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tv   Q A  CSPAN  December 15, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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next on c-span, q&a with margaret mcmillen talking about her first book on the first world war. and david cameron taking the questions from the house of common sense, later a question about trade agreements and presidential authority. >> margaret mcmillen, the author of "the war that ended peace.
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i'm going talk about june 28, 1914. what happened? >> the arch duke france of ferdinand and his wife were in hungary on a tour. it was a bad day because it was a big serbian national holiday because the serbs celebrate. serbia, the neighboring country was furious who had taken over bosnia. the plotters plotting to try to build a greater serbia, the doournlg is one of the symbols of the serbian and other slavic people in austria and hungary, they decided to kill him. they did. it was sloppy policework. they shot them point blank and both died. >> put these two people in context. what's an arch duke? >> it's one of the titles given to the royal family of those who
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ruled over austria and hungary. it stretched to the balkans. he was the heir to the huge umpire, his uncle, the emperor was getting old. likely that he was going inherit soon. his wife was a con tess, and this caused trouble because she wasn't seen as grand enough to marry a happensburg. she was allowed to marry him but the children would never be allowed to inherit and she wasn't given the honors as an arch duchess. they both died together. >> put a picture on the screen of the man who killed the two people. how do you pronounce his name? >> who is he? >> he's a young boy from the country bosnia. passionate nationalist.
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i think we see him in a number of countries today who had come out of rural societies. come out of the cities, the whole area unsettling for him. he had become a nationalist committed to building a greater serbia. he was ring leader of a plot to assassinate the arch duke. in the end, he was the man to pull the trigger. >> any idea how old he was? >> 17. >> since he was underage, they couldn't execute him. there are laws that said they couldn't. they obeyed them. he died in 1918 of tuberculosis, unrepenitent to the end. >> how did he care them? >> several plotters throughout sarajevo. one held the bomb. it had missed and badly shaken everyone. the remaining ceremonies were rushed through. then they decided to get him out as quick as possible.
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they drove in a cavalcade around a street that runs through the river and they took a wrong turning. and the arch duke is starting to follow. someone said, goent there, i want's the wrong turn. they stopped and he was waiting there with the gun on his hand, he stepped up on the running board of the open car and shot them point blank. >> seven men involved in this? >> several around sarajevo. bomb, pistols, and they had cyanide capsules they would take if they were caught. they remind me of terrorists today. they would have an anihilistic view, they were determined to kill in a spectacular way. they were like suicide bombers in a way. >> why did this lead to the start of world war i? >> it was one of the incidents that set off a chain reaction. an excuse austria hungary had been waiting for.
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from their point of view, serbia was a menace. it was a menace to the very survival of austria and hungary. it was a great national empire. already, the nationalities were getting restless. among the subjects were a number of people that included serbs, soviets, and croats. serbia was training itself and successfully acting as a magnet. was stirring them up with getting training in military tactics and so on, saying to them in austria and hungary, leave the prison that you're in and come and join us. they feared if this happened, if the south france would move away, the other nationalities were asking for the same thing. they were having trouble with the poles in the north, the czechs and the slovacs and also to the east. so they were not just a pesky
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little neighbor, but fascinated the heir. what it was was an existential threat. serbia was not destroyed, austria hungary would be. >> 11 years ago, you were here talking about paris, 1919. i want to show you a clip of your visit and put it in context with this book. >> i can see how much older i look. >> a good deal of people were there lawrence of arabia, and the chef at the ritz. i said this is the set of people. i think historians are gossips. we love to gossip. then i realized no one had done it, which to a writer was an interesting thought. and to be fair, i realized some very great issues were
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discussed. things we were dealing with now were discussed in 1919? >> how did that book did? >> very well. it surprised me and my publishers. i will put it down in part to timing. it came out at the time at the end of the cold war when the world was a much more complicated place. and the issues. yugoslavia was breaking up. trouble in the middle east. so much of what was happening resembled what was happening in the first world war or a direct consequence of it. i think a lot of people read my book hoping to understand the world in which i'm living. >> can they still buy it. >> they can. you can listen to it too. >> how long did 1919 cover? >> it was essentially six months, but like all history, you have to explain.
