CWRU historian discusses century-long debates about who started WWI

Kenneth LedfordThe Baker-Nord Center for Humanities’ World War I Centennial Series continues with the talk, “Who Started World War I? Centenary Debates about War Guilt and Meaning,” presented by Kenneth Ledford, associate professor of history and law at Case Western Reserve University.

The free and public talk begins at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 15, in Clark Hall, Room 309. Registration is recommended and available online.

Ledford will draw from the breadth of histories written about the war, and especially from the widely read Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War by Christopher Clark. The author paints a portrait of European statesmen “asleep,” stumbling blindly into a war that leaders who were aware and engaged would have avoided.

A social historian of modern Germany from 1789 to the present, Ledford will discuss how this interpretation reveals that Germany wasn’t alone in creating the war, but that blunders by all players involved led to the war.

Ledford will trace how historians since 1914 have assessed diplomatic and moral responsibility for the outbreak of World War I. He also will explain why the Berlin Republic, 100 years later, has reasons for vigorously resisting Clark’s exoneration of Imperial Germany.

For information, call 216.368.2242 or visit