This study examines what led the leaders of Austria-Hungary and Germany to launch major military offensives at the beginning of the First World War. The focus is on understanding why these two countries adopted high-risk offensive strategies during an international confrontation rather than a defensive military stance. The decision to attack or defend did not occur in a political vacuum. The leaders of Austria-Hungary and Germany adopted offensive strategies as a way to achieve their political ambitions. The offensives undertaken by Austria-Hungary and Germany in 1914 thus reflected their political goals as well as the strategic doctrines of war planners. The concluding chapter of this study explores why deterrence failed in 1914.