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International Perspectives on the German Strategy for World War I
With the creation of the Franco-Russian Alliance and the failure of the Reinsurance Treaty in the late nineteenth century, Germany needed a strategy for fighting a two-front war. In response, Field Marshal Count Alfred von Schlieffen produced a study that represented the apex of modern military planning. His Memorandum for a War against France, which incorporated a mechanized cavalry as well as new technologies in weaponry, advocated that Germany concentrate its field army to the west and annihilate the French army within a few weeks. For generations, historians have considered Schlieffen's writings to be the foundation of Germany's military strategy in World War I and have hotly debated the reasons why the plan, as executed, failed.
In this important volume, international scholars reassess Schlieffen's work for the first time in decades, offering new insights into the renowned general's impact not only on World War I but also on nearly a century of military historiography. The contributors draw on newly available source materials from European and Russian archives to demonstrate both the significance of the Schlieffen Plan and its deficiencies. They examine the operational planning of relevant European states and provide a broad, comparative historical context that other studies lack. Featuring fold-out maps and abstracts of the original German deployment plans as they evolved from 1893 to 1914, this rigorous reassessment vividly illustrates how failures in statecraft as well as military planning led to the tragedy of the First World War.
Combat Leadership in the American Expeditionary Forces
This important new history of the development of a leadership corps of officers during World War I opens with a gripping narrative of the battlefield heroism of Cpl. Alvin York, juxtaposed with the death of Pvt. Charles Clement less than two kilometers away. Clement had been a captain and an example of what a good officer should be in the years just before the beginning of the war. His subsequent failure as an officer and his redemption through death in combat embody the question that lies at the heart of this comprehensive and exhaustively researched book: What were the faults of US military policy regarding the training of officers during the Great War? In The School of Hard Knocks, Richard S. Faulkner carefully considers the selection and training process for officers during the years prior to and throughout the First World War. He then moves into the replacement of those officers due to attrition, ultimately discussing the relationship between the leadership corps and the men they commanded. Replete with primary documentary evidence including reports by the War Department during and subsequent to the war, letters from the officers detailing their concerns with the training methods, and communiqués from the leaders of the training facilities to the civilian leadership, The School of Hard Knocks makes a compelling case while presenting a clear, highly readable, no-nonsense account of the shortfalls in officer training that contributed to the high death toll suffered by the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
The First Battle of the Marne produced the so-called Miracle of the Marne, when French and British forces stopped the initial German drive on Paris in 1914. Hundreds of thousands of casualties later, with opposing forces still dug into trench lines, the Germans tried again to push their way to Paris and to victory. The Second Battle of the Marne (July 15 to August 9, 1918) marks the point at which the Allied armies stopped the massive German Ludendorff Offensives and turned to offensive operations themselves. The Germans never again came as close to Paris nor resumed the offensive. The battle was one of the first large multinational battles fought by the Allies since the assumption of supreme command by French general Ferdinand Foch. It marks the only time the French, American, and British forces fought together in one battle. A superb account of the bloody events of those fateful days, this book sheds new light on a critically important 20th-century battle.
World War I Fighters in the Rainbow Division
Reputation and Military Alliances before the First World War
In The Shadow of the Past, Gregory D. Miller examines the role that reputation plays in international politics, emphasizing the importance of reliability-confidence that, based on past political actions, a country will make good on its promises-in the formation of military alliances. Challenging recent scholarship that focuses on the importance of credibility-a state's reputation for following through on its threats-Miller finds that reliable states have much greater freedom in forming alliances than those that invest resources in building military force but then use it inconsistently.
To explore the formation and maintenance of alliances based on reputation, Miller draws on insights from both political science and business theory to track the evolution of great power relations before the First World War. He starts with the British decision to abandon "splendid isolation" in 1900 and examines three crises--the First Moroccan Crisis (1905-6), the Bosnia-Herzegovina Crisis (1908-9), and the Agadir Crisis (1911)-leading up to the war. He determines that states with a reputation for being a reliable ally have an easier time finding other reliable allies, and have greater autonomy within their alliances, than do states with a reputation for unreliability. Further, a history of reliability carries long-term benefits, as states tend not to lose allies even when their reputation declines.
The Yankee Division Chaplains in World War I
U.S. Merchant Ships and American Entry into World War I
While numerous studies have examined Woodrow Wilson's policy of neutrality prior to U.S. entry into World War I, none has focused on the actual merchant ship losses that created the final casus belli. This work focuses on what the president knew and when he knew it concerning the loss of ten ships between February 3 and April 4, 1917. By looking at the specifics, Rodney Carlisle offers new explanations for the reasons that led the president, the cabinet, the public, and Congress to decide for war.
Sovereignty at Sea not only adds much to our understanding of maritime and diplomatic history during the First World War period but also speaks to contemporary concerns with issues surrounding the U.S. justification for wars.
U.S. Naval Aviation in Europe during World War I
Stalking the U-Boat is the first and only comprehensive study of U.S. naval aviation operations in Europe during WWI. The navy's experiences in this conflict laid the foundations for the later emergence of aviation as a crucial--sometimes dominant--element of fleet operations, yet those origins have been previously poorly understood and documented.
Begun as antisubmarine operations, naval aviation posed enormous logistical, administrative, personnel, and operational problems. How the USN developed this capability--on foreign soil in the midst of desperate conflict--makes a fascinating tale sure to appeal to all military and naval historians.
German Prisoners, British Captors, and Manhood in the Great War and Beyond
Approximately 9 million soldiers fell into enemy hands from 1914 to 1918, but historians have only recently begun to recognize the prisoner of war's significance to the history of the Great War. Examining the experiences of the approximately 130,000 German prisoners held in the United Kingdom during World War I, historian Brian K. Feltman brings wartime captivity back into focus.
Many German men of the Great War defined themselves and their manhood through their defense of the homeland. They often looked down on captured soldiers as potential deserters or cowards--and when they themselves fell into enemy hands, they were forced to cope with the stigma of surrender. This book examines the legacies of surrender and shows that the desire to repair their image as honorable men led many former prisoners toward an alliance with Hitler and Nazism after 1933. By drawing attention to the shame of captivity, this book does more than merely deepen our understanding of German soldiers' time in British hands. It illustrates the ways that popular notions of manhood affected soldiers' experience of captivity, and it sheds new light on perceptions of what it means to be a man at war.