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By Volker Ullrich. 2023
From the New York Times best-selling historian comes a gripping account of the crisis of the Weimar Republic, when hyperinflation…and political upheaval threatened to unravel a new experiment in democracy. As the great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig confided in his autobiography, written in exile, “I have a pretty thorough knowledge of history, but never, to my recollection, has it produced such madness in such gigantic proportions.” He was referring to the situation in Germany in 1923. It was a “year of lunacy,” defined by hyperinflation, a political system on the verge of collapse, and separatist movements that threatened Germany’s territorial integrity. Most significantly, Adolf Hitler launched his infamous Beer Hall Putsch in Munich—a failed coup that nonetheless drew international attention and demonstrated the Nazis’ ruthless determination to seize power. In Germany 1923, award-winning historian Volker Ullrich draws on letters, memoirs, newspaper articles, and other sources from the time to present a captivating new history of those explosive twelve months. The crisis began when the French invaded the Ruhr Valley in January to force Germany to pay the reparations it owed under the Treaty of Versailles, which had ended the Great War. For years, German leaders had embraced inflationary policies to finance the costs of defeat, and, as Ullrich demonstrates, the invasion utterly destroyed the value of the German mark. Before the war, the exchange rate was 4.2 marks to the dollar. By November 20, 1923, a dollar was worth an incomprehensible 4.2 trillion marks, and a loaf of bread cost 200 billion. Facing the abyss, many ordinary Germans called for a national messiah. Among the figures to vie for that role was Hitler, a thirty-four-year-old veteran who possessed a uniquely malevolent personal magnetism. Although the Nazi coup in November was put down and Hitler arrested, the putsch showed just how tenuous the first German democracy, the Weimar Republic, was at its core. As Ullrich’s panoramic narrative reveals, other Germans responded to the successive crises by launching a cultural revolution: 1923 witnessed the emergence of a multitude of new movements, from Dada to Bauhaus, and of such iconoclasts as Bertolt Brecht, George Grosz, and Franz Kafka. Yet most observers were amazed that the Weimar Republic was able to survive, and the more astute realized that the feral undercurrents unleashed could lead to much worse. Publishing a century after that fateful year, Germany 1923 is a riveting chronicle of one of the most challenging times any modern democracy has faced, one with haunting parallels to our own political moment.
By Hanneke Takken. 2019
This book is an international comparative study of the British, German and French military chaplains during the First World War.…It describes their role, position and daily work within the army and how the often conflicting expectations of the church, the state, the military and the soldiers effected these. This study seeks to explain similarities and differences between the chaplaincies by looking at how the pre-war relations between church, state and society influenced the work of these army chaplains.
This book examines the British and German approach to naval air power, describing the creation and development of the two…naval air service organizations and doctrine. This work provides new insights as to how two naval air services were influenced by internal and political interventions, and how each was integrated into the organizational structures of the Royal Navy and the Kaiserlichemarine (KM). Both the Admiralty and the KM made substantial alterations to their organizations and doctrine in the process. Principal air doctrines employed are examined chronologically and the application of operational doctrine is described. While they adopted similar air doctrines, there were differences in operational doctrine, which they addressed according to their different requirements. This book is a comparative study about the development of organization and air power doctrine in the RNAS (Royal Naval Air Service) and the IGNAS (Imperial German Naval Air Service). It investigates public and political interventions and early concepts of air power, placing into context the factors which contributed to how naval theorists came to think about the best means of controlling its working medium, air space. Ultimately, it examines the similarities, and differences, between the RNAS and IGNAS understanding of naval air power, within the broader strategic and theoretical framework of their parent organizations. This book will be of great interest to students of air power, naval power, military history, strategic studies and IR in general.
By Martin Gilbert. 1995
&“A stunning achievement of research and storytelling&” that weaves together the major fronts of WWI into a single, sweeping narrative (Publishers…Weekly, starred review). It was to be the war to end all wars, and it began at 11:15 on the morning of June 28, 1914, in an outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire called Sarajevo. It would officially end nearly five years later. Unofficially, however, it has never ended: Many of the horrors we live with today are rooted in the First World War. The Great War left millions of civilians and soldiers maimed or dead. It also saw the creation of new technologies of destruction: tanks, planes, and submarines; machine guns and field artillery; poison gas and chemical warfare. It introduced U-boat packs and strategic bombing, unrestricted war on civilians and mistreatment of prisoners. But the war changed our world in far more fundamental ways than these. In its wake, empires toppled, monarchies fell, and whole populations lost their national identities. As political systems and geographic boundaries were realigned, the social order shifted seismically. Manners and cultural norms; literature and the arts; education and class distinctions; all underwent a vast sea change. As historian Martin Gilbert demonstrates in this &“majestic opus&” of historical synthesis, the twentieth century can be said to have been born on that fateful morning in June of 1914 (Publishers Weekly, starred review). &“One of the first books that anyone should read . . . to try to understand this war and this century.&” —The New York Times Book Review
By Walter Reid. 2017
A historian explores &“with forensic precision&” the dramatic turning point that changed the course of the Great War (The Scotsman).…On March 21, 1918, Germany initiated one of the most ferocious offensives of the First World War. During the so-called Kaiserschlacht, German troops advanced on Allied positions in a series of attacks that caused massive casualties, separated British and French forces, and drove the British back toward the Channel ports. Five days later, as the German advance continued, one of the most dramatic summits of the war took place in Doullens. The outcome was to have extraordinary consequences. For the first time, an Allied supreme commander—the French General Foch—was appointed to command all the Allied armies, while the statesmen realized that unity of purpose rather than national interest was ultimately the key to success. Within a few months, a policy of defense became one of offense, paving the way for British success at Amiens and the series of unbroken British victories that led Germany to plead for armistice. Victory in November 1918 was a matter for celebration; excised from history was how close Britain came to ignominious defeat just eight months earlier.
