The Imperial War Museum Book of 1918: Year of Victory available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Sidgwick & Jackson, Limited
Published on the eightieth anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, this book tells the story of a year during which the casualty lists on all sides were longer, the turns of fortune were most remarkable, and action was most intense.
|Publisher:||Sidgwick & Jackson, Limited|
|Product dimensions:||6.60(w) x 9.03(h) x 1.40(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This recent book by Malcolm Brown examines the volatile ups and downs on the Western Front in the war's final year. This is not purely a military history, however. There are other significant portions of the book devoted to civilian life, the Spanish flu, and the rarely discussed post-war demobilization process. Utilizing the Imperial War Museum's vast collection of wartime letters, diaries, and other personal narratives, Brown's descriptions come to life with the immediacy and imagery arising from these sources. 1918 is organized chronologically by chapter, starting with the forlorn 1918 New Year's Day. After 3 1/2 years of uninterrupted warfare and shocking attrition, many soldiers and civilians alike had come to the conclusion that the war might go on several more years - perhaps even forever! However, behind the front lines the situation was becoming increasingly fluid. Though Germany had finally knocked Russia out of the war, an even more ominous opponent was readying itself to join this 'war to end all wars'. Thus, Ludendorff planned to make 1918 the deciding year of the war. Germany would gamble all-out on either a decisive victory or an abject defeat. And so in March the Western Front again came alive. Only this time it really would be different. Ludendorff's stormtroopers had done the impossible! The tore a huge gap in the British lines, overrunning rearward positions, and broke out into the open. Frantically, the British and French rushed forward troops to hold back the massive gray tide. Then, just as Operation Michael came to a halt in front of Amiens, Ludendorff started a new offensive to cut off and destroy the British Army in Flanders. But it was not to be. Though Germany launched frighteningly effective offensives, it lacked the logistic and manpower strength to make their victories decisive. Again and again, Ludendorff launched ever smaller and less successful attacks. Until one day in August, the British struck back - a day Ludendorff called the 'black day of the German Army'. There would be no more German offensives. The Allies, after being on the defensive the first seven months of the year, launched a near continous set of offensive campaigns that bagged hundreds of thousands of prisoners and began recapturing long lost territory at an increasingly rapid pace. The last hundred days saw the British advance relentlessly in the face of staggering casualties. Likewise, the Americans, after their lightning success at St. Mihiel, pushed through heavily defended, multiple lines in the Argonne. Things then began to completely fall apart for Germany, and it sued for peace. After such sacrifice on all sides, the war's end was totally anti-climactic. Soldiers of all nations only wanted to return to their homeland - many of them to secure their own national independence. Allied soldiers, especially, found themselves stranded across Europe and the Middle East, where many often remained for a year or more. And to these somewhat unfortunate souls, Brown does his best to grant them their justice. All in all, this is an excellent overview of the last year of the war. I recommend this book.