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and i think i would like to anyway say what happened next. it's the paris peace conference at the so-called war to try to deal with the defeated nations. try to settle the world, a turbulent world, and try to build an international system with a league of nations so you wouldn't get a great war like this again. what i dealt with was the six months when all of the major world leaders were there. but i had to explain the background. i had to explain why there was an bulgaria and the balkan revolution. i had to say how relevant it was. >> how relevant is 1919 and the decisions made in versailles. >> it's very relevant. introduced the idea that we should have institution to international governance. that was important. league of nations may have
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failed, it came out of the first world war, but it set an important precedent. it drew a lot of border, many of which we're living with today. it allowed to be created like czechoslovakia some not here today. the borders drawn in 1919 and the years immediately after are those that we see in the middle east today. >> this book -- we had you here -- check my date, in 2007 for the nixon book. what was that book and what drew you to write that one? >> it was a passion of what i like. interesting moments in history where issues become clear, even though they're not settlesled. what drew me to the first world war with what i had just done was the biggest upheaval in history, the attempt to set up a new world order and the nixon
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book fascinated me because it was a shift in international relations. long cold nonexistent relations between the united states and china, in 19 0 it changed and a relationship opened up. i think what i'm interested in is the human beings that make these things happen or fail to make them happen. there's always a biographical element. >> in paris, 1919, where did you live then? >> i was living in canada. i was not well known as a historian. i did one book before that on british women in india. i was fascinated and obsessed and had a problem finding a publisher. i had one say no one wants to read about dead men around a table talking about peace treaties. that book came out and it did
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well. and then i got to write more of what i wanted. i suggested the nixon book. i'm pleased i could. it was fascinating. i found them fascinating characters and their assistances john lion and henry kissinger equally fascinating. it was a subject i loved. i kept thinking about it. i moved from one subject to another, and i wrote physically, i was shortly after it came out, i went to the university of toronto where i taught history and was head of a college. five years ago, i moved to a college in oxford and became a warden. sounds like a prison, it's not. for me, it's been great fun. >> what does a warden do?
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>> in any other institution it would be ceo. i'm responsible for the college. if it goes wrong, i get blamed. i have to make sure it all works. i'm lucky because i have a nice college and good fellows in the college and have good stuff. it's an interesting job. my college is very, very international. a lot of american students, students all over the world. the incoming press is about 200 came from 45 different countries. makes an interesting point. >> when you were here back in 2007, 33 colleges were in oxford. how many are there now? >> 41. it keeps growing. it's very much a collegiate university. cambridge is also. >> my college and st. anthony's college. we say it hastily. 442 students, all graduates.
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>> when did you find time to write this book. when did you start it? >> five years ago, started thinking about it. in a whey i don't like to employ the assistants, in a way i like them because my school is filled with lots of great students. i had wonderful students working for me. i spent 18 months writing it. i took a year's leave from college and put my head down and just wrote it. >> the war that ended peace, what did you start? when did you start writing about it? obviously went up to the assassination and start of the war. >> what i meant do and did are two different things. i wanted to write a book about the summer of 1914 when the final crisis blew up and we went to war. i said you have to understand why things went so badly wrong. europe found itself in a major
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war would understanding what had happened. in the end of the 1890s, germany decided to do a naval raid with great britain. great britain began to look for allies. i decided this is the point to try to explain the background, the temptation of history is you go back and back. i went back to 1890s. >> any recommendation? i read your book, it's a very complicated story. how do you approach it? how should someone approach it to try to get a grass b of all of the different empires and countries and who they're associated with. >> i did the approaching. i tried to divide it up to understand what the players were, what their thinking was and what their structures were. i tried to explain what britain was like as the process moved to when the war started. britain was the biggest economic
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power in the world. biggest empire. it was feeling strained. i tried to do the same for france, russia, germany, austria, i tried to give people an understanding of what the countries were like and what the concerns were. and then i tried to say something more generally about europe. because a lot of things cross border borders. nationali nationalist ideas. social darwinism, life is an eternal struggle and looked at the way there were common themes across europe. then i tried to do the chronologies. because it's important to understand when things happen and know what people were thinking about it when they made decisions. what were in the minds of people in 1914 was very much what happened before. >> the war started sfwhen. >> it became a general war in the fourth of august, 1914 when
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the british joined in. it really started in the last week of july and i guess you could say a general war by august 4, 1914. >> when did the americans get it in it? >> americans came in april in 1917. and initially the united states looked at what was happening in europe with dismay, bewild bewilderment, what were they doing? what was the purpose of this war? woodrow wilson started before the shooting started. i think a lot of the americans felt that the war was something happening on the other side of the atlantic. it was german policy that brought them in. shortsighted german policy in my view. >> correct me, but i wrote down we -- the united states, lot 114,000 soldiers in world war i. >> i think that was both killed and casualtied.
