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2014 marks the centenary, or 100th anniversary, of the First World War. A slew of new books and other materials have been released to commemorate and analyze the tragic events of the war. WWI was a global war centered in Europe. More than 9 million combatants were killed; a casualty rate exacerbated by the belligerents' technological and industrial sophistication, and tactical stalemate. It was the fifth-deadliest conflict in world history, paving the way for major political changes, including revolutions in many of the nations involved. By the end of the war, four major imperial powers—the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires—ceased to exist.


The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914

by Clark, Christopher M

The Sleepwalkers reveals in gripping detail how the crisis leading to World War I unfolded. Drawing on fresh sources, it traces the paths to war in a minute-by-minute, action-packed narrative that cuts among the key decision centers in Vienna, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Paris, London, and Belgrade. Distinguished historian Christopher Clark examines the decades of history that informed the events of 1914 and details the mutual misunderstandings and unintended signals that drove the crisis forward in a few short weeks.


Catastrophe 1914: Europe Goes to War

By Hastings, Max

From the acclaimed military historian, a new history of the outbreak of World War I: the dramatic stretch from the breakdown of diplomacy to the battles--the Marne, Ypres--that marked the frenzied first year before the war bogged down in the trenches. Max Hastings gives us a conflict different from the familiar one of barbed wire, mud and futility. He traces the path to war, making clear why Germany and Austria-Hungary were primarily to blame, and describes the gripping first clashes in the West, where the French army marched into action in uniforms of red and blue with flags flying and bands playing.  This is a vivid new portrait of how a continent became embroiled in war and what befell millions of men and women in a conflict that would change everything.


July 1914: Countdown to War

by McMeekin, Sean

When a Serbian-backed assassin gunned down Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914, the world seemed unmoved. Even Ferdinand's own uncle, Franz Josef I, was notably ambivalent about the death of the Hapsburg heir, saying simply, "It is God's will." Certainly, there was nothing to suggest that the episode would lead to conflict-much less a world war of such massive and horrific proportions that it would fundamentally reshape the course of human events. As acclaimed historian Sean McMeekin reveals in July 1914, World War I might have been avoided entirely had it not been for a small group of statesmen who, in the month after the assassination, plotted to use Ferdinand's murder as the trigger for a long-awaited showdown in Europe.


The War that Ended Peace: The Road to 1914

by Macmillan, Margaret

Presents a narrative portrait of Europe in the years leading up to World War I that illuminates the political, cultural, and economic factors and contributing personalities that shaped major events.




World War 1: The Great War

A collection of documentary programs detailing the military history of what became known as "the war to end all swars."

World War 1 in Color

The definitive history of the first World War seen now for the first time in color and narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It uses rare archive footage from worldwide sources including Britain's Imperial War Museum.