How much fresh perspective is given by history?

In an LSE lecture by Professor Christopher Clark, Clark outlined the focus of his new book: the origins of the First World War. He explained that despite this being an area that has been researched greatly already, history brings new perspective. He also explained that he would focus on how the war began, rather than why.

Clearly this area of history is of almost unparalleled importance. Without the Great War we would probably not have seen the rise of fascism, the holocaust, Naziism, the Russian October Revolution and all other manner of significant later occurrences.

But will Clark’s study really add to existing literature? How much of a difference does history really make in your opinion? Will he be able to bring an entirely fresh perspective? Or will he be likely instead of what he terms Presentism – making the past fit present circumstances?

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