Empire in World War I: Causes and Consequences
On May 12, 2016, Professor Dominic Lieven (Senior Research Fellow, Trinity College, Cambridge, and Fellow of the British Academy) made a presentation titled "Empire in World War I: Causes and Consequences" at the regular research seminar Boundaries of History of the Centre for Historical Research and the Department of History of the Higher School of Economics in Saint Petersburg.
The lecture was discussing the dilemma of modern empire and explains why this was the most important cause of the First World War. It focused especially on the geopolitical bases of the era of imperialism. Then it looked at the Russian variation on imperialism and empire's dilemma firstly in general and then, specifically, as viewed through the eyes of Russia's pre-war foreign ministers, Aleksandr Izvolsky and Serge Sazonov. But it noted that security, interest and identity drove the foreign policy not just of Russia but also of the other great powers. It placed the questions of the Straits and "pan-Slavism" in comparative context. The lecture showed how Russian foreign policy evolved between 1906 and 1914 and was concluded s by showing both how the July Crisis of 1914 sprang directly from the dilemma of modern empire and why the Russian government felt compelled to meet the Austro-German challenge even at the risk of a war that no one in the Russian leadership wanted.