By Gary Staff. 2016
In January 1916 Vizeadmiral Scheer took command of the High Sea Fleet. This aggressive and pugnacious leader embarked upon a…vigorous offensive program which culminated in the greatest clash between dreadnought capital ships the world had seen. Although outnumbered almost two to one, Vizeadmiral Scheer conducted a provocative operation on 31 May 1916. Who would prevail: the massive preponderance of British heavy calibre cannon, or the aggressive tactics of the street fighter Scheer? Manning the ships of both sides were the technically skilled and talented seamen who were prepared to carry out their duties loyally and courageously until the very end. Over 8,500 men perished in less than 10 hours of fighting, a horrendous loss, even by World War One standards. This book gives voice to many of the German Navy participants, from a German perspective, on this tumultuous battle fought over 100 years ago. These men gave their all and are gone now, but not forgotten.
By Joseph F. Byrnes. 2023
From 1914 to 1918, religious believers and hopeful skeptics tried to find meaning and purpose behind divinely willed destruction. God…on the Western Front is a history of lived religion across national boundaries, religious affiliations, and class during World War I, utilizing an expansive record of primary sources.Joseph F. Byrnes takes readers on a tour of the battlefields of France, listening to the words of German, French, and English soldiers; going behind the lines to hear from the men and women who provided pastoral and medical care; and reviewing the religious writings of priests, bishops, ministers, and rabbis as they tried to make sense of it all. The story begins with citizens at home as they responded to the obligation to make war and then focuses on the “God-talk” and “nation-talk” that soldiers used to express their foundational religious experiences. Byrnes’s study attends to the words of average men who struggled to articulate their religious sentiments, alongside the generals Helmuth von Moltke, Ferdinand Foch, and Douglas Haig and the soldier theologians Franz Rosenzweig, Paul Tillich, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy. In doing so, he shows how religious and battle experience are intertwined and showcases the wide range of spiritual responses that emerged across boundaries.Going beyond the typical constraints of studies focused either on one nation or one confessional affiliation, Byrnes’s international and interfaith approach breaks new ground. It will appeal to scholars and students of modern European history, religious history, and the history of war.
By David Bilton. 2016
This is a compelling book for lovers of sea and air stories from the Great War era. In the thirteen…stories told by the participants, many of whom were decorated for bravery, they describe their experiences of events: stories of luck, tenacity, courage, extreme danger, excitement and bravery. Also included are photographs to help set the scene for the vignettes and details of the authors' lives where possible. Seven stories detail the war at sea, while the other six reflect the war in the air from a civilian and combatant point of view. The exciting thing about the stories, apart from their freshness, is that they have remained unpublished for nearly eighty years and they are written by participants who describe exactly what they experienced and felt. Mrs Peel describes what an air raid was like from a civilians point of view, and pilots describe both the humdrumness of some of their work and how it could suddenly change in to a fight for their life, in which luck often played a part in their survival. At sea, the authors describe the struggle to overcome the U-boat menace using Q ships and reveal the boredom, suspense and danger involved in laying a trap. The Battle of Jutland is described from an officers active view of events, and the sinking of the Audacious is described by someone who was aboard and sworn to silence about the events. There is also the exciting story of the chase and fight between the Carmania and the Cap Trafalgar.
In May 1916 Major Eustace Lockhart Maxwell, a former Indian cavalry officer, was given command of an infantry battalion in…France. After 48 hours with his new unit, Maxwell wrote to his family: The outstanding characteristic of those who belong to it seems to be their extraordinary self-complacency! Esprit de corps is a fine thing, but the satisfaction with which they regard themselves, their battalion, its internal economy, its gallantry, its discipline, its everything else, is almost indecent! If at the end of a month my opinion of them is half as good as their own, I shall think myself uncommonly lucky. This was the 23rd Manchester Bantam Battalion, a unit entirely composed of men of a height between 5ft and 5ft 3, and its esprit de corps was about to be severely tested. The Bantams left colorful, characterful, moving and often amusing records of their experiences. Using a wealth of previously unpublished sources, this book follows the Manchester men through their training, their experiences of the Somme and the Third Ypres Campaign, to Houthulst Forest where, in October 1917, the Battalion was practically annihilated.
