1914 - The Failure of Diplomacy
O-Ton: Frank-Walter Steinmeier – German Foreign Minister
„What we see is the spectacle of failure – by the military and political elites, but also the
failure of diplomacy. It should have been its task in particular to reduce that mutual
distrust. To consider sensible alternatives, to guage possible compromises. It wasn’t that
diplomats lacked the necessary tools, more that they lacked the will to do so. Let there be
no doubt that the 20th century’s seminal catastrophe was a man-made catastrophe."
1914 – An Opportunity Missed?
O-Ton: Herfried Münkler – Political Scientist and Writer
“Diplomacy did have opportunities up to late July 1914. But then the generals tooks over,
and the diplomats lost their voice.“
O-Ton: Andreas Wirsching - Historian
„The problem was people’s inability to see beyond a military solution, which was a
problem outside Germany too.... diplomacy was just about able to keep that under control
until then, but for very complex reasons, it could not longer be contained in 1914, and
that’s a decisive reason that led to the 20th century’s seminal catastrophe.“
1914 – Looking for Clues
O-Ton: Pascale Hugues - Publizistin
“All young men wanted to go to war – think of those famous pictures from the beginning of
the war. Today it’s unimaginable.“
O-Ton: Michael Thumann - Journalist
“Everybody thought they had to act fast and forgot what had been said about it being a
long and devastating war. That’s probably also because they thought they could manage
to get a grip on the situation somehow.“
1914 – An Admonition
O-Ton: Frank-Walter Steinmeier – German Foreign Minister
„It’s not sufficient to view today’s Europe as a successful lesson drawn from the drama of
two world wars and then just lean back, self-satsified.“
O-Ton: Andreas Wirsching - Historian
“The future’s openness seems to burden us more today. Because we have so little to help
orientate ourselves. That’s actually why history is so important.“
O-Ton: Herfried Münkler – Political Scientist and Writer
“What we can learn from it is that we need institutions which can cement this trust beyond
the political relationships of individuals involved.“
1914 – A Commitment
O-Ton: Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Europe may have banished the demons of 1914. But they have
not been completely tamed. That’s why it’s our responsibility to take the lessons we have
learned and to uphold them, to propagate them, and that also means challenging attempts
to undo integration, and to continue writing the history of European integration. In concrete
terms, that means inspiring renewed enthusiasm for the European idea of reconciliation
and understanding between peoples.“
Excerpts from the panel discussion “1914 – The Failure of Diplomacy“ on the 28.01.2014
at the German Foreign Office in Berlin.