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Featured Expert : World War I

Williamson’s expertise is on modern Europe, particularly German cultural and intellectual history. His research interests also include religious history and other aspects of European history from 1750 to present. He is an award-winning author with work published in the Journal of Modern History and the “Oxford Handbook of Modern German History.”

“One hundred years after the outbreak of World War I, debates concerning the causes of the war and the broader issue of “war guilt” still have the potential to inflame passions among scholars and politicians in Europe and elsewhere,” Williamson said. “While some commentators focus on the aggressive posture of Kaiser Wilhelm II and the German Empire, others highlight the willingness of Austria-Hungary to go to war. Still others point a finger at Serbia, whose government knew of the plan to assassinate the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and Russia, whose military support for Serbia ensured that the conflict would spread beyond the Balkans. Meanwhile, other historians focus on such systemic issues as imperialism, the pre-war arms race and the rise of militarism and navalism, all of which ensured that the major powers of Europe embraced war in 1914 as a necessary and even salutary development.”

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