The complicated situation which led to the American entry into the First World War in 1917 is often explained from the perspective of public opinion, US domestic politics, or financial and economic opportunity. In this new book, The United States' Entry into the First World War: The Role of British and German Diplomacy
(Boydell Press, 2019), by Associate Professor of History at the University of Central Oklahoma, Justin Quinn Olmstead, however, reasserts the importance of diplomats and diplomacy. Based on original research, the book provides a look at British, German, and American diplomacy in the period 1914-17. It argues that British and German diplomacy in this period followed the same patterns as had been established in the preceding decades. It goes on to consider key issues which concerned diplomats, including the international legality of Britain's economic blockade of Germany, Germany's use of unrestricted submarine warfare, peace initiatives, and Germany's attempt to manipulate in its favour the long history of distrust in Mexican-American relations. Overall, the book demonstrates that diplomats and diplomacy played a key role, thereby providing a fresh and original approach to this crucially important subject. To top it off, the author finishes the text with a truly splendid bibliographic essay on the historical literature dealing with this ultra-important subject.
Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written recently for Chatham House’s International Affairs.