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This is a history book. Year 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday in the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Wednesday in the Julian calendar. This year saw the beginning of what became known as World War I. For years past I had regarded a general war in Europe as an eventual certainty. The experience which I gained during the seven or eight years spent as a member of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and my three years tenure of the Office of Chief of the General Staff, greatly strengthened this conviction.