Do Events Ever Take-on a Life of Their Own?

After analyzing many primary-source documents leading up to WWI - including Austria's ultimatum and Serbia's reply - Charles F. Horne (who assembled those many records into a multi-volume Source Records of the Great War) concluded:

The Great War could no more have been avoided than an earthquake or any other cataclysm of Nature's Unknown Forces. (“Source Records of the Great War,” Vol 1, edited by Charles F. Horne, page xvii.)

If Horne is right, what does that tell us about the power of events versus the power of people to rationally discuss the issues?

Do events ever take-on a life of their own, despite human intervention? If so, what makes human intervention ineffective?

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