I have started reading Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August and 100 pages in I have nothing but good things to say about it. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to understand the foundations of WW1, which as the author builds sowed the seeds of WW2.
My favourite exerpt so far: (page 26)
Character is fate the greeks believed. 100 years of German philosoply went into the making of this decision in which the seeds of self-destruction lay embedded, waiting for its hour to begin the great war.
The voice was Schlieffen's plan for encirclement of the enemy, but the hand was the hand of Fichte who saw the German people chosen by providence, of Hegel who saw them leading the world to a glorious destiny of compulsory Kultur, of Nietzsche who told them that Supermen were above ordinary controls and the German people who called their temporal ruler the "all-highest".
What made the Schlieffen plan was not Calusewitz but the body of acumulated egoism which suckled the German people and created a nation fed on the dessperate delusion of the will that deems itself absolute.