To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild
What separates Adam Hochschild's To End All Wars book from other WW1 books is that it is less an account of how and why the war started, and more a study of a group of high-profile individuals and their personal campaigns for and against the conflict. Such was the variety and strength of opinions on the Great War that divisions often emerged within families, resulting in bitter, lifelong disagreements that never resolved themselves.
The Marne, 1914: The Opening of World War I and the Battle That Changed the World (book review)
"The Marne was the most significant land battle of the twentieth century," writes Holger Herwig. Most military historians agree: if the French counterattack along the Marne River had failed in 1914, Germany would have gained hegemony over the European continent. When the Great War started, the first months revealed industrialized warfare with casualties previously unimaginable. The first battles went mostly in Germany's favor - and by September it was clear: France would fight, fiercely, on the Marne River. General Ferdinand Foch, the commander of the French 9th Army, wired: "Hard pressed on my right, my center is falling back, impossible to move, situation excellent. I attack."
The Day We Won the War: Turning Point at Amiens, 8th August 1918 by Charles Messenger
One day in 1918 Handley Page bombers of the RAF flew for hours over the Western Front to cover the noise of battle tanks coming forward for the Battle of Amiens, the key in the campaign that was to result the German surrender 3 months later; the so-called "Hundred Days". History books often look at the early disasters of World War I and ignore the modernity of the Hundred Days. For the attack General Sir Henry Rawlinson's Fourth Army had 600 British and French tanks, of which 100 were supply tanks and 400 were fighting tanks (3/4 of them the new Mark Vs). Not to forget the new (Medium Mark A) "Whippet", a faster tank to collaborate with the cavalry in any breakthrough.
Four new First World War books
November 11 2008 will be the 90th anniversary of the armistice, and the first world war is still a live and raw memory, as these four new WW1 books show. We Will Not Fight: The Untold Story of World War One's Conscientious Objectors by Will Ellsworth-Jones. For King and Country - Voices from the First World War by Brian MacArthur. Casualty Figures: How Five Men Survived the First World War by Michele Barrett. Somme Mud: The Experiences of an Infantryman in France 1916-1919 by EPF Lynch, edited by Will Davies.
Warsaw 1920: Lenin's Failed Conquest of Europe by Adam Zamoyski
The Soviet invasion of Poland in 1920 as a prelude to conquest of Europe is so little discussed by historians that Adam Zamoyski refuses to call it the Polish-Soviet War. Coming so soon after World War I, it has been neglected by everyone except the Poles, and Zamoyski admits that "the events of 1920 seem not only irrelevant, but quaint". Lenin wanted to conquer Poland to create a revolution in Germany; And even more: he wrote to Stalin advising an attack through Romania, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, to provoke revolution in Italy. Stalin replied that "it would be a sin" not to try.
Trench fever - World War One: A Short History by Norman Stone
Despite odd style, fact that content is abbreviated to the point of distortion, and explanation of the causes of the war in simplistic terms Stone's miniature has much to recommend it. He is cogent, describing the Zimmermann telegram as "Germany's suicide note, written in farce". He is disparaging about Haig, said to be the best Scottish general because he killed the most Englishmen. The Austro-Hungarians were so confident before Brusilov's offensive that some of their dug-outs had glass windows; the Roumanians were so unused to war that junior officers had to be ordered not to use eye-shadow. Inside this little book there is a big book struggling to get out.
The authors of the Great War - Interviewing the Authors of the War
On March 17, 1930, Bernadotte Everly Schmitt read a paper "Interviewing the Authors of the War" to the Chicago Literary Club. He did interview Serbia's King Alexander, "a vigorous, keen man of about 40 who received me with great courtesy and talked readily about the problems of his country. But when I was bold enough to mention the name of Col. Dimitriyevich ... His Majesty changed the subject." After consulting with various other Balkan figures and members of the Russian czarist government, the author set out to interview Raymond Poincare, head of France in 1914, whom many considered one of the principal instigators of the war.
A World Undone: The History of the Great War 1914-1918 (Article no longer available from the original source)
G.J. Meyer organizes his book chronologically, and accompanies each chapter with a short background essay: on Europe's ruling families and military commanders, on the war's principal weaponry. -- Why did the war go on so many years of stalemate, with no gains and millions dead in its endless failed offensives? The answer is succinct, and requires only two sentences: "None of the warring governments thought they could possibly accept a settlement in which they did not win something that would justify all the deaths. The war had become self-perpetuating and self-justifying."
Back to the Front: Debates from 1914 to the Present
The global conflict that started in 1914 came to be known as the Great War after 1919 because of the record-breaking casualty figures. After 1945, the same war got designated as the First World War. Historians still hotly debate various issues associated with the world wars — whether the two were part and parcel of a single process or whether the First World War was inevitable. The literature on the First World War is huge and growing, most of it being churned out at Britain, the US, Germany and France. In 1998 alone, over 100 books regarding the Great War were published in France.
Technology Helps the Allied Forces Win World War One
The leader of American forces in Europe was General John J. Pershing. General Pershing used a weapon new to the world of war: air power. Airplanes were used first simply as 'eyes in the sky'. They discovered enemy positions so ground artillery could fire at them. Then they were used as fighter planes. They carried guns to shoot down other planes. Finally, planes were built big enough to carry bombs. General Pershing also used another new weapon of war: tanks. He put these inventions together for his battle plan against Germany.
Routine Life In The Trenches (Article no longer available from the original source)
When troops were not engaged in actual fighting, daily life in trenches took on a routine of sorts. The day would begin with a 'Stand-To' at dawn. At this time, all men needed to be in their allocated firebay (a 10 metre section of the trench, held by 8-10 men), fully equipped and armed, looking forward to detect any possible attack. This lasted for about an hour. During daytime, one man was left on guard duty while the remainder of his section would rest, have breakfast and a tot of rum. After this, the men who were off duty would try to get some sleep. Other soldiers not on front line duty would be bringing up rations, ammunition and other stores.
The war to end all wars
World War I was a war without parallel - all previous wars were eclipsed by its scale of destruction. It was a struggle between Europe's great powers, which were grouped into two hostile alliances. The number of men mobilised by both sides totalled over 65 million. When the fighting was finally over, no-one could tell exactly how many had been killed, but historians estimate that up to 10 million men lost their lives on the battlefield - and another 20 million were wounded. The USA also intervened in European affairs for the first time, with more than 100,000 American troops killed helping to guarantee an allied victory.