Mandate for Mobilization: The Franco-Russian Alliance and World War I

John McCutcheon, "The Crime of the Ages." Midwest MS McCutcheon, Scrapbook vol.#15.
John McCutcheon, "The Crime of the Ages." Midwest MS McCutcheon, Scrapbook vol.#15.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
(This program continues for multiple sessions)
Saturdays, November 8 - 15

9 am - 1 pm

Led by Joseph Harrington

It is common to blame Germany and/or Austria-Hungary for World War I, but renowned American diplomat and scholar George Kennan had a different interpretation. In his study of the 1894 alliance between France and Russia, Kennan ruefully reflected on how those countries committed themselves to military mobilization at the expense of diplomatic flexibility, virtually guaranteeing a European war. Participants in this two-session seminar will discuss Kennan’s study and the long-term implications of the Franco-Russian alliance. For the first session, please read pages 3-109 and 362-424 of The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order.

Joseph Harrington, holds a master’s degree in history from the University of Connecticut. He has led numerous Newberry seminars.

Materials List

Required Text(s):

  • Kennan George F.; The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order: Franco-Russian Relations, 1875-1890; (1979, Princeton University Press; 978-0691052823)
  • Kennan, George F.; The Fateful Alliance: France, Russia, and the Coming of the First World War; ISBN 0-394-72231-0. Note: this text is out of print, but is absolutely necessary for the class. Used copies are available online, but the text will not be available at the Newberry Bookstore.

Readings for the First Session:

The Decline of Bismarck’s European Order, specifically:

  • pages 3-109, on the background and personalities of French and Russian diplomacy
  • pages 362-424, on the breakdown of Russian ties with Germany.

This class is part of the Newberry’s Adult Education Seminars Program.

Cost and registration information: 

Two sessions, $176.
Register Online.