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In doing so we talk about British justifications for war, Russia and Japan, linear reasoning, nationalism, the European Union and Ireland.

Having listened to this a few times I realise I should have given Brian a lot more push back on the theory about Russia arming against Japan and this alarmed Germany. To the best of my knowledge, all Russian military expansion in the period immediately preceding the war was aimed at Germany. The French would certainly not have been lending them so much money (see Notes) if the expansion was aimed at Japan. 

Also while listening to this it dawned on me that while I am talking about Teddy Roosevelt (1:05:00 or thereabouts), Brian is talking about Franklin Roosevelt. Whoops!

Brian Quotes

“Causation is not a linear process.”

“The biggest lie is that the First World War started because no one knew how to stop it.”

“…often what matters is not the actual state of things but the direction in which things are moving.”

“I committed my perennial sin of talking too much.”


  1. Our original First World War podcast, or at least the one that Brian was talking about.
  2. William leQueux wrote The Invasion of 1910
  3. Asquith's speeches (amongst others) can be found here.
  4. Did the Russians know how dangerous mobilisation was? Well, they certainly did when the Germans issued them with an ultimatum.
  5. Did Russia have a treaty with Serbia? Apparently not.
  6. Does Norman Stone claim that Russian railways were more East-West than North-South? I tried to find a reference but without success.
  7. How much was France spending? A lot it would appear.
  8. The Second Morocco crisis was in 1911.
  9. Was it the Tsar who backed out of Björkö? Yes
  10. Did the socialists have a majority in the Reichstag? No, but they had become the largest party
  11. TIK the YouTuber. 


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