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Professor David Stevenson

International Historian



  • First international study of the events of the year 1917, a turning point in the history of WWI and the evolution of the modern world
  • David Stevenson examines how the war was transformed, but also what kept it going and why it continued to escalate
  • Blends political and military history, moving from capital to capital, and from the cabinet chamber to the battle front
  • 2017 marks the centenaries of the key events discussed in this book, including the Russian Revolutions, American entry into WWI, and the Montagu Declaration

French War Aims against Germany, 1914-1919 (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1982)

The Outbreak of the First World War: 1914 in Perspective (Macmillan: Basingstoke, 1997)

The First World War and International Politics (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1988) [paperback edition, 1991; reissued, 1999]

Armaments and the Coming of War: Europe, 1904-1914 (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1996; paperback edition, 1999) 

1914-1918: The History of the First World War (Penguin: London, 2004); North American edition: Cataclysm: the First World War as Political Tragedy (Basic Books: New York, 2004) [both also published in paperback, 2004]

With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (Allen Lane: London, May 2011). US edition (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Mass.), September 2011.



Due out in 2017: War, Peace and Revolution: Strategy and Statecraft in 1917. To be published by OUP.

Selected Edited Books:

Arms Races in International Politics: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century Hardcover – 14 Jan 2016

by Thomas Mahnken (Editor), Joseph Maiolo (Editor), David Stevenson (Editor)

Stevenson, David (2016) Conclusion In: Mahnken, Thomas and Maiolo, Joseph and Stevenson, David, (eds.) Arms Races in International Politics: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 287-295. ISBN 9780198735267

Stevenson, David (2016) Introduction: before 1914 In: Mahnken, Thomas and Maiolo, Joseph and Stevenson, David, (eds.) Arms Races in International Politics: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 11-19. ISBN 9780198735267

Stevenson, David (2016) Land armaments in Europe, 1866-1914 In: Mahnken, Thomas and Maiolo, Joseph and Stevenson, David, (eds.) Arms Races in International Politics: From the Nineteenth to the Twenty-First Century. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 41-58. ISBN 9780198735267

Mahnken, Thomas and Maiolo, Joseph and Stevenson, David, eds (2016) Arms races in international politics: from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780198735267

Editor (with introduction) of Volumes 1-8, 17-21, and 33-35 of Europe, 1848-1914, series F in Part I of K. Bourne and D. Cameron Watt (general editors), British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print (University Publications of America: Frederick, Maryland, 1987, 1990, 1991)

Editor (with introduction) of Volumes 1-12 of The First World War, 1914-1918, series H in Part II of British Documents on Foreign Affairs (University Publications of America: Frederick, Maryland, 1989) 

Edited with Professor Holger Afflerbach), An Improbable War? The Outbreak of World War I and European Political Culture before 1914 (Berghahn Books, New York and Oxford, 2007). Joint authored introduction (pp. 1-12) and single-authored chapter 7 ‘Was a Peaceful Outcome Thinkable? The European Land Arms Race before 1914’, pp. 130-48 

Selected articles to read online.

Read online by pasting url into your browser.

World War 1 and the Short War Illusion.

Financial Times Review, 25 July 2014

Origins and Outbreak of the First World War, British Library,

Learning from the past: the relevance of international history

Mladen Joksic interviews David Stevenson in Ethics and International Affairs. 27 June 2014.

The Long Lines of Death, November 2008. Observer


Other publications: 

'War by Timetable? The Railway Race before 1914', Past & Present, 162 (February 1999), 163-194

‘The Politics of the Two Alliances’ in Jay Winter, Geoffrey Parker, and Mary R. Habeck, eds, The Great War and the Twentieth Century (Yale University Press: New Haven, 2000), 69-96

‘French Strategy on the Western Front, 1914-1918’, in Roger Chickering and Stig Förster, eds, Great War, Total War. Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914-1918 (German Historical Institute, Washington, DC, and Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2000), 297-326

‘France and the German Question in the Era of the First World War', in Stephen A. Schuker, ed, Deutschland und Frankreich vom Konflikt zur Aussöhnung. Die Gestaltung der Westeuropäischen Sicherheit 1914-1963 (Oldenbourg: Munich, 2000), 1-18 2.17 ‘International Relations’, in Julian Jackson, ed, Short Oxford History of Europe: Europe, 1900-1945 (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2002), 16-47

‘1918 Revisited’, The Journal of Strategic Studies, 28, 1 (2005), 107-39

‘Grands noms et construction d’une historiographie: l’affaire Fritz Fischer’, in Jean-Jacques Becker, ed, Histoire culturelle de la Grande Guerre (Armand Colin: Paris, 2005), 71-85

‘Britain, France, and the Origins of German Disarmament, 1916-19’, Journal of Strategic Studies, 29, 2 (2006), 195-224 2.21 '”Inter-War” Strategic and Military Planning, 1871-1914: Context and Themes', chapter in Talbot C. Imlay and Monica Duffy Toft, eds, The Fog of Peace and War Planning: Military and Strategic Planning under Uncertainty (Routledge: Abingdon and New York, 2006), pp. 75-99

‘Battlefield or Barrier? Rearmament and Military Planning in Belgium, 1902-1914’, International History Review, 29, 3 (2007), 473-507

Introduction to supplement on ‘The Western Front’, in The Guardian/The Observer series on the First World War, The Observer, 9 November 2009

‘From Balkan Conflict to Global Conflict: the Spread of the First World War, 1914-18’, (based on keynote lecture at international conference at the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, 2008) Foreign Policy Analysis, 7, 2 (2011), 169-182

‘Why Didn’t the Allies March on to Berlin in 1918’, BBC History Magazine (June 2011)

‘European Integration and Disintegration in the Era of World War I’, accepted for publication in The International History Review (2012)

‘Fortifications and the European Military Balance before 1914’, Journal of Strategic Studies, 35, 6 (December 2012), 829-8592.28 ‘Learning from the Past: the Relevance of International History’, International Affairs, 90, 1 (20140, 5-22

‘Diplomats’, in Jay Winter, ed, The Cambridge History of the First World War (3 vols, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 2014), Vol. II, pp. 66-90