… is from Steve Davies’s January 2004 essay “From Pennsylvania to Verdun: Friedrich List and the Origins of World War I ” (typo corrected):
The most serious result of List’s ideas, however, was a change in people’s thinking and perception. Instead of seeing trade as a cooperative process of mutual benefit, politicians and businessmen came to regard it as a struggle with winners and losers. Germany’s leaders, instead of seeing Russia’s rapid growth after 1890 as an opportunity and blessing, agonized over it as a terrible threat. Their response was the idea of “MittelEuropa,” a customs union including Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Balkans, which would supply Germany with raw materials while providing a captive market. The leaders also advocated colonies outside Europe and a “blue water” navy. This provoked a similar and hostile response from other powers, especially from Russia. The result was a clash of imperialisms in the Balkans, and in July 1914 the German elite took the (insanely foolish) decision to fight a war with Russia and France. Had they seen the world differently this would not have happened.