To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

3.9 38
by Adam Hochschild

ISBN-10: 0618758283

ISBN-13: 2900618758288

Pub. Date: 05/03/2011

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

"This is the kind of investigatory history Hochschild pulls off like no one else . . . Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged." — Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Over four long years, nations

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"This is the kind of investigatory history Hochschild pulls off like no one else . . . Hochschild is a master at chronicling how prevailing cultural opinion is formed and, less frequently, how it's challenged." — Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air

World War I was supposed to be the “war to end all wars.” Over four long years, nations around the globe were sucked into the tempest, and millions of men died on the battlefields. To this day, the war stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation.

To End All Wars focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Many of these dissenters were thrown in jail for their opposition to the war, from a future Nobel Prize winner to an editor behind bars who distributed a clandestine newspaper on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other.

As Adam Hochschild brings the Great War to life as never before, he forces us to confront the big questions: Why did so many nations get so swept up in the violence? Why couldn’t cooler heads prevail? And can we ever avoid repeating history?

"Hochschild brings fresh drama to the story and explores it in provocative ways . . . Exemplary in all respects." — Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

"Superb . . . Brilliantly written and reads like a novel . . . [Hochschild] gives us yet another absorbing chronicle of the redeeming power of protest." — Minneapolis Star Tribune

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Table of Contents

List of Maps ix
Introduction: Clash of Dreams xi
Part I Dramatis Personae
 1. Brother and Sister 3
 2. A Man of No Illusions 16
 3. A Clergyman’s Daughter 27
 4. Holy Warriors 40
 5. Boy Miner 54
 6. On the Eve 65
Part II 1914
 7. A Strange Light 79
 8. As Swimmers into Cleanness Leaping 98
 9. The God of Right Will Watch the Fight 114
Part III 1915
 10. This Isn’t War 135
 11. In the Thick of It 147
 12. Not This Tide 160
Part IV 1916
 13. We Regret Nothing 177
 14. God, God, Where’s the Rest of the Boys? 200
 15. Casting Away Arms 215
Part V 1917
 16. Between the Lion’s Jaws 241
 17. The World Is My Country 257
 18. Drowning on Land 275
 19. Please Don’t Die 289
Part VI 1918
 20. Backs to the Wall 309
 21. There Are More Dead Than Living Now 329
Part VII Exeunt Omnes
 22. The Devil’s Own Hand 347
 23. An Imaginary Cemetery 360
Source Notes 379
Bibliography 411
Acknowledgments 423
Index 427
About the Author 449

