Chapter Two. The War Explained: 1914 to the Present

  1. John Horne Professor member
  1. John F. V. Keiger Professor Director

Published Online: 19 MAR 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444323634.ch2

A Companion to World War I

A Companion to World War I

How to Cite

Keiger, J. F. V. (2010) The War Explained: 1914 to the Present, in A Companion to World War I (ed J. Horne), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444323634.ch2

Editor Information

  1. Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

Author Information

  1. University of Salford, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2010
  2. Published Print: 23 APR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405123860

Online ISBN: 9781444323634



  • the war explained, 1914 to the present;
  • World War I, studying the causes and the need for explanation;
  • structuralist and intentionalist causes - The war's outbreak, finding favor with policy makers as a counter-model;
  • origins of first World War - structural versus individual cause analysis;
  • Origin of Species - natural selection and survival of the fittest;
  • systemic causes - systemic explanations on causality, from workings of international system;
  • politics of the war guilt question -history written by victors;
  • imperialism, highest stage of capitalism - ideological support for pragmatic approach to interpretation of World War I


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Why Study the Causes?

  • Structuralist versus Intentionalist Causes

  • Systemic Causes

  • The Politics of the War Guilt Question

  • References and Further Reading