By Hugh Cowin, Hugh W. Cowin

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248. See this similar statement by the Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Friedrich von Falkenhausen: ‘To match the great, closed economic bodies of the United States, the British, and the Russian Empires with an equally solid economic bloc representing all European states, or at least those of Central Europe [Mitteleuropa] under German leadership, with a twofold purpose: (1) of assuring the members of this whole, and particularly Germany, the mastery of the European market, and (2) of being able to lead the entire economic strength of allied Europe into the field, as a unified force, in the struggle with those world powers over the conditions of the admission of each to the markets of the others’.

5 Bethmann Hollweg, April 7, 1913, cited in Düllfer 2003, p. 139. 6 Afflerbach 1996, p. 170. ��63/9789004262683_003 24 Eley A key motif of the larger historiography of the July Crisis has always been this back and forth between inevitabilism and agency – between the unmasterable logic of processes already set into motion on the one hand and human responsibility on the other, between a sense of being buffeted by powerful necessities and the existential rush of embracing a momentous future. While steering willingly towards the conflict, in fact, Europe’s decision-makers felt pulled by larger impersonal forces.

As Duncan Bell shows, this projecting of a ‘vast “Anglo-Saxon” political community’ of dispersed global Britishness ‘ranged from the fantastically ambitious – creating a globe-spanning nation-state – to the practical and mundane – reinforcing existing ties between the colonies and Britain’. Such ideas drew on a rich reservoir of received visions of how an imperial polity might be organised, ranging across Greece, Rome, and the Americas, while mobilising emergent attitudes towards ‘the state, race, space, nationality, and empire’.

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