I meant to read this book in 2014, but may have gotten side-tracked with other books about WWI in that year...
I'll keep a running post for reading updates for this book as it will encompass too much information to deal with in one post and I would like to keep notes while reading - and I would like to keep the notes in one place.
Chapters 10 through 16 - ...
I haven't made notes on these chapters individually. They all describe further events in international politics that are fuelled by imperialism, nationalism, and the general ineptitude of various people in positions where diplomacy and circumspection are requirements which they all seem to be lacking and try to make up for with arrogance, nationalism, and ambition to put themselves on the map.
Aehrenthal recognised that there were risks in stirring up the Balkans. The international scene, he told Austria-Hungary’s Common Ministerial Council in the autumn of 1907, was generally good but there were trouble spots, such as the Balkans themselves or Morocco, and there were turbulent forces at large in the world. ‘The stage is set, the actors are ready, only the costumes are lacking for the play to begin. The second decade of the 20th century may well witness very grave events. In view of the combustible material about, they may come sooner.’32 In 1908 Aehrenthal came close to setting that material alight but luck was with him and the world for the time being.
Alois von Aehrenthal was Austria-Hungary's Foreign Minister, and it is actions and statements like the above that show how unsuitable he was for that positions. Many of his international counterparts seem to have been no better.
Seriously, these people were bat-shit crazy and it is scary and depressing to read, even more so when one considers how many "politicians" today lack the very qualities - knowledge, tact, circumspection, diplomacy, long-term planning - caused the infernal events of WWI and its consequences.
Previous updates are below the page break.