It’s often said that a Anglo-German arms race, combined with an increasingly militaristic psyche (particularly for the latter) was to blame for the outbreak of World War One. But data provided in Niall Ferguson’s The Pity of War suggests otherwise. German expenditure as % if net national product was lower than Russia, France and Italy in the period 1873 – 1913. Indeed, France was almost certainly the most militarised country in Europe, with 2.29% if the population in the army and navy.
Defence expenditures as a percentage of net national product, 1887-1913
Clearly Russia and France have the highest average expenditure over the period – Germany and Austria are in fact near the bottom of the table.
Average defence expenditure as a percentage of net national product, 1887-1913
Russian data for this graph is 1893 – 1913.
|1870 – 1913 Average||3.1||4||4.5||3.2||3.1||3.3|