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>> but then the figures i got outover your book, between summer of 1914 and armistice day of 1918, 9 million soldiers dead? >> yes. >> 15 million wounded. >> yes. >> so hard to believe. you think what europe was like, prosperous, stable continent and doing this. and the french, i think, took the heaviest losses of any country in proportion to their population. one in four frenchmen were killed or badly wounded. >> why don't you explain this. four great empires fell? what's so great. how did they fall? one was russian. >> russians -- the russians are in the empire. the british who sailed around the world and grabbed territory
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here for the french. the russians developed an empire by expanding the borders. they grew hugely. they grew out through siberia to the pacific and asia. they had in the west. they had people like the baltic peoples and the finns and the large number of polls, people who were not ethnically russian. and really they were already dealing with nationalism among the components of the empire. the war came, russia fell to pieces. a lot of people declared independent. >> what kind of shape is russia in? >> dreadful shape. it was doing extraordinarily well before the war. it was on the edge of development. it was undeveloped largely. the war put a tremendous strain on russia and the industry and
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even more only the economy and the organization. they were not up to the job of managing a great big complicated war. >> second empire with germany. >> germany was an empire. it had territory in africa, libya, for example, china, some islands in the south pacific. but it also contained a bit of poland because poland had been divided up at the end of the 18th century. that became part of germany, austria, russia. germany lost all of the territory, all of the overseas possessions. >> what was germany like at the end of world war i. >> germany was in turmoil. the german society was better equipped to deal with than russia. there was tremendous resentment among the people who suffered
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from the war, society and what had happened in the way in which their lives wering the destroyed so you have tremendous population demonstration and mutiny in the army and in the na navy. >> the third empire that fell was austria an hungary. how big was it? >> it included much of today's poland, the czech republic. it includes croatia, austria, hungary, part of romania. it's big indeed. it didn't so much collapse -- it certainly had internal upheavals but the society saw a chance to get out. >> what was their condition in tend of world war i. >> austria again felt the strain of war. one of the organizers of the
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western powers, i think. indiana again today was a huge and prosperous leaving the people starving in 1918. >> last is the ottoman empire. >> for a while had been known as the sixth man. people had been expecting the demise in the 19th century. they had been looking good by 1914. a revolution, a new young turkish government called the young turks. looks like they might survive. the war was too much for it. they turned on the austrian and hungarian side. defeat helped to bring the empire down. our territories reversed which included the president's middle east was stripped from it by the victorious allies and lost most of the territories in europe. >> who decided iraq and its size. >> it was decided by the british
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and the french with little consultation. the sbritish and the french had plans to divide up the ott month empire if and when they collapsed when they expected it would happen. the french got most of it, syria and lebanon, which is -- it was all right but they gave up the northern part of iraq to britain. >> we have a picture early in your book. at the center is queen victoria. in that picture are people i want you to tell us about. there she is, right in the middle there sitting down? >> queen victoria, in many ways, the grandmother of europe. she had i don't know how many children and married them around europe. the man sitting in the left in profile is wilhelm the ii who is her grandson.