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To End All Wars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 38 reviews.
SheilaCE More than 1 year ago
It was supposed to be the war to end all wars-the Great War. Millions gave the ultimate sacrifice, their very lives, and World War I is still to this day not entirely understood by historians. The violence and widespread carnage of those years simply cannot be understood by any rational means. It becomes necessary to look at the very real human elements, to delve into the hearts and minds of those that stood their ground in support of their own ideals and fought for that in which they so fervently believed, whether based in principles of peace or war, in order to comprehend the true nature of the period. There is a great deal of relevance here. The grand tension of this period is represented best by those who struggled most as either loyal proponents of military action or opponents of the first great global conflict. Adam Hochschild's latest work, To End All Wars, serves as an exploration not of the gruesome battles scenes and bloody victories of this war but of the soldiers and pacifists, the commanders and rebels who fought long and hard, sometimes to the point of their deaths, in order to maintain their own personal struggles in the hopes of prevailing. Both sides were pitted against impressive odds: families were torn apart by the disparate beliefs of their members, and citizens were arrested and imprisoned for their dissent. What reasons are there? What ideas and values were driving these people? To End All Wars is an intimate, captivating investigation into the people behind the action of World War I. Hochschild is a well-known and accomplished author who has contributed works to some of the world's most read publications. History is his specialty, and this is history at its finest. Journey beyond the textbook account to the very real struggle of those that fought in order to end all wars. To End All Wars is bound to be appreciated by non-fiction readers who delight in reading about the world of the past. Of course, those who have an obsession with the World War I era should consider this an absolute must-read. And fans of Hochschild's previous books already know to expect great things from this release.
grandmat03053 More than 1 year ago
Gritty, horrifying in places and a difficult read. There have been many books that glorify war; this is not one. Nor is it simply a condemnation of war. This book makes the shocking aspects of war uncomfortably real. It's well written and researched. I'd recommend it and will read it again.
Hommasse More than 1 year ago
If you ever needed to understand the stupidity of war, and the men who make them, read this book. One comes away wondering if such men exist today, somehow knowing that they do, and wishing it were not true. If you think war is ever necessary this book will, at the very least, give you reason to pause before allowing young men to go to war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting as an in-depth explanation of the anti-war movement in England during WWI.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is simply an outstanding book on every level. I highly recommend it to anyone interetsed in exploring how ordinary people's lives intertwine to create history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Picked this book up because I was interested in a book that could describe the reasons  and outcomes of a war I knew very little about. This book is written mostly from the British prospective. It focuses on that 19th century colonial power whose leaders had lost touch with or were ignorant of 20th century "modern" warfare. The accounts of chauvinistic military leadership expecting to fight a war with horses, riders, and swords and the unimaginable number of casualties, which could have been avoided -- on all sides was, even a century later, simply shocking. The story includes the workers' struggle in those early days of the 20th century -- a story that is as powerful, as  historical, as important, and as timeless as the military history of the times and what we humans never seem to learn from history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although it is a well written book- it drags. I found it hard to remember whom each person was and what their role was in WWI whether it be pro or anti war. While I found the book interesting, I was just looking for a bit more information in regards to the actual war not necessarily just the opposition to it primarily by well to do citizens. If you are looking for a book to show you how WWI impacted the average citizens life- this isn't it.
willyvan More than 1 year ago
This is an exasperating book, good on the personalities of those whom Adam Hochschild picks to represent the two sides of the divide – the pro-war activists and the opponents of the First World War – but it is superficial, impressionistic and anecdotal, more gossip than history. Hochschild has found some good material. For example, he cites an army officer who wrote, “A good big war just now might do a lot of good in killing Socialist nonsense and would probably put a stop to all this labour unrest.” Then as now the media assumed the morality of the state’s wars. Hochschild calls the British government’s publicity campaign, ‘The greatest political propaganda barrage history had seen’. John Buchan, one of its key writers, wrote, “So far as Britain is concerned, the war could not have been fought for one month without its newspapers.” The British state used its well-practised tactics of censorship: the government did not ban, where it could discourage, and it did not discourage, where it was safe or politic to ignore. Of the government poster, ‘Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great War?’, Bob Smillie, a leading Scottish miner, said his reply would be, “I tried to stop the bloody thing, my child.” Hochschild cites Rudyard Kipling’s lines expressing a soldier’s thought - “If any question why we died, Tell them, because our fathers lied.” However, this is not enigmatic, as Hochschild calls it, but clear and true. But the government did not just put out lies. It created organisations to back the state: Sir Alfred Milner founded the pro-war British Workers’ League, precursor of the Union of Democratic Mineworkers and many others. So Hochschild does tell some good stories, but he writes far more about General Haig, Milner, Kipling and Buchan than he does about those who opposed the war: there are two index entries to General Sir John French, commander of the British army in Flanders, for every one to his anti-war sister Charlotte Despard, and two to Milner for every one to Bertrand Russell. More important, Hochschild never has a good word to say about those whose opposition to the war actually ended it. Milner had said in March 1918, “our real danger now is not the Boches but Bolshevism.” All the warring states turned to attack this new main enemy - and now Hochschild does so too. He slanders Lenin as writing only ‘acerbic articles and pamphlets attacking rivals on the left and predicting the imminent demise of capitalism’, ignoring his many articles opposing the war. Hochschild damns those present at the 1916 anti-war Kiental meeting, including Lenin, as ‘mostly sectarian ideologues’. This conference called for an immediate peace and called on all socialist deputies never to vote for war credits (unlike the Second International which had voted for war credits in 1914). Hochschild writes that Emily Hobhouse “was the sole person from any of the warring countries who actually journeyed to the other side in search of peace”, forgetting that he actually wrote about the Bolsheviks who travelled into German-occupied territory in December 1917 and negotiated an armistice. So, this is a divided book about a divided nation. Hochschild’s liberalism allows him to praise those who opposed the war as pacifists, but this same worldview stops him praising those who by making war on the war ended it.
jrwils56 More than 1 year ago
I well written book but it is so sad to see how pigheaded our leadership can big. How can civilized men think of war as a sport?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this up because I read Hochschild's "King Leopold's Ghost" and the author told the story of WWI in a similar, powerful storyline with multiple 3rd person viewpoints. Stories about trench warfare truly horrified me. Hochschild wrote about a big offensive in Belgium, and described how tens of thousands of soldiers drowned, being nowhere near the sea, because of severe rains and soldiers literally stuck in the mud in the trenches. Even though history has already been written, Hochschild wrote in a way that made me fervently hope the ending would be different for the soldiers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy history books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And to think that we lost an entire generation of men because the world was being held hostage by three morons: King George of England, Nicholas the Russian Tsar and Cousin Willie the Kaiser Nicholas the Tsar of Russia, and dear old Cousin Willie.  Deprived of oxygen at firth for a substantial time he was a wee bit "off" but yet assumed the Throne and became Kaiser William of Prussia.  Talk about a travesty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent story about WWI centered on true characters and events. So well-written it often made me angry to think this actually happened and yet only twenty years later we launched into WWII.
WriteReason More than 1 year ago
Well written, and researched.  It tells a lot about the lives of people during this Great Awful War.  The blundering leaders who could not understand the fast changing times--still clinging to antiquated ways to conduct war; calvary charges, throwing men continuously into harms way by having them charge over the tops of trenches into ravenous rapid firing machine guns, and tangled barbed wire.  The soldiers who bade the call to arms, and threw themselves into the turmoil of mud, blood and lead.  Those opposed to the war, and how their free government tried to hush their cries of outrage against the hundreds of thousands of young men ordered to throw their lives away in a totally needless war.  Well done.  It captures the time period, and reveals to us that war is not glorious, our leaders not always legitimate in knowing what's best for us, and that thousands of young lives were wasted  in a very futile war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched but should have focused more on the anti war movement. Seems like the author could have written two good books but instead wrote an average one
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heartbreaking to read about the horrors of WWII through the stories of war resisters and conscientious objectors. Sad and fascinating.
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