15 World Pol. 163 (1962-1963)
German War Aims in the First World War

handle is hein.journals/wpot15 and id is 177 raw text is: 




GERMAN WAR AIMS


          IN   THE FIRST WORLD WAR

                        By KLAUS  EPSTEIN

 Fritz Fischer, Grifi nach der Weltmacht: Die Kriegszielpolitik des kaiser-
 lichen Deutschland, 19I4-I9i8, Diisseldorf, Droste Verlag, 1961, 896 pp.
 DM  34.80.
                                 I


 G   RIFF   nach der  Weltmacht,  the new  book  by Professor Fritz
      Fischer of Hamburg  University, is a noteworthy contribution to
 our understanding of German policy during the First World War. Its
 wealth of documentation from previously unused archives (as well as
 its startling interpretations) makes much of the earlier literature in
 the field-such as the standard work by Erich Otto Volkmann,   Die
 Annexionsfragen des Welt  rieges (Berlin 1929)-obsolete. Fischer is
 the first historian of the period who bases his conclusions upon a thor-
 ough examination of the official German documents,  which became
 accessible to researchers only in 1955. His work certainly bears out the
 truism that definitive diplomatic history can be written only after the
 archives have been opened. A brief listing of the collections examined
 for the present volume will give an impression of its exhaustive char-
 acter. Fischer has worked through deposits of the old Reichsarchiv,
 now located at Potsdam  (in the East Zone), where the files of the
 Chancellery, Reich Ministry of the Interior, and Commercial Section
 of the Foreign Office proved especially important; the old Preussisches
 Geheimes Staatsarchiv, now at Merseburg (also in the East Zone), con-
 taining the files of the Prussian government (whose great influence
 upon the formulation of war aims is revealed for the first time); the
 Politisches Archiv des Auswiirtigen Amts, Bonn, containing most of
 the files of the Old German Foreign Office (recently returned to Ger-
 many from Britain, where they had been brought in 1946); the Oster-
 reichisches Staatsarchiv, Vienna, for the files of the Austrian Foreign
 Office; as well as some important collections in the Bundesarchiv at
 Koblenz and the Staatsarchive at Munich and Stuttgart. Fischer's doc-
 umentary basis is so firm and broad that startling additions to the
 factual evidence are unlikely in the future. The archives have yielded
 their treasure at last. The task of future historians will be one of in-
 terpreting an established body of facts rather than making fresh dis-
coveries.

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