To Arms is Hew Strachan's most complete and definitive study of the opening of the First World War. Now, key sections from this magisterial work are published as individual paperbacks, each complete in itself, and with a new introduction by the author. Ever since its outbreak in 1914, the causes of the First World War have been one of the major debates in world history. For some it was a war engineered by Germany, and a pointer towards Hitler. For others it was the product of miscalculation - a verdict whose poignancy is heightened by theknowledge of what followed. The Outbreak of the First World War eschews either extreme. Instead, the first half of this book approaches the issues from the perspectives of those who grappled with conflicting priorities and vital national interests. The second considers the responses of their peoplesand the so-called 'ideas of 1914'. This was the crisis which, more than any other, shaped the twentieth century.