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Hostility in Diplomatic Communications: A Study of the 1914 Crisis

McClure, Robert D.; Zinnes, Dina A.; Zinnes, Joseph L.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Diplomatic History, Hostility, International Relations, Markovian Model, World War I


A Markovian model is proposed to account for the hostility in the diplomatic communications exchanged between the six key countries 38 days prior to the outbreak of World War I. The central assumptions of this model are that (1) the intensity of a decision maker's perception of hostility (P) depends only on the immediately preceding perception and the intensity of the hostile messages most recently received (R), and (2) that the intensity of his or her expression of hostility (E) depends only on his or her immediately preceding expression of hostility and his or her current perception of hostility. Preliminary tests of this model involve showing that under certain conditions the (1) P and E transition matrices are a first-rather than zero-order Markov chain, when R and P are held constant, respectively, and (2) R and P affect the P and E transition matrices, respectively.

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