Germany’s Western Front
Translations from the German Official History of the Great War, 1914, Part 1
Publication Year: 2013
This multi-volume series in six parts is the first English-language translation of Der Weltkrieg, the German official history of the First World War. Originally produced between 1925 and 1944 using classified archival records that were destroyed in the aftermath of the Second World War, Der Weltkrieg is the inside story of Germany’s experience on the Western front. Recorded in the words of its official historians, this account is vital to the study of the war and official memory in Weimar and Nazi Germany. Although exciting new sources have been uncovered in former Soviet archives, this work remains the basis of future scholarship. It is essential reading for any scholar, graduate student, or enthusiast of the Great War.
This volume, the second to be published, covers the outbreak of war in JulyAugust 1914, the German invasion of Belgium, the Battles of the Frontiers, and the pursuit to the Marne in early September 1914. The first month of war was a critical period for the German army and, as the official history makes clear, the German war plan was a gamble that seemed to present the only solution to the riddle of the two-front war. But as the Moltke-Schlieffen Plan was gradually jettisoned through a combination of intentional command decisions and confused communications, Germany’s hopes for a quick and victorious campaign evaporated.
Published by: Wilfrid Laurier University Press
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Title Page, Copyright
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List of Maps, Sketches, and Figures ................................ ixForeword ........................................................xvAcknowledgements ..............................................xxvIntroduction ......................................................1A Note on the Translation and Sources ............................ 15...
list of maps, sketches,and figures
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All maps and sketches have been translated and prepared by Mark Humphries from the original German maps and sketches provided with Der Weltkrieg map 1: The Western Front – Northern France and Belgium ................. xiLuxembourg ...................................................... xiimap 3: The Western Front – Alsace and Lorraine .......................xiii...
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War is a reactive business, a competition whose outcome is dependent not on some sort of absolute standard of excellence on the part of one side, but on the relative superiority of one side over another. It is this relationship—the dynamic between two opponents as each struggles to impose its will on the other—that should be at the heart of operational military history. But it rarely is. Military ...
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This first volume of germany’s western front—the second to be published in the series but the first in numerical order—is the work of many hands. The series began in 2006 with a search for existing translations from scat-tered German-language sources in Ottawa, Pennsylvania, Washington, Kansas, and London. In Ottawa, Tim Cook, Owen Cooke, Sarah Cozzi, Steve Harris, Andrew ...
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On 14 April 1945, a british bomber dropped several five-ton bombs over the Bauhausberg in Potsdam. They pierced the roof of the German national archive’s warehouse and fell through seven floors of documents, exploding in the basement. The combination of incendiary devices and high explosives melted the steel girders holding up the warehouse’s immense collection of books and papers. ...
a note on the translationand sources
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This volume of germany’s western front has two parts. each consists of translated material from Volumes I and III of Der Weltkrieg, 1914 bis 1918: Die mil-itärischen Operationen zu Lande.1 In this book, “Part I: The Battle of the Frontiers in the West,” is taken from Volume I, Die Grenzschlachten im Westen (originally published in 719 pages).2 We include translations of pages 3–78, 101–54, 179–88, ...
PART IPpThe Battle of theFrontiers in the West
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Among the nations of Europe, Germany has always been most exposed to the danger of war because of its location at the centre of the continent. This has been proved over centuries of European history. The old German Empire had to repeat-edly defend itself against attacks simultaneously from the East and the West and it is no coincidence that during the last Turkish assault on Vienna, Strasbourg was ...
IIPpThe Campaign Planfor the Western Front
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At the end of the 1870s, Generalfeldmarschall Count Helmuth von Moltke’s deployment and operational plans assumed that during the initial period of a war with France, Germany would mount a strategic defence.1 This was based on the assumption that the French would rally several armies on the upper Moselle behind the Meuse between Epinal and Verdun and that they would only push ...
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Initial Border and Railway Security Operations in the West and the At the start of the war, the German General Staff believed that the French—pos-sibly even before war was declared—would attempt to disturb German mobiliza-tion and deployment by systematically blasting railway bridges and tunnels, by initiating air attacks against railway buildings and trains (especially those travelling ...
IVPpThe Beginning ofMajor Operations
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Supreme command in war belonged to the emperor, to whom was subordinated, according to the Constitution of the German Empire, all the armed forces on land and at sea.1 According to the peacetime regulations, the adviser responsible for the war on land was the Chief of the General Staff of the Field Army (Chef Gen-erstabes des Feldheeres), while the war at sea fell under the purview of the Chief of ...
VPpThe Battle of the Frontiers
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While the German wheeling wing—First, Second, and Third Armies—advanced on the army’s far right, German Fourth and Fifth Armies prepared to begin their own offensive in the Army’s centre .1 Fourth Army was to deploy so as to be in position to wheel to the south to support Fifth Army if it were threatened with attack, or to later intervene in Third Army’s operations on its right . Its orders were to advance between ...
