Thanks, Ed! My quibbles are below, but I agree 100% with the obvious truth that the fundamental flaw was the attachment of nationalism to liberalism in the 19th century: the cases included Poland, Italy, Romania, and of course Hungary as the paradigm in 1848.
Allow me to suggest "The Rising National Individualism," by Herbert Adolphus Miller. The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 19, No. 5 (Mar., 1914), pp. 592-605 . By "national individualism" the author means national socialism. In other words, rather than coming together in international socialism, each nation was going its own way with its own culture, i.e., national individualism. As we know the Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem, when the "Pledge of Allegiance" became common in public schools, because progressives wanted an "American culture" on par with those of Germany, France, etc. They got their wish. In 1914, the author identified increased nationalism as pulling apart Europe (especially Eastern Europe's Austrian Empire). He was wrong about the immediate war: Miller suggested that perhaps the Slavs within the Austrian Empire would refuse to fight against Russia. However, he was sadly very correct in the post-war era of fascism. Romania was a kingdom; Jugoslavia was a kingdom; Albania, Greece, Bulgaria, all were kingdoms. (Greece became a fascist dictatorship on the eve of the Italian invasion.)
In a sense, this war lasted from 1912 to 1999. It was a European civil war. The actual assassination of Franz Ferdinand was a surprise in that the immediate conflict was between Europe and the Ottoman Empire. (The Balkan War of 1912-1913.) That the Ottoman Empire would ally with Austria was also unexpected but clear in 20-20 hindsight: they both hated Balkan nationalisms. And it continued through the Kosovo War of the Clinton Administration.
Moreover, the consequences must include Palestine and Israel. "Lawrence of Arabia" was a sideshow then but was the center ring for many years. Today's headlines from Iraq are no less a result of World War One, with the British receiving "mandates" in what was the Ottoman Empire: Iraq, Palestine, Arabia.
1. It is not clear that Franz Ferdinand would have empowered an array of local kingdoms of Slovaks, Slovenes, Hungarians, Poles, etc., etc., within his empire. As the crown prince of Austria, he was the king of Hungary, but he was not actually Hungarian, of course. It was a pattern then that each new czar, each new pope was supposed to be more liberal than the last and bring in the much-needed reforms. It never happened.
2. The alliances did indeed bring a world war, however, it is important to realize that these were mutually contradictory secret alliances. It took about a month to play out. Opinion was that family ties would put England, Germany, and Russia on the same side against France, Italy, and Austria. Remember that Bismarck kicked Austria out of the German Confederation. It was not clear from public manifestations that Austria and Germany would be on the same side. It is just that Austria and Italy had more enmity. (I lost a great uncle in that, a Hungarian in the Austrian army.) The cascading declarations of war were a surprise to everyone.
3. Everyone expected a quick end. Given the Crimean War, the Seven Weeks' War, the Franco-Prussian War, no one saw civilization grinding down to starvation, except perhaps H. G. Wells.