Should Britain have entered the war in 1914? An interesting debate

About Jonathan Story, Professor Emeritus, INSEAD

Jonathan Story is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1974, he worked in Brussels and Washington, where he obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has held the Marusi Chair of Global Business at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate Schoold of Business, Fordham University, New York. He is preparing a monograph on China’s impact on the world political economy, and another on a proposal for a contextual approach to business studies. He has a chapter forthcoming on the Euro crisis. His latest book is China UnCovered: What you need to know to do business in China, (FT/ Pearson’s, 2010) ( His previous books include “China: The Race to Market” (FT/Pearsons, 2003), The Frontiers of Fortune, (Pitman’s, 1999); and The Political Economy of Financial Integration in Europe : The Battle of the Systems,(MIT Press, 1998) on monetary union and financial markets in the EU, and co-authored with Ingo Walter of NYU. His books have been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. He is also a co-author in the Oxford Handbook on Business and Government(2010), and has contributed numerous chapters in books and articles in professional journals. He is a regular contributor to newspapers, and has been four times winner of the European Case Clearing House “Best Case of the Year” award. His latest cases detail hotel investments in Egypt and Argentina, as well as a women’s garment manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a Chinese auto parts producer. He teaches courses on international business and the global political economy. At the INSEAD campus, in Fontainebleau and Singapore, he has taught European and world politics, markets, and business in the MBA, and PhD programs. He has taught on INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Programme for the last three decades, as well as on other Executive Development and Company Specific courses. Jonathan Story works with governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. He is married with four children, and, now, thirteen grandchildren. Besides English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian, reads Portuguese and is learning Russian. He has a bass voice, and gives concerts, including Afro-American spirituals, Russian folk, classical opera and oratorio.
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3 Responses to Should Britain have entered the war in 1914? An interesting debate

  1. Mark A says:

    Extremely interesting debate. I have great respect for Hastings and McMillan as historians, but I have to disagree with them. Britain should not have entered the war. If Britain did not join, then Germany definitely would have won. I think Russia still would have collapsed and become the USSR. So, you would have a defeated and weak France and a strong Central European power checking the power of a USSR. Of course, if there was a Kaiserreich, then there would have been no Nazi Party and no Hitler. The argument that Hastings used that the decision of war was held by the Kaiser, Chancellor and Generals does not hold much water. In the U.S., Congress has abdicated its war declaration power and the Executive goes to war basically on a whim. S


    • Dear Mark, Many thanks. There will be no end to this debate. The key factor on the British side was Lloyd George, previously the Leader of the peace Faktion in the Liberal Government, who switches sides as Germany invaded Belgium. He did so as a defender of small countries rights. He had taken the Boer side during the Boer war, and heilet from Wales.
      My propensity is to argue that Europe is what it is, and has proben very resistent to efforts to push it into one mould. Wilhelminen Germany May have been dominant, had Britain not entered the war in 1914, but it would not have been able to run Europe alone. On the other hand, a defeated France could well have turned very hostile to Britain, and joined Germany. France did that in 1940, in 1991, and is doing so now for lack of alternatives. Germany, too, is finding that it cannot Dominante Europe, Even with the help of the Benelux maffia.


  2. Apologies for the spelling. my computer Specks German.


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