The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 (Modern Wars)

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9780340677537: The First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary 1914-1918 (Modern Wars)

The Great War toppled four empires, cost the world 24 million dead and sowed some of the seeds of another conflagration 20 years later. This text provides a comprehensive treatment of how Germany and Austria-Hungary - two of the key belligerents - conducted the war and what defeat meant to them. How did the Hohenzollern and Habsburg empires conceive of and conduct "total war"? What impact did the prolonged fighting have on their societies? Drawing on his own archival research over the past decade, Holger Herwig analyzes why Vienna opted for war in 1914 and why Berlin took the calculated risk to back that decision. The war plans and military campaigns on both Eastern and Western fronts are examined in detail and key battles, some of the bloodiest and most wasteful in military history, are narrated and analyzed. On the home front, the mobilization of the civilian populations behind the war effort had profound social consequences. The militarization of the key war-related industries led to an industrial women's labour force emerging in both countries, deeply affecting the role of women in Germanic society.

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Book Description:

A new edition of the definitive military history of Germany and Austria-Hungary during the First World War

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The Great War toppled four empires, cost the world 24 million dead, and sowed some of the seeds of another worldwide conflagration 20 years later. Yet, until now, there has been no comprehensive treatment of how Germany and Austria-Hungary - two of the key belligerents - conducted the war and what defeat meant to them. Much of the writing on the war has hallowed the tactical and operational effectiveness of the German army. Yet Germany lost the conflict. In tackling this paradox, Herwig shows how greatly the Central Powers suffered from inadequate resources and an incapacity to manage effectively what they had. He also shows with clarity just how much of Germany's effort was expended in sustaining not only its own war effort but also that of its ally, without any corresponding subordination of Vienna to Berlin, as the economic and military realities required. But it is in his reassessment of Germany's military effectiveness that he offers the most fundamental corrective. For readers accustomed to criticisms of the various Allied commanders, Herwig's examination of the German military effort will have uncanny echoes. Even the famous German offensives of March 1918, regarded as a model of breakthrough operations by interwar theorists, are condemned not just for their lack of strategic objective but even for their tactical failings.

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Herwig, Holger H.
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