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Classroom Discussion 2: Niall
Ferguson, The War of the World, Chapters 3-4

Chapter 3: Fault Lines

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1. Discuss the “Fault Lines”
that Ferguson describes in this chapter. Why did the most destructive
fault lines run under Empires? What did the formation of nation-states
offer in place of empires?

2. How does Ferguson regard
Franz Ferdinand and the Austrians? Gavrilo Princip and the Black Hand? Is
he objective and even-handed or does he treat one or the other favorably?

3. In the section entitled “The
Shock of War” what distorted view of the origins of WWI does Ferguson wish to
correct? Do you think he does? In what way does he continue this
argument in the section entitled “The House of Saxe-Coburg”?

4. Analyze the context of this
quote and explain what it means: “From a modern standpoint, the only
European power to side with the victims of terrorism against the sponsors of
terrorism was Germany,” (104).

5. Why were German generals
eager to embrace war with the attitude: the earlier, the better?

Chapter 4: The Contagion of War

1. List ten reasons, in
descending order of importance, why the Germans lost WWI. List Germany’s
shortcomings but also provide at least one reason each that involve France,
England, Austria, and Russia. Take care to survey the entire chapter for

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