In 1917: War, Peace, and Revolution
(Oxford University Press, 2018), David Stevenson
examines a pivotal chapter of the First World War. Two and a half years of death and destruction had brought the belligerents to new nadirs of attrition and zeniths of strategic calculation. Deeply invested in the war, with unprecedented losses of blood and treasure, and no longer optimistic about their chances of victory, all sides were looking for a quick exit but had few prospects of finding one. In 1917, the Germans gambled in escalating their submarine warfare, which drew the hesitant Americans into the conflict, the French faced mutinies, and the Russians plunged the throes of Revolution. The war thus raged, spreading across two oceans to four continents, finally turning toward its conclusion.
In this episode of the podcast, David Stevenson discusses the causes, course, and effects of these events with us, and shares his insights about judging historical forces and human agency, evaluating counterfactuals, and drawing comparisons between 1917 and subsequent events of the last 100 years, including the Second World War, the Vietnam War, and conflicts of the twenty-first century.
Professor Stevenson is Stevenson Chair of International History at the London School of Economics, and has published several important works on the World War I including With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918
, and 1914-1918: The History of the First World War.
Krzysztof Odyniec is a historian of the Early Modern Spanish Empire specializing on culture, diplomacy, and travel. He completed his PhD in 2017 at UC Berkeley where he is now a Visiting Scholar; he also teaches at Los Medanos College and Berkeley City College.