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The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914-1918 (Modern Wars)by Holger H. Herwig
Synopses & Reviews
Holger H. Herwig is Professor of History at the University of Calgary, Canada. Modern Wars series general editor Hew Strachan is Chichele Professor of the History of War, University of Oxford.
The First World War: Germany & Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 draws on ten years of archival research to provide the first comprehensive treatment in English of how Germany and Austria-Hungary conducted World War I and what defeat meant to them.
"Full of fascinating detail, strongly argued, and lucidly written, Herwig's study is certain to force a re-evaluation of the origins and course of World War One."—CHOICE
"[Herwig] makes comprehensive use of archival sources . . . [He] combines this original scholarship with comprehensive synthesis of a generation's worth of specialized research. When clear organization and lucid prose are added to the mix, the result is a definitive analytical overview of the Central Powers at war."—The Journal of Military History
"Historian Herwig draws primarily on German and Austro-Hungarian archival sources many of which have become accessible only in the last decade to analyze the surprising weaknesses and blundering of those two powers. Following an informative preface by series editor and historian Hew Strachan and an introduction by the author, Herwig presents a terse narrative of the war's course. Chapter notes and an extensive bibliography contain a large number of German and Austrian official sources, while black-and-white maps illustrate major battles and campaigns . . . Warmly recommended for academic and large public libraries."—Library Journal
This work provides a treatment of how Germany and Austria-Hungary - two of the key belligerents in The Great War - conducted the war and what defeat meant to them. It considers why Vienna opted for war and why Berlin took the calculated risk to back that decision.
The Great War toppled four empires, cost the world 24 million dead, and sowed some of the seeds of another worldwide conflagration 20 years later. Yet, until now, there has been no comprehensive treatment of how Germany and Austria-Hungary - two of the key belligerents - conducted the war and what defeat meant to them. Much of the writing on the war has hallowed the tactical and operational effectiveness of the German army. Yet Germany lost the conflict. In tackling this paradox, Herwig shows how greatly the Central Powers suffered from inadequate resources and an incapacity to manage effectively what they had. He also shows with clarity just how much of Germany's effort was expended in sustaining not only its own war effort but also that of its ally, without any corresponding subordination of Vienna to Berlin, as the economic and military realities required. But it is in his reassessment of Germany's military effectiveness that he offers the most fundamental corrective. For readers accustomed to criticisms of the various Allied commanders, Herwig's examination of the German military effort will have uncanny echoes. Even the famous German offensives of March 1918, regarded as a model of breakthrough operations by interwar theorists, are condemned not just for their lack of strategic objective but even for their tactical failings.
This book draws on ten years of archival research to provide the first comprehensive treatment in English of how Germany and Austria-Hungary conducted World War I and what defeat meant to them.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -478) and index.
Table of Contents
Names, places, and dates
Origins: "Now or never"
The plans of war
The great gamble, 1914
Towards industrialized war, 1915
Dual defeats 1916: From the meuse to the sereth
The long-war reality, 1915-16
A sea-change 1917
The last levy, 1917-18
Operation "Michael":The "last card"
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