World War I: A History

Overview


The First World War has shaped the history of the twentieth century. It was the first conflict in which airplanes, submarines, and tanks played a significant role, the first in which casualties on the battlefield outnumbered those from disease. It precipitated the collapse of the empires of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and it promoted revolution in that of Russia. The USA's entry into the war and the part it played in the peace settlement signalled the arrival on the world stage of a new great power. The victors ...
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Overview


The First World War has shaped the history of the twentieth century. It was the first conflict in which airplanes, submarines, and tanks played a significant role, the first in which casualties on the battlefield outnumbered those from disease. It precipitated the collapse of the empires of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and it promoted revolution in that of Russia. The USA's entry into the war and the part it played in the peace settlement signalled the arrival on the world stage of a new great power. The victors at Versailles took nationalism as one of their guiding principles; they also aimed at instituting their vision of liberalism and even democracy; the political consequences are still being played out.
In this extensively illustrated book, an international team of experts explores the war in all its different aspects. From its causes to its consequences, from the strategy of the politicians to the tactics of the generals, the course of the war is charted and its political and human consequences assessed. Chapters on economic mobilization, the impact on women, the role of propaganda, and the rise of socialism establish the wider social context of fighting which took place at sea and in the air and which ranged on land from the Flanders trenches to the Balkan mountains and the deserts of the Middle East.
The legacy of 'the war to end wars'--in poetry and prose, in collective memory and political culture--is with us still, eighty years after that first Armistice Day. This remarkable book helps us understand that legacy.
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Editorial Reviews

Harry O. Lang Jr.
Insights into these historical events are extensive and written with a strong sense of diligent research. . . This is a good book for general audiences and scholars alike. -- ForeWord Magazine
Library Journal
Strachan (modern history, Univ. of Glasgow; The Politics of the British Army, Oxford Univ., 1997), most familiar from his work in the London Times, has collected a remarkable series of essays on a variety of issues raised by the Great War. Although the essays are often difficult to read without a deep understanding of the period, they illuminate complex and often misunderstood territory. Gail Braybon's take on women's roles enormously complicates the idea of women as a monolithic class. Strachan's economic approach to mobilization and B.J. McKercher's discussion of economic warfare considerably expand and complement the more familiar tactical and strategic summaries. Many of the essayists take care to place the greatest event of that generation in the context of future events, both in the tactical and in the larger social sphere. Highly recommended for most libraries.--Edwin B. Burgess, U.S. Army Combined Arms Research Lib., Fort Leavenworth, KS
Kirkus Reviews
A solid yet concise illustrated history of the Great War by a team of international scholars. Oxford has set the standard in illustrated histories, and this one doesn't disappoint. Though hardly revisionist, some of the essays do offer fresh insights into the conflict. David Killingray analyzes the war's impact on Africa, already balkanized by colonization from the great European powers. Though most Africans were spared the horrors of direct participation, African economies were still torn asunder, and hundreds of thousands died from famine. Editor Strachan (Modern History/Univ. of Glasgow, Scotland) argues in a later essay that, unlike other wars, WWI was financed almost entirely through credit, not taxes (this legacy wreaked havoc on postwar Weimar Germany). Another standout piece, by Gail Braybon, posits that historians have overemphasized WWI as the catalyst for moving women into the work force. In Europe, she claims, many of the women who worked during the war had already worked before 1914. What changed was their kind of service: non-farm women who were domestics or childcare workers traded in those low-wage jobs for industrial labor. In the anthology's final essay, Modris Eksteins provides a poignant (though overly short and superficial) exploration of the Great War and historical memory. What remained for Europe after ten million were dead and twice that number mutilated? Throughout the continent, some postwar artists and writers tried to give voice to the suffering they had seen, while others abided by an unwritten code of silence. In more recent decades, the war has been washed with a kind of romanticism, as hordes of tourists descend on the now-parklike battlefields of theSomme and Verdun. Strachan has chosen wisely, and offers a well-conceived (if brief) introduction. In all, a worthwhile contribution to WWI literature. (16 pages color, 140 b&w illustrations, 7 maps, not seen) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198206149
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/4/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hew Strachan is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the author of The Politics of the British Army (OUP, 1997).

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Table of Contents

List of Colour Plates
List of Maps
Notes on Contributors
Introduction 1
1 The Origins of the War 9
2 The Strategy of the Central Powers, 1914-1917 26
3 Manoeuvre Warfare: The Eastern and Western Fronts, 1914-1915 39
4 The Strategy of the Entente Powers, 1914-1917 54
5 The Balkans, 1914-1918 66
6 Turkey's War 80
7 The War in Africa 92
8 The War at Sea 104
9 Economic Warfare 119
10 Economic Mobilization: Money, Munitions, and Machines 134
11 Women, War, and Work 149
12 The Challenge to Liberalism: The Politics of the Home Fronts 163
13 Eastern Front and Western Front, 1916-1917 179
14 Mutinies and Military Morale 191
15 War Aims and Peace Negotiations 204
16 Propaganda and the Mobilization of Consent 216
17 Socialism, Peace, and Revolution, 1917-1918 227
18 The Entry of the USA into the War and its Effects 239
19 The German Victories, 1917-1918 253
20 The War in the Air 265
21 The Allied Victories, 1918 278
22 The Peace Settlement 291
23 Memory and the Great War 305
Further Reading 319
Illustration Sources 347
Index 349
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