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standing behind her in the boller hat is nicholas ii of russia married to her grand daughter. then behind him is alexandria, she was the grand daughter of queen victoria. they're in that picture a number of other crowned heads. european royal families were linked in huge number of ways through intermarriage and interfamily relationships. >> back in that picture, showing it again. standing there where nicholas is, off to the right, is that george edward or george vii. >> looking at it, not sure who all of the women are. >> alexandra. >> she's the one with the boa around her neck. >> they were all related? >> they were all -- yeah, a lot of them were related. in 1914, the king of england, all cousins, it was
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extraordinary. but it didn't make any difference, because, of course, in the end, they identified with their own countries. >> what's the dwifrns? i wrote it down so i could remember them, but what's the drifrns between being a kasier, a czar of russia, an emperor of allsry yeah and hungary, the prime minister of france and -- >> the first three are hereditary. in all three cases they have more power than a president or prime minister has. only very reluctantly gave the constitution to the people in 1906, 1907. he didn't want to do it. he tried his best to ignore it. he had control over policy and military policy. wilhelm ii had far more power
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than either a president or foreign minister. the same is true of the emperor of austria and hungary. >> what does kaiser mean? >> it's emperor. it comes from the same root as caeser. >> what does czar mean? >> same thing. >> emperor mean s? >> it is the person at the top of the heap. put there and they put by their birth. >> go back again to the assassination of ferdinand, the arch duke. what happened after that? >> what happened when they were assassinated was shock. not so much mourning within ahs yea and hungary because they had not been all that popular. and a rather mean funeral, a hasty funeral. even in death, his wife was not allowed to be her i equal, a smaller coffin placed below his
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coffin. even in death -- people had been saying we have got to destroy serbia before it brings about our end says now is our chance. sorry about the arch duke, not so sorry about the arch duke. we now have the perfect opportunity to do something about serbia. it is clear at least at the end of serbia or elements in the serbian government were involve in the plotting. so now we have the opportunity to destroy serbia. austria and hungary said what will you do? will you bachus? and germany gave what is known to be a blank check. said to austria, hungary, do what you want to do. we will back you even if it means russia coming in to defend serbia. >> who had the biggest army then? >> they were clearly russia's. but the most effective was germany.
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germany had a very strong military tradition. it had highly trained officers, very good armament. and a very good network which is what you needed to move the troops around. russia had the numbers, didn't have nearly the organization or the military capacity. they weren't nearly as good. >> the note at the end of the book, it connects somewhat to this era. john f. kennedy was under intense pressure from his own military to take action at the risk of an all-out war. he learned that from the bay of pigs that the military were not always right, but also he had read "the guns of august" by barbara duckman. >> i found that so fascinating. i was trying to think of the parallel between the decision makers in 1914. it seems to me, really, my own
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times, the closest was the cuban missile crisis which i remember. the more i read about it, the more i read about what pressure ken dip was under. he was told by the brass, you have to do this, you cannot let the soviets get away with it. he had the courage. it was the finest hour of his currency to stand up to them. i think it was a can at the tro fee. i think it helped to read that wonderful book by barbara tuckman that did show clearly how to get to wars without meaning to. i don't agree with all of her interpretation, but she paints a wonderful picture of how just one set of mistakes after another can get us to real trouble. >> how much impact? we've seen the same reference to her all the time. >> she was a wonderful historian that worked for the general public. i think in a funny way she's more important now because there was a tendency in my profession to take care of the universities
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and do smaller and smaller types of history. what was wonderful about her is she wrote for the public, she wanted to make the story good. she picked big subjects. it's necessary to do that. history belongs to us all. it's importanted for the public to read and appreciate history. >> how much do you do that yourself? >> i read guns of august when i was 20. i read "the zimmerman telegram" and "proud tyler." i liked the way she used detail. the corroborative detail. the detail that someone brings something to life and makes it real to you. she had a great eye for that. i try to emulate her. >> we have video of a relative of yours. this is david lloyd -- i'm not sure of the date. what year did he die?
