Helmuth von Moltke and the Origins of the First World War
By Annika Mombauer
Reviewed by Daniel Hindes
Explanations for the start of the First World War fall primarily into three categories. Fault is assigned either to the Germans, the English, or to everybody. The heart of the case against the Germans is that they clearly wanted a war and conducted their diplomacy accordingly. The case against England is built around evidence that the British Empire intentionally provoked Germany. And the case for blaming all sides incorporates the above facts and more. Frequently the view you find correct depends on national background, with the Allies blaming Germany exclusively, which is easy enough to do. Germans frequently point out the central role England played, especially in not de-escalating. And sober heads everywhere can see how it is possible that both views contain elements of the truth.
So some people are still asking what’s the big deal about Flynn talking to the Russians after the election but before the inauguration. There are essentially three reasons why this matters. The first is the “one President at a time” norm that has been broadly observed up until now. The second is that it was not cleared. And the third is that it could indicated the Flynn – and possibly others – have been compromised. We need a full investigation.