By Gordon Kerr

As the war is slipping past dwelling reminiscence, this concise heritage helps ensures that the clash is rarely forgotten

WWI, lasting simply 4 years from 1914 to 1918, was once with out parallel, the 1st real international clash within which all the earth's nice powers participated. This book tells the tale of this cataclysmic occasion. It describes the history to warfare, the overseas rivalries and conflicts of the former many years that resulted in the international locations of Europe forming digital armed camps, the relentless build-up of army and naval that characterised the early years of the 20 th century, and the good figures that attempted to avoid clash or enthusiastically driven for it. every year of the conflict is handled in its personal bankruptcy, the battles, a number of battlefronts, and significant incidents defined and analyzed for his or her effect at the behavior of the warfare. The publication also examines the final acts of this "war to finish all wars," supplying bills of the Russian Revolution, the decisive access of the U.S. into the hostilities, and the efforts of the Paris Peace convention after the armistice to apportion blame and punish the losers.

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Ever since the Agadir crisis in 1911 British military leaders had been holding informal but detailed staff discussions with their French colleagues about the possible dispatch of an expeditionary force to the Continent, but the government had not thought it wise to reveal these to a largely pacifistic parliament. The Royal Navy had made all its dispositions on the assumption of a war with Germany, but was committed to nothing. There was widespread concern at the thrust of German policy, but left-wing and liberal opinion remained solidly neutralist.

The whole German line fell back to the line of the Aisne, the French and British cautiously following. There the Germans established themselves in positions that they were successfully to defend for the best part of four years to come. The First Battle of Ypres Moltke, an unstable character at the best of times, now suffered a nervous collapse, and was replaced in command of the German armies by the Minister for War, Erich von Falkenhayn. Falkenhayn knew as well as anyone the importance of gaining victory before winter set in.

The one thing they did not contemplate was letting the Austrians down. The Dual Monarchy was their only remaining ally (quite rightly they discounted the Italians), and its humiliation and likely disintegration would be catastrophic for German prestige and power. But very similar calculations were being made in Russia. For the Russians, to abandon Serbia would be to betray the whole Slav cause and lose everything that had been gained in the Balkans since the beginning of the century. Finally, for the French, to abandon Russia to defeat would be peacefully to acquiesce in a German hegemony of Europe and her own reduction to the rank of a third-rate power.

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