April 16: Margaret MacMillan on the outbreak of World War I

The consequences of World War One were so momentous that it is sometimes assumed that there must be a single overarching explanation or a single culprit. The difficulty we have faced ever since the war ended is that historians cannot agree. Were the causes the alliances or the railway timetables? The German Chancellor or the Russian Tsar? In this presentation to the Washington History Seminar, Margaret Macmillan discussed the current state of the debate and suggested ways of considering the issue.

Margaret MacMillan is the Warden of St. Antony’s College and a Professor of International History at Oxford University. Her books include Women of the Raj (1988, 2007); Paris 1919 (2002); and Nixon and Mao (2007). Her most recent book is The Uses and Abuses of History (2009). She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

A webcast and podcast of this session are available at The Outbreak of World War I.