Poor Smedley--at the time of his death (1940), the most decorated Marine Corp officer in history--revealed that most of his troop's forays into foreign lands between 1900-20 were not to save democracy, or get the bad guys, but rather, "banana wars" to further the selfish interests of the big, powerful corporations who had $$$ interests in those places.
So it was with WW I... Big bankers in the US, England, France, and Germany worked together quite well (why fight, when you can make the bucks?) to manipulate events from start to finish of the "Great War," in order rack up unheard-of profits. They could not have cared less about patriotism, nationalism, and so forth. Their sole focus was on $$$$$$$$. Welcome to the real world...
Proof--besides many books,like Butler's--arrived a bit late with the 1934-36 Nye Committee's (US Congress) findings: namely, that WW I was largely influenced by big financiers on both sides of the Atlantic. Some Internet sources presently claim, No Hard Evidence" (i.e., but yes, some "soft" proof) presented by Nye, BUT should we be surprised? = WW II was just on the horizon = $$$$$$ And aren't such individuals still doing the same thing now? You know--The Merchants of Death.
The Nye Committee, officially known as the Special Committee on Investigation of the Munitions Industry, was a United States Senate committee chaired by U.S. Senator Gerald Nye. The committee investigated the financial and banking interests which underlay United States' involvement in World War I, and was a significant factor in public and political support for American neutrality in the early stages of World War II.