ABSTRACT

World War I was selected as a case study for three principal reasons. First, it is the cornerstone case for the offense dominance argument, particularly the ‘cult of the offensive’ variant that was developed to explain the outbreak of this war.2 Second, World War I is also a strong case for the alliance argument, given the attention paid by both historians and contemporaries to the roles of the alliance blocs in spreading the conflict. Third, while World War I provides a good case for these two opposing arguments, it is problematic for the war widening argument presented in this thesis, because it occurred at a time when the theory predicts that one of the principal causes for war widening, predation, should not be present and that war widening in general, therefore, should have been less likely.