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The Big One

            "I always hear Caesar did, Caesar conquered. Was not there at least a cook along?" "Bertolt Brecht.
             In 1914, the world witnessed one of the most terrible and bloody wars in the history of mankind to that date. World War One, at that time entitled the Great War, began as a result of the conflict between the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary and the Kingdom of Serbia. On the surface, the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, seemed to be the cause of the events that led to a European and, eventually, a world war. Although the assassination precipitated the events that led to war, the true causes of the Great War were much deeper and much more convoluted than a gunshot and the death of a statesman. In order to fully grasp the causes of the First World War, and in order to eventually determine responsibility for the war, the state of affairs before its inception, including the events and intellectual climate in the previous century, must be recognized and acknowledged as vital components in the shaping of events that led to hostility and mobilization.
             The prevailing intellectual state in the mid to late nineteenth century was one of change. New ideas were brought to the fore by scientists and expounded upon by philosophers to forge innovative and rather radical notions concerning Man and his place in nature and among his fellows. Although new philosophy is not a new or even rare event in history, the ideological changes occurring in the latter half of the nineteenth century were markedly different from those in the past because science enhanced their credibility. .
             In 1859, Charles Darwin presented what was to be one of the most revolutionary theories in biological science when he published his On the Origin of Species. Although his theories concerning the evolution of species, containing such invariably difficult concepts, such as mutations, were complex and often misunderstood, the general population understood the fundamental idea concluded in his work:.

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