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Anticipating victory, on 25 August, Second Army’s Commander-in-Chief once again travelled to the southern front from Somzée. There he anxiously awaited news of the effects of the previous day’s fighting; he hoped that on 25 August the campaign might be decided on the German Army’s right wing. The enemy’s whereabouts remained unclear. Third Army, which had just designated the ...
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...“We do not want to conquer anything, only defend what we possess. We will probably never be the attackers, always the attacked. However, only the offensive can bring us the necessary quick success with certainty.” With these words from its 1902 memorandum, the German General Staff distinctly stated Germany’s military aims. The most important proviso for the necessary “quick success” was ...
PART IIPpFrom the Sambreto the Marne
VIIIPpThe OHL at the Beginning of the NewPhase of Operations
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The first news of the victory in east prussia arrived at the ohl in Coblenz on 27 August 1914. In his dispatch, General Paul von Hindenburg reported that he was looking forward to dealing with the Russian Army at Tannenberg by the evening of the next day. Two corps had just been deployed from the Western Front to reinforce his army. Consequently, the situation in East Prussia would not ...
IXPpOperations onthe Meuse and Aisne
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On 25 August, Fourth Army continued to pursue French troops retreating from Neuf-château, attacking the enemy’s positions on the Meuse and Chiers on the battlefield of Sedan, where German troops had achieved victory in 1870 .1 At 19:00 on 26 August, Fourth Army Headquarters reported to the OHL, “Attack on Donchery–Sedan pro-ceeding . Army’s left wing acquired the line Sailly–Olizy and is advancing on the ...
XPpThe Operations of First and SecondArmies to the Oise
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On the German Army’s right flank, First Army under General von Kluck had reached the line Péronne–Bohain on the afternoon of 27 August after pursuing The II Corps was deployed on the Army’s right wing and, in concert with Senior Cavalry Commander 2, had been tasked with preventing the enemy from escaping to the west and north of the Somme sector, below Péronne. Consequently, ...
XIPpThe OHL, 29–30 August
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On the german army’s left wing, the critical situation created by the enemy’s counterattack on 25 August against Sixth Army’s flank had been eliminated by noon on 27 August .1 Sixth Army’s right wing had stopped the attack along the line Grémecey (southwest of Château-Salins)–Bezange la Grande–Einville–Lunéville; the left wing was deployed to the rear of the line Mortagne–Belville Creek–Baccarat . In ...
XIIPpThe Pursuit by theGerman Right Wing to the Marne,31 August–2 September
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Third, Fourth, and Fifth Armies, representing the centre and left wing of the great pivoting front, were still involved in slow but progressing battles for the Aisne and Meuse sectors. Meanwhile, on the extreme right flank, First Army tirelessly endeavoured to reap the rewards of Second Army’s victory at St. Quentin by relentlessly pursuing the French south and even attempting to cut off their retreat ...
XIIIPpThe OHL,31 August–2 September
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As the german right wing crossed the aisne, sixth and seventh army’s mission in the Imperial Provinces remained unclear .1 On 31 August, Sixth Army Headquarters dispatched Major von Xylander to the OHL to clarify the transfer of artillery for the new operation that Major Bauer had ordered the day before . But the instructions issued by Tappen only confused the situation further . In part they read: ...
XIVPpThe Pursuit of theGerman Right Wing across theMarne on 3–4 September
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First Army Headquarters had hoped to provide Second Army’s frontal pursuit with effective flanking support by advancing both its left flanking corps north of the Marne towards Château-Thierry. However, the situation changed drastically This was because of another independent decision taken by IX Corps’ com-manding general and expressed in his corps orders issued on the night of 3 Sep-...
XVPpThe OHL,3–4 September
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While first, second, and third armies spent the first days of september attempting to push the French across the Marne and away from Paris in a south-easterly direction, the German centre—Fourth and Fifth Armies—advanced steadily southwards .1 On the evening of 1 September, Fourth Army issed orders to continue the pursuit from the line Vouziers–Briquenay along both banks of the Marne . At 22:00 ...
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Infantry Divisions Reserve Divisions Landwehr and Cavalry DivisionsBattalions Guns Battalions Guns Battalions Guns Battalions Guns Squadrons Gunscomparison of the organization of German, french, British, and Belgian Unitsa Bracketed numbers: the quantity of machine-guns available to the division or brigade.c For corps, an artillery regiment of four detachments and three to four batteries of heavy ...
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Afflerbach, Holger. ‘Wilhelm II as Supreme Warlord in the First World War,’ War in ———— . Falkenhayn . Politisches Denken und Handeln im Kaiserreich. Munich: Albertini, Luigi. The Origins of the War of 1914, 3 vols., trans. and ed. Isabella M. Massey. Alan Allport, Allen. “Germany, Army.” In The Encyclopedia of World War I, ed. Spencer Ballod, Carl. ‘Deutsche Volksernährung im Kriege,’ Preussische Jahrbücher Juli 157, ...
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Page Count: 600
Publication Year: 2013