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>> 1944, the beginning of '45. >> run that now and see what he looked like and what was his role in the world? >> i hope none will stand in the way of allowing us to operate that great manifesto to the full. speaking on behalf of a very great country, let's make the most of them. the apartment hmt, a great idea, and now here's another thing i wanted to say. i'm a free man now and i can say what i like. and i mean to exercise my freedom to the full. >> great grand father? >> yep.
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>> how important has that been to you? >> well, i don't know. i never knew him. he died when i was an infant. i never knew him. my mother, of course, knew him. i don't know how much it influenced me. perhaps i was aware of history and politics because of him. i think when i became an historian, i tried very hard not to be partisan towards him. i hope i treated him as i would treat any other historian figure. >> what role did he play in world war i for great britain? >> important in world war i in the beginning of the war -- he was chancellor of the ex-che kwer. and identified with the liberal wing of -- the moderate wing of the liberal party, the left wing. and generally had been seen as someone opposed to war and spending money on armament.
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if he had opposed britain's going to war, the cabinet might have split, the government might have fallen. he became minister of munitions first and was effective at getting the production of military production up. in december of 1916, he became prime minister when people felt he was the only one to lead britain to victory. >> where were you born? >> your mother is alive. it's her grandfather. how did your family? >> how did it happen? >> my mother was a schoolgirl. she was leaving the high school in the uk before she went off to the university. she went with a group of english schoolgirls to canada in the summer of 1939. never got moment. the war broke out. if you were underage, you couldn't travel without your parents' permission. he said it's dangerous for you
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to come back. it was dangerous for ships and submarines to go across the atlantic. she found herself at the age of 17 stranded in toronto. the canadians went to her rescue. she went to toronto. >> you're still canadian? >> still canadian. >> live in boston. >> yeah. >> a long, detailed book. how much time do you spend on it. >> when i was writing it, i became totally obsessed by it. i spent every day writing it. i would come out after dark with a slightly red eyed looking like a strange vampire. my family understood this. they understood i needed to focus on it. in a way, it's exhilarating. although you become odd and anti-social. >> now you have to -- >> yes.
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it's the nicer part of writing a book. i've done the difficult work on it. now i have people asking questions. >> what was the atmosphere. give us how you keep track of all of this? >> well, it's as though the old monty python sketches saying my brain hurtles. it's like -- doing a book like this is trying to keep chess games on many different levels. the top level with the strategy and the big decisions and the next level are the people who carry them out and the public opinion. you have to keep it coherent. by the way, i forgot to mention the same day something was happening. you make choices, leave stuff out. you have to try to draw a thread through the story. i came up and said this is the
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situation at the time. this is what happened. i found trying to keep it in my head is difficult and readers were going to find it incomprehensible. >> had you found any material that hasn't been published before? >> i think pretty well everything has been published or researched. maybe stuff in russia and probably material in serbian archives not wet been thoroughly explored. so much run on the big world war, it's a puzzle. everything has been gone through. his tore yaps are looking at the grassroots. we now know what people were thinking as we'll begin to come about. >> who fired the first shot? >> first shots were fired by
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austria-ungary against serbia. since the night of july 1. >> who fought the first battles, the big battles? >> those big battles were fought in western europe as the german plan was to sweep through belgium down to france. and if battles began when the belgian army in what was heroic and suicidal to take on the german army and resist. they paid for that. >> go back to the early 1900s, what was going on that you found that led to this. who are some of the characters? who's your favorite character in that period? >> favorite in terms of who i would like to meet, i think one of my favorites is a great french socialist who combines the practical and working with politics with great deal of idealism and apparently with a
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wonderful company. fascinating character. hard not to be fascinated by wilhelm the second. the trouble is you're not going to let them dominate the whole book. >> we have video of him. can you tell us which one he is in this video. >> he's the one standing watching the troops go by. >> what's with the hat, the helmet, all of the -- is that his dog? >> that must be his dog. >> he loved sailing. he had a special kind of wax that made his mustache stick up at the ends. there he is again. what is so interesting in this period and it says something about military values is how often among the military uniform. you don't see them in civilian clothes. it says something about the way european values go into the european society. he walked quickly.
