The First World War

( 2 )


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.
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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.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
★ 11/01/2013
Draws primarily on German and Austro-Hungarian archival sources to analyze the weaknesses and blundering of these two powers. (LJ 3/15/97)
Library Journal
Historian Herwig (Biographical Dictionary of World War I, LJ 12/15/82) 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. For separate treatments of the two major Central Powers, libraries are referred to Samuel R. Williamson's Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War (St. Martin's, 1991) and Rod Paschall's The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918 (Algonquin, 1989). Warmly recommended for academic and large public libraries.-Harry E. Whitmore, formerly with Univ. of Maine at Augusta, Portland
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780340573488
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
  • Publication date: 11/29/1996
  • Series: Modern Wars Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 1,390,633
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Maps
General Editor's Preface
Names, places, and dates
Introduction 1
1 Origins: 'Now or Never' 6
Vienna: War as Salvation 8
Berlin: The 'Calculated Risk' 18
The 'Leap into the Dark' 23
Questionable Allies: Britain and Italy 29
The 'Mood of 1914' 33
2 The Plans of War 43
Almost Allies: Conrad and Moltke to 1914 45
Conrad von Hotzendorf: War at any Price 52
Moltke: The March to the Marne 56
Plan 19: The Russian 'Steamroller' 62
Plan XVII: A Berlin 65
Britain: Continental Commitment? 69
3 The Great Gamble, 1914 75
'This War is Great and Wonderful' 76
Tannenberg: Reality and Myth 81
Conrad's War 87
The Battle of the Marne 96
The Last Hurrah 106
4 Towards Industrialized War, 1915 126
The German Command System Implodes 130
Wars of 'Limited Means' 135
The Italian 'Snake' 149
'The Bones of a Pomeranian Grenadier' 154
Deadlock: The Western Front 164
5 Dual defeats: from the Meuse to the Sereth, 1916 179
Verdun: 'The Heart of France' 183
The Somme: 'Battles of Material' 199
Lutsk: 'Lack of Luck' 204
The Romanian Detour 217
6 The long-war reality, 1915-16 228
Austria-Hungary: On the Brink 230
Of Men and Machines: The Third OHL 244
'Total War': Reality and Myth 254
7 Survival 271
Hunger: Austria-Hungary 272
Beleaguered Fortress: Germany 283
Death, Disease, and Doctors 296
The Politics of 'Total' War 302
8 A sea-change, 1917 311
U-Boat Warfare: Playing Va Banque 312
The Nivelle Offensive: A Berlin Once More 325
Triumph in the East 333
Caporetto: A Cosmetic Victory 336
9 The last levy, 1917-18 351
The Hollow Ally 352
Strikes and Mutinies 361
The k.u.k. Army Disintegrates 365
Germany: Mutinies, Strikes and Megalomania 373
10 Operation Michael: the 'last card' 392
Tactical Virtuosity 393
The Battle 400
The Turning Point 416
11 Defeat, 1918-19 433
Finis Austriae 433
Finis Prussiae 440
Bibliography 453
Index 479
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Professor Herwig's Masterpiece

    One remarkable book! Professor Herwig has encapsulated the deconstruction of two empires through their military, social, political and economic missteps from the shots fired at Sarajevo through the Treaty of Versailles with balance and fair appraisals. This is most likely due to the 2156 captured military files returned to Germany from the Soviet Union in the mid-1980's which he acknowledges in his Introduction. I found that had this information not been available readers would have treated to another turgid example of Entente supremacy over the Central Powers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2000

    A book not to miss

    Already the size of the book (490 pages) gives a clue to the amount of research that Professor Herwig must have undertaken on this project, and upon reading the book, it is clear that he most certainly has done his homework. This has to be the most comprehensive study of the Central Powers in WWI written in English (and perhaps even in any language) to date; the book is a wealth of information on the general strategies, campaigns, political climates, and personalities of Germany and Austria-Hungary during the Great War. As a researcher of the Generals of these two nations, I am used to dealing with dry, even esoteric, data and facts. In his book, Professor Herwig has provided fascinating insights into the Generals¿ military and personal lives and quirks, as well as lucidly explaining the reasons for the eventual collapse and defeat of the Imperial German and k.u.k. Armies. The book is written in a style that makes it easy to read and understand, yet provides in-depth analyses of how Germany and Austria-Hungary waged the war that would be useful to any historian engaged in studying this subject. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in World War I - it is easily worth twice the price for which it sells! On a scale of one to ten, I unhesitatingly award it ten.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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