July Crisis, 1914

Game in Development | Available to Download

In July Crisis, 1914, students portray political and military leaders of the European powers, and must decide how they (and their governments) will respond to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. In that capacity they will decide within their factions whether the crisis can be settled peacefully; if not, whether to enter the war or remain on the sidelines; and whether, how, and against whom to mobilize their armed forces. If war breaks out, the decisions made by the participants will have a direct effect on the course of the war in its initial months.

Players’ decisions will be influenced by a number of important texts related to international relations, including works by Francois de Fenelon, Emer de Vattel, Richard Cobden, Heinrich von Treitschke, Giuseppe Mazzini, Nikolai Danilevskii, Norman Angell, and Friedrich von Bernhardi. Excerpts from all of these are included in this gamebook.

July Crisis, 1914 should be played with a minimum of twelve players. This will allow representation of four of the great powers—France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Russia—each represented by a faction consisting of three members. The factions represent the range of opinions that existed among the top leadership of the major powers.  In most cases each faction will be made up of one chief executive (a monarch, president, or prime minister), a foreign minister, and a military commander (war minister or army chief of staff). If fifteen are available the game should also include Great Britain, although that country, reflecting that country’s strict subordination of the armed forces to civilian authority, has a Chancellor of the Exchequer (David Lloyd George) instead of a military commander. Because only the highest leaders are represented, decisions must be reached collectively, and approved unanimously, within each faction. In larger classes a number of other factions may be added: the Ottoman Empire, Italy, Romania, and Greece, each of which will consist of two players, or Bulgaria, consisting of a single player (reflecting the fact that there was greater unity of purpose among the leadership of that nation).

About the Author:

John Moser is Professor of History at Ashland University, where he teaches courses on modern European, American, and East Asian history. He is also co-chair of Ashland's Master of Arts program in American History and Government. John did his undergraduate work at Ohio University, and has an MA and PhD in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published numerous works on subjects ranging from comic books to Japanese foreign policy. He is the author of four books, the most recent of which is The Global Great Depression and the Coming of World War II, which was published by Routledge in 2014. In 2016 John was the recipient of the Edward and Louaine Taylor Excellence in Teaching Award. He lives in Ashland, Ohio, with his wife, Monica, their daughter Stanzi, and their three dogs. As a member of the Ohio Garrison of the 501st Legion, he dresses in the uniform of an imperial officer from Star Wars for charity events and other appearances.