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Bad Conrad, Bad Bad Conrad

August 5, 2015



Not me.  Not today.  This guy.  Conrad von Hotzendorf, Austrian Chief of Staff in 1914.

This Conrad is one of those people who can be blamed for the outbreak of World War One – if you’re in the business of blaming individuals.  This Conrad actually wanted a war in 1914, although not the war he actually got.  Military historian John Keegan takes the view that Conrad functioned at a level of very precise and specifically disastrous bellicosity.  Conrad could either have been less bellicose and backed a less extreme Serbian ultimatum, or he could have immediately launched a punitive war against Serbia within a week or two of Arch Duke Ferdinand’s assassination, a war which the other powers might have deplored but might have ignored.  Instead, he was determined to fight Serbia, but not until the gruesome machinery of the European alliance system had kicked in.

Of course, there were larger…

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