Why Britain was right to go to war in 1914

Following on from Niall Ferguson's argument that Britain should not have entered the First World War, we asked six expert historians for their views on the decision. They all came to a similar conclusion

A recruitment poster used during the First World War, c1915.

This article was published in the February 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

Margaret MacMillan: “Even if Britain had stayed out of the war in August 1914, it would have been difficult for it to stay on the sidelines”

We can never know for certain what would have happened if Britain had stayed out of the First World War, but we can guess. If Germany’s war plans against France had succeeded – and, without the British Expeditionary Force, they might well have – Paris would have been surrounded again.

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