To understand the Great War it is not sufficient to read the daily happenings of military and naval events as they are told in newspapers and magazines. We must go back of the facts of to-day and find in national history and personal ambition the causes of the present struggle. Years of preparation were necessary before German military leaders could convert a nation to their views, or get ready the men, munitions, and transportation for the war they wanted. Conflicts of races for hundreds of years have made the southeastern part of Europe a firebrand in international affairs. The course of the Russian revolution has been determined largely by the history of the Russian people and of the Russian rulers during the past two centuries. The entrance of England and Italy into the war against Germany was in each case brought about by causes which came into existence long before August, 1914. A person who understands, even in part, the causes of this great struggle, will be in a better position to realize why America entered the war and what our nation is fighting for. And better yet, he will be more ready to take part in settling the many problems of peace which must come after the war is over. For these reasons, the first few chapters of this book are devoted to a study of the important facts of recent European history.