In an interview with BBC History Magazine, Ferguson claimed “it would have been in Britain’s interests to stay out in 1914”.

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Military historian Professor Gary Sheffield wrote on the social networking site:

Contrary to Niall Ferguson's views, for Britain to have stayed out of First World War would have disastrous for Britain & Europe. #WW1

— Gary Sheffield (@ProfGSheffield) January 30, 2014

Meanwhile, a student at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand tweeted:

Ferguson talking sense, and I think most historians would agree with him. WW1 was an "error" not a moral crusade http://t.co/FqWEteIHQV

— Jorde (@JordanMcCluskey) January 30, 2014

And Irish entrepreneur Declan Ganley wrote:

Ferguson not alone in these thoughts: Britain entering WWI was 'biggest error in modern history' http://t.co/E8YbB3Yd7D via @guardian

— Declan Ganley (@declanganley) January 30, 2014

Meanwhile, Sir Richard Evans, historian of modern Germany and Europe, said:

Niall Ferguson undermines Michael Gove's charge that Leftie historians deny Britain had to fight the Germans in 1914: http://t.co/neidh5s8fk

— Sir Richard Evans (@RichardEvans36) January 30, 2014

And Toby Helm, the Observer's political editor, asked:

I wonder whether the Ed Sec thinks Niall Ferguson's views should be taught in schools - or banned? http://t.co/ua7cu3YnRA

— Toby Helm (@tobyhelm) January 30, 2014

The story was also promoted on Twitter by Alan Rusbridger, editor in chief of Guardian Newspapers:

Britain should have stayed out of WW1, claims Harvard historian @nfergus http://t.co/ENsAUjGcUn

— alan rusbridger (@arusbridger) January 30, 2014

And a marketer from Austin wrote:

"Absolutely 100% true. Britain was destroyed by entering a war between and among cousins. Their best and... http://t.co/U9VgsHC69e

— davedix (@davedix) January 30, 2014

Meanwhile, Traditional Britain Group tweeted:

The Great War: We should not be doing anything other than remembering our fallen in this tragic centenary year.... http://t.co/HQJ9aW7Uzq

— TraditionalBritain (@TradBritGroup) January 30, 2014

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The full story can be found in the February issue of BBC History Magazine, on sale from today.

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