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he was one of the people who knew it all. a wonderful story that he once did a conference. he didn't like the tempo of the music. he jumped up, seized the baton, and conducted the orchestra himself. >> who else were you intrigued by that you wrote about. >> by prince ferdinand himself. he was, in fact, one of those that spoke for peace. when there were crises, he said let's not do anything foolish because it would be the destruction of the high arry. one of the few people that might have prevented a war against serbia. >> you said in your book that serbia issued a blank check and quotes for war. >> yeah, the german kaiser had lunch with the austrian
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ambassador who brought a special lunch from vienna. wilhelm himself wasn't sure he wanted a war. but he got excited about the whole idea. he said where with were you? we'll stand behind you. what was dangerous was the german high command was making a calculation. if they had to fight russia, he's better to do it in 1914 and 1917, because in 1917, russia would with stronger. >> would someone before 1914 before the war started, could they have stopped it? one of the leaders you're writing about? >> they could. there are several things that could have stopped it. wilhelm could have written a blank check. you run the risk of starting a major war. the austrians could have be dealt with serbia. and the serbian government did go a certain way. austria could have accepted those. the russians could have refused
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to mobilize against germany. they could have mobilized against just hungary and austria. and the order for german mobilization which means against france in the west and russia in the east, there are a number of times they could have stopped it. >> one small note i want to ask you about, 1906 to 1909 was the president of france, prime minister of france, i'm sorry, and i just wrote this down. he fought a dozen duels. >> this is what was so stroit about this europe. in some ways, it was recognizable. subways, telephones coming in. movies were beginning. some ways there was modern. britain had long since moved
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away from duelling. in france, they fought duels. he fought a duel because someone was rude about his singer and her voice. it was an honorable thing to do to show you were truly brave. >> who disliked each other the most? >> well, a lot of it was up and public opinion was volatile. the british and the jermens discovered antipathy. then they would be friendly. you have the developments of the nationalism. that produced stereotypes. the germans are always our enemies. generations of german school children being told that russia is always our enemies or the french are our enemies. you have the stereotypes developing which are daning rougs. you see the same things with stereotypes about other religions where you don't believe the other side are human. you think they're bound to be
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your enemy. so it's a big dangerous sort of nationalism developing in europe. >> three things i want to ask you about. one is the dual monarchy. >> austria, hungary. >> when did it come together? >> married into or quieted through war. in 1867, there was sort of a dispute -- hungary had been an ancient kingdom, much bigger than the hungary of today. hungarians wanted equal share of the government of austria hungary. there was a duel compromise. and essentially the two vfs will govern separately. the only thing that kept them together was a common foreign minister and common military minister.
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>> what was the entonce? >> the friendship that developed between britain and france in 1904. it was unlikely because they spent much time as enemies. they fought around the world. and then the long standing nearly came to throes in 1888. the neighbor that defeated france in 1871 and germany was threatening british naval supremacy, the british and the french drew closer and they formed the friendly understanding. they settled outstanding colonial disputes and began to work together in military planning. >> what us with the triple alliance? >> the triple alliance was the alliance of germany, austria, italy. it was a triple one because it
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came to include russia. then the triple on the other side. increasingly, you have europe divided up to two camps. >> where was the united states in this early 1900 poor period. and what was the relationship with all of the groups here? >> the united states is in the process of becoming a world power. it was a great economic power, but it hasn't yet to strans late that to military power. it was very important to floating the idea of a two ocean navy. had a very, very small army. wasn't a big land power. but it was beginning to extend the influence. moving to the pacific, of course, with the taking of the hawaiian islands beginning to get involved in china and latin america. but the american attitude towards europe was a complex one. after all, the united states was founded in that against europe
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and the way in which the americans looked at europe and said we don't want to be involved in the squabbles. we don't want any part of them. the relations with the european countries, depending on the relation with the countries. but although russia moved out to pacific, the more they butted up against the american interest. it was talk in the 1890s. >> over what? >> venezuela. a border dispete in what was british guinea, and then venezuela. and then americans backed venezuela and got annoyed with the british. they felt the british were interrupting where they had no business being. the british knew they didn't want to take on the united states. they withdrew from the men's himself hemisphere. >> why do we go to war in 1917?
