One of the great myths of World War I is that the war was unavoidable. This is far from the truth. Even the participants at the time were well aware of the actions they could have taken to prevent the war from breaking out but simply didn’t. The July Crisis of 1914 clearly demonstrated to everyone that the old system of diplomacy between related sovereign rulers was finished. And the network carefully created by Queen Victoria and Otto von Bismarck was collapsing. Defeated by both technology and nationalism. Here’s how it happened.