By Nigel Cave, Richard Van Emden, Tonie Holt, Valmai Holt. 2016
This publication, SOMME THE BATTLE 100 YEARS ON, has been published by Pen & Sword Books Ltd, with the purpose…of creating an awareness and an interest in theSomme battles of 1916. For nearly thirty years, Pen & Sword Books Ltd has published numerous titles covering various Pals battalions formed for the Big Push. They have also been fore-runners in setting up the Battleground Series guides, which are packed with then and now illustrations, using battle maps from the time and road maps of the sites today. They are all specifically designed to take the tourer safely through these now historic sites. Many more books have been written and published by Pen & Sword on the other battles of the First World War. Only a small portion relating to 1 July 1916 has been taken from each book appearing in this publication. Much more information can been gleaned from reading about the events of the Somme battles and the awful aftermath of the day through reading the books mentioned at the end of each extract.These publications would not have been possible without the skill and dedication of our authors who have painstakingly researched and written about the subjects that bring to light these historic events.
By Major A.H. Mure. 2015
Captain Albert Mure, a company commander in the 5th Battalion The Royal Scots, spent forty-three days in Gallipoli - far…longer than many men who fought there would survive. In those few weeks, this brave, stoical officer was reduced from a fit, determined leader of men to a physical and mental wreck. In simple and honest language, Mure conveys the drama of the first landings, knowing that very shortly afterwards he and his men would be ashore and experiencing the same fate; his sympathy for those under his command is clear. Although suffering from shell shock, when the time came for him to leave the peninsular, he nevertheless felt like a deserter, remarking that, 'you can carry a no-longer-fit soldier's body out of the firing-line, but not his soul.' Originally published in 1919, Mure's story of his experiences at Gallipoli is full of a rawness and immediacy that I believe makes it worthy of a place amongst the many Great War memoirs.
By William Langford. 2014
In September 1938, as Chamberlain was having discussions with Herr Hitler, and managing to secure 'Peace in our Time', a…weekly magazine called I WAS THERE hit the newsagents and booksellers. Twenty years had elapsed since the Great War ended and in that period hundreds of books on the subject had been written by those who took part. It was from these published sources that extracts were taken from the personal stories of soldiers, sailors and airmen who had experienced the 'war to end all wars' first-hand. The magazine I WAS THERE proved popular with the public and came only came to an end as the Second World War broke out.This rework in book form They Were There has allowed these stories of 1914 to be aired once more covering exciting accounts from Mons to the Christmas Truce, 1914, and to the German naval bombardment of the East Coast of England in December of that year. We are confident that many will agree, these stories are well worth ressurecting and presenting in book form to readers of the 21st Century 100 years after they were first told.
By Paul Oldfield. 2020
“Invaluable to those guiding visitors and those visiting the battlefields of WWI . . . it vividly tells a story…of combat and courage.” —FiretrenchIn the past, while visiting the First World War battlefields, the author often wondered where the various Victoria Cross actions took place. He resolved to find out. In 1988, in the midst of his army career, research for this book commenced and over the years numerous sources have been consulted.Victoria Crosses on the Western Front: Battle of Amiens is designed for the battlefield visitor as much as the armchair reader. A thorough account of each VC action is set within the wider strategic and tactical context. Detailed sketch maps show the area today, together with the battle-lines and movements of the combatants. It will allow visitors to stand upon the spot, or very close to, where each VC was won. Photographs of the battle sites richly illustrate the accounts. There is also a comprehensive biography for each recipient, covering every aspect of their lives warts and all: parents and siblings, education, civilian employment, military career, wife and children, death and burial/commemoration. A host of other information, much of it published for the first time, reveals some fascinating characters, with numerous links to many famous people and events.“Works both as an armchair guide and as a battlefield companion (although I’d opt for the Kindle version if I were traipsing across the fields of France). Well done to Paul Oldfield for producing another useful addition to Great War literature. 5 stars.” —Paul Nixon, Army Ancestry Research
By Stephen Wynn. 2019
Stories of the residents of Jersey, Guernsey, and other Channel Islands and their service and sacrifice during the First World…War. Before the outbreak of the First World War, the Channel Islands were scenic, sunny holiday destinations, where it was possible to briefly escape the hustle and bustle of life. But as soon as the fighting began, worries arose about the threat of a German invasion to the islands, which are much closer to the coast of France than the southern coast of Great Britain. Both men and women alike played their part. Men joined one of the islands&’ militia or enlisted in one of the numerous regiments of the British Army, including the &‘Jersey Pals&’ and the Royal Irish Fusiliers