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>> because the german government did so many stupid things. not the civilian government, but the high command that didn't win the war quickly. it did two things, mainly. it announced it would have unrestricted submarine warfare on mutual shipping. they began to sink a lot of ocean liners. the second thing the german high command did was in 1917 send a telegram known as the zimmerman telegram after the foreign minister at the time, sent a telegram to mexico saying we might suggest that the two of us become friends. make a deal, you attack and we'll help you get back all of the southern states that the u.s. took from you in the 18th theish in the 19th century.
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the telegram that the british picked up. >> first battle that we fought . >> the spring of 1918. it took a year for american troops to get to europe. >> we make a difference? >> oh, huge. you made a difference in two ways. first of all, the american forces were available more than they had been for the allies and i think the germans saw this with horror. where it made a huge difference was manpower. the american forces were there coming in in ever increasing numbers. it was the end for germany. >> what countries were we talkling about for europe and
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russia were democracies? >> all by 1914 had some constitutional government and some form of franchise, even russia, which had traditionally been seen as the most back ward of all of the great powers, it has a constitution, a parliament, and local assemblies, so russia was moving down that road. britain was a parliamentary democracy. not every britain had the right to vote. women, for example, it was a game. never fully developed. some ways was democratic. some ways, was not. so all men had to vote for parliament. but prussia, which is by far the biggest part of germany had a restricted part of the fran chitz. it was in the undemocratic germany. it had a rule of law. they all did. austria and hungary had a number of parliaments. that was part of the program. it was so divided. none of the countries were
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complete autocracies, nay were all building civil societies -- a long way in building civil societies and having parliamentary institutions. >> your research, what was the most valuable place that you went? >> probably the most valuable place was the internet. what is extraordinary -- this is such a difference from the first research where we would have to go through libraries and the file cards and so much is now available on the internet. a all of the british documents on the origins of the war are on the internet. all of wood row wilson's papers are on the internet. a lot of the american documents are available on the internet. also books and what could be scanned in. >> what's your sense of how much history is being written today compared to when you were in school. >> where did you go to school?
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>> in toronto. i was undergraduate. i didn't realize i had one of the best educations. but i've been grateful. we went to oxford and a big history there. i spent my life in history. hugely popular. we want to know. it's been fueled by the ancestors. the gee logic interest says people want to know what's the context under which all of this is happening. >> what's happened to the amount of history being written and how has the internet changed that? in your own experience? >> you can find things on the internet. it's the effect and so on. and when you get to interpretations, i like to think you need articles and books that can do that. because you can get so much information but it's what you do
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with the information that's important. >> are you teaching? >> not as much as i like. i have a few graduate students who are with me. then i teach the international relations with oxford every year. i'm mostly bureaucrat now. i don't have time to teach. >> when people go to st. anthony -- they pronounce st. anthony or st. ant-tony? >> it costed -- it depends on if you're coming from america, it can cost up to 15,000 pounds for tuition alone. probably 25,000 pounds all in, meaning maintenance and -- >> $40,000, $50,000? >> yeah. >> and what kind of student do you get? what does it take to get in? >> we get extraordinary students. we're lucky. we get students who have worked for a bit. so we have students who have
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been working for journalists, bankers, students who worked for the government. i have a student at the moment who worked in the clinton white house. we have people working for their own governments around the world. and we get students of great interest. they speak and read civil languages, and they're really fun. >> so what impact did world war i have on monarchies? >> i think world war i allowed to show just because people had the right access because of birth is not a good idea. a lot of countries got rid of them. russia became a socialist public. italy, hungary, not damaged anyway. but the components had presidents and prime ministers rather than kings. it's funny. there's been a resurgence of monarchies. there's talk of having a king in yugoslavia again or serbia now
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as it is. the former king of bulgaria has gone back and is in politics. people think what needs to be said for having a family-run business. i find it odd. >> was anybody warning back before world war i that the british could lose their empire? >> very few people. i think, the empire seemed very, very solid. and people were working for the empire tended to assume they had been there for a long time. people in india looked to indian nationists and said it was developing before the world war. and what they did was speed up the empire. >> has there been any empire bigger than british empire? >> i don't think it has. it was mainly in europe. what is the difference is, of course, that the roman empire lasted much longer. >> what did the brits that you talked to think of where they are today with almost no empire?
