governments regard every precaution of everyother government as evidence of hostile intent, this reveals acknowledgement ofone’s own mistakes, from the benefit of hindsight which gives the memoir value.
This is also strong evidence for the impact of tensions on the growth of thearms race. However, perhaps Grey is attempting to reduce his blame for lack ofauthoritative control, by emphasizing emotional factors (fear, tensions…). Itmay be counter-argued however, that the idea a war is caused by the growth inmilitary expenditure is rather doubtful.
The proportion of the gross domesticproduct (GDP) spent by the major European powers on arms expenditure was quitesmall (In 1914, Germany spent 3.5 per cent of GDP ondefense; this was less than Britain (4.9 per cent), France (3.9 per cent),Russia (4.6 per cent), and Austria-Hungary (1.9 per cent), and that although AustriaHungary was the most determined to go to war, it spent the least of all theEuropean powers. NiallFerguson claimed that the role of the arms race in fostering the First World Warhas been greatly exaggerated.
A great limitation however to Ferguson’s book”Pity of War” is his use of counterfactual history, and was he was commonlyaccused of cherry-picking evidence which didn’t support his thesis (Britainshould have never fought Germany). Hence, he ignores the armaments of these twocountries and their impacts on war, specifically Britain’s decision to war.