Extra Credits is an excellent series of videos about computer game design presented in a very entertaining and accessible way.
Occasionally Extra Credits turn their attention to history for a series called Extra History. First they looked at The Punic Wars, and now they’ve just finished an excellent four part series on the events that led to World War I.
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“The world hinges on small things.”
The Concert of Europe held the continent together for years after the Napoleonic Wars, but as the leadership of great nations weakened over time, the stage was set for a colossal tragedy.
When Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria decided to visit Serbia on a day of national pride, he angered young nationalists like Gavrilo Princip and touched off the series of events that tumbled the world into war.
In the wake of Franz Ferdinand’s assassination, the great powers of Europe scramble to find an answer to the looming threat of war. While Germany urges Austria-Hungary to resolve the matter quickly, Russia begins to mobilize its forces to defend the slavic state of Serbia. A handful of people across the nations recognize the danger and do their best to stop it.
Serbia responds to Austria-Hungary’s ultimatum after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and the pretext for war grows thinner and thinner. Caught between a rock and a hard place, Austrian Foreign Minister Leopold Berchtold makes a desperate decision to declare war. Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany and Czar Nicholas II of Russia call upon their family ties to each other in a last ditch effort to avert the war, but their previous inattention has left their prime ministers Bethmann-Hollweg and Sazonov in impossible positions. With their forces mobilized, unable to back down, Russia must accept Germany’s declaration of war – and as our series ends, the Seminal Catastrophe begins.