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>> for a while when i was a student in england, that would be over 40 years ago, there wrutz a reluctance among the british to talk about the empire at all. it's done, we don't want to talk about it. television series like joule the crown and people looked back and thought maybe it wasn't so bad. now they've come to terms with it. what they haven't come to terms with is their relationship with europe, it's always difficult. and still, i think, don't really feel comfortable being part of europe. >> so are you thinking about another book? >> thinking about another book. but thinking i might do a little one for the time being. i'm not sure i could take on another big book like this? >> what would you write about? >> i've been thinking about this. i'm always interest in the role of emotions in history. a series of essays how fear plays a part in the decisions in
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history and how envy plays a part. he was envious of britain. that affected what they did. telling you this idea. >> what happened to nicholas ii of russia. what happened to him? >> it was a sad picture of my book. happy devoted family, parents. the tragic young boy who had hemophilia. they were all killed by the bolshevikings. >> what about wilhelm? >> i think their hearts weren't in the peace process and the dutch were not prepared to give him up. he lived out of exile in a damp dutch castle and chopping lots
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of wood. he wrote his memoirs, denying he did anything wrong. he died in 1941 before hitler invaded russia. >> who was leading the ottoman empire. >> the sultan, i can't remember the name at the time. a very, very shadowy figure. he set off in exile, i think 1921. and moustafa became the father of modern turkey. >> so looking back at some of the leaders in your opinion, who is the sharpest leader in europe before the war started? >> sharpest by far but he was dead by this point was bismarck. he made the whole system work and kept europe from exploding to war. hard to say, a french foreign minister who i think was very good. russia had a couple of great statesmen. the problem is they became too
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powerful and too popular and the czar got rid of them. otherwise, i can't say any outstanding figures that may be part of the problem. it seems to me mediocre leadership at the time. >> not a sophisticated question, but who was the dumbest? >> who was the dumbest? >> nicholas ii wasn't bright. he was good at languages but incredibly credulous. but not very bright. wilhelm was clever in germany. william v wasn't an intellectual giant either. >> how long was george v king? >> he was king from 1911 to the 1930s? and then he was succeeded by edouard viii who gave up the throne. >> what was the hardest part of doing this book? >> the hardest part is getting myself down to do it and getting a roll on the material. what you don't see is all of the
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stuff that's underneath the surface. it took me four or five months to get it organized in a point that i could 125r9 writing. >> the cover of this book, we'll show it, the war that ended peace. who are the two men? >> one is wilhelm ii. >> on the right? >> with the mustache. and the other is a young churchill. he was the first lord of the admiralty at that point. he had done a lot to bring them to sight with the germans. >> what to put on the cover? >> it was tricky. you had to have people who were recognizable. i think people who know the period will recognize wilhelm ii but not any of the other figures. churchill, quite nice. how many people will recognize winston churchill will be interesting. it's a young chunlg hill. >> our guest has been margaret
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mcmillen. she wrote paris 1919 that we talked about 11 years ago, it's in print. and this book is called request it the war that ended peace," the road to 1914, the beginning of world war i. we thank you for joining us. >> thank you so much for asking all of these questions.
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in this week's session, he spoke about britain's economy, cost of living standards and unemployment. he addressed the picture he took with a danish prime minister and president obama during the mandela memorial service. >> order, questions to the prime minister. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning, i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. in addition to my duties in this house i shall have further such , meetings later today. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i


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