Malice John Zametica reveals that: 
• The First World War was kick-started by an ailing Austria-Hungary which believed that waging a successful war was the only way it could remain a Great Power; 
• This empire, with its eleven squabbling nations, and with its statesmen unwilling to contem-plate any meaningful internal reform, was the real powder keg of Europe; 
• Franz Ferdinand, the Austro-Hungarian Heir to the Throne normally portrayed as a likely enlightened reformer of the Empire, was actually seeking to destroy the Dualist political compromise between Austria and Hungary and replace it with his own centralist autocracy;
• Serious antagonism between the Austria-Hungary and Serbia really only began as late as 1906 and had on the whole almost nothing to do with the supposedly crucial ‘South Slav’ question; 
• Gavrilo Princip, Franz Ferdinand´s assassin, was impelled to do his deed by a Yugoslav ideology conceived and propagated from within Habsburg Croatia, not independent Serbia;
• The notorious Black Hand, the secret Serbian officers’ organisation, far from planning to assassinate Franz Ferdinand during his visit to Bosnia, was in May-June 1914 busy plotting to overthrow civilian rule in Serbia and replace it with a military-led dictatorship;
• The famous Serbian warning to Vienna, intended to thwart Franz Ferdinand´s assassination, was the work of Lieutenant-Colonel Apis, the leader of the Black Hand;
• In July 1914, Vienna also wanted its ‘good’ war against Serbia so as to dislodge Russia from the Balkans and thus secure complete regional hegemony for itself. Germany, harbouring ambitions for continental supremacy, approved and encouraged Austria-Hungary´s Balkan adventure. Both powers consciously risked the probability of a wider international conflict.
Widely divergent interpretations characterize the ongoing debate about the circumstances which led to the outbreak of the First World War. John Zametica's work stands out because he has been able to resolve questions that have successfully eluded generations of his predecessors. 
He takes a close look at the Balkan policies pursued by Austria-Hungary after it occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1878, examining the Habsburg plans for internal reform of the Empire, plans so often attributed to Franz Ferdinand. Far from intending to reform his empire on the nationality principle, his plan was to establish a highly centralized state, and, rather than preserving the status quo, Vienna’s Balkan policies were aimed at achieving regional dominance by force. Bosnia-Herzegovina was never a major issue in relations between Vienna and Belgrade, and the so-called ‘existential South Slav threat’ allegedly posed by Serbia in fact originated in the Monarchy itself. Gavrilo Princip, the Archduke’s assassin, was a ‘Yugoslav’, not a Serbian nationalist, while the man universally assumed to have master-minded the Sarajevo assassination had, on the contrary, tried to stop it.
Utilizing a wide range of Serbo-Croat and German-language sources, the author presents a new picture of the events that led to the Archduke’s assassination. The impetus for the Great War was not so much a quarrel between Austria-Hungary and Serbia as a conscious, last-ditch attempt by the former to achieve, by force of arms, a consolidation of the Empire at home and Balkan domination abroad. In this, Vienna was supported by a Germany bidding for continental hegemony.
John Zametica is the editor of British Officials and British Foreign Policy, 1945-50 (Leicester University Press, 1990) and the author of The Yugoslav Conflict (Brassey´s, The International Institute for Strategic Studies, 1992). He lives and works in Vienna.
Title:Folly And Malice: The Habsburg Empire, The Balkans And The Start Of World War OneFormat:HardcoverDimensions:794 pages, 9.25 × 6.25 × 2.6 inPublished:September 1, 2017Publisher:Shepheard-WalwynLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0856835137

ISBN - 13:9780856835131

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Editorial Reviews

"A seminal work which forces readers to reflect further on issues they had thought settled...a powerfully argued work, whose conclusions will be carefully studied by historians for many years." —Prof. Vernon Bogdanor, International Affairs