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Sidney Bradshaw Fay

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Title: Sidney Bradshaw Fay  
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Subject: Historiography of the causes of World War I, Charles Gibson (historian), David H. Pinkney, Thomas C. Cochran (historian), William J. Bouwsma
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Sidney Bradshaw Fay

Sidney Bradshaw Fay (13 April 1876 in American Historical Association, Fay claimed that Germany was too readily blamed for the war and that a great deal of the responsibility instead rested with the Allies, especially Russia and Serbia. His stance is supported by several modern-day scholars, such as Christopher Clark, though it remains controversial. Fay left Harvard University (Ph.D. 1900)[1] to study at the Sorbonne and the University of Berlin. He taught at Dartmouth College (1902–14) and Smith College (1914–29) and, after the publication of his major book, at both Harvard and Yale University.

Fay's conclusion was that all the European powers shared in the blame, but most of all the system of secret alliances that divided Europe after the Franco-Prussian War into two mutually suspicious camps of group solidarity, Triple Alliance against Triple Entente (Fay's student Allan B. Calhamer, would later develop and publish the game Diplomacy, based on this thesis) but that Austro-Hungary, Serbia and Russia were primarily responsible for the immediate cause of war's outbreak. Other forces besides militarism and nationalism were at work: the economics of imperialism and the newspaper press played roles.[2]

Fay also wrote The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia to 1786 (1937).

He married (17 August 1904) Sarah Eliza Proctor.[3]


  • Germany: Revised and Edited from the Work of Bayard Taylor, H. W. Snow, c. 1910 [P. F. Collier & Son Corporation, c. 1939, "Memorial edition"].
  • The Hohenzollern Household and Administration in the Sixteenth Century, with John Spencer Bassett, Dept. of History of Smith College, 1916.
  • The Origins of the World War, 2 Vols., The Macmillan Company, 1928 [2d ed., rev. New York: Free Press, 1966].
  • The Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia to 1786,, H. Holt and Company, c. 1937 [Reprint, Malabar, Fla.: R.E. Krieger Pub. Co., 1981].
  • A Guide to Historical Literature,, edited by Henry Robinson Shipman, Sidney Bradshaw Fay, Augustus Hunt Shearer, William Henry Allison, The Macmillan Company, 1937.


  • Eduard Fueter (1876-1928), World History, 1815-1920, Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1921, Zurich [translated by Sidney Fay, 1922].
  • Friedrich Meinecke, The German Catastrophe, Harvard University Press, 1950 [translated by Sidney Fay].


  • "The Roman Law and the German Peasant," The American Historical Review, Vol. 16, No. 2, Jan., 1911.
  • "New Light on the Origins of the World War, I. Berlin and Vienna, to July 29," The American Historical Review, Vol. 25, No. 4, Jul., 1920.
  • "Serajevo Fifteen Years After," The Living Age, July 1929.
  • "June 28, 1914," in Eugene Lohrke, Armageddon, 1930.
  • "Peace-Making: 1919, 1945," The Forum, November 1945.
  • "Our Responsibility for German Universities," The Forum, January 1946.
  • "The First U.N.O. Assembly," The Forum, April 1946.
  • "The Power of the Soviet Press," The Forum, August 1947.
  • "The Marshall Plan: Second Phase," The Forum, February 1948.
  • "Germany's Social Structure," The Forum, October 1948.

See also


  1. ^ His thesis research appeared as The Hohenzollern household and administration in the sixteenth century
  2. ^ Excerpt from the Introduction.
  3. ^ Genealogical notice

Further reading

  • Bender, Wilbur J. "Sidney Bradshaw Fay," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Third Series, Vol. 79, 1967.
  • Schmitt, Bernadotte E. "Sidney Bradshaw Fay, 1876-1967," Central European History, Vol. 1, No. 2, Jun., 1968.

External links

  • Bibliography of Sidney Bradshaw Fay
  • Sidney Bradshaw Fay: the Fay Thesis
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