Years ago, one of my students asked me if I was going to blame her great-great grandfather for the World War. I assured her that I had read my history from several different perspectives and that I accepted the observations of the American historian S.L.A. Marshall in this regard: "The unthinkable happened because in each of the Great States, leaders did certain things that inflamed the crisis, or failed to do things that might have eased it. All shared in some degree the responsibility for the general failure."
Marshall, SLA. The American Heritage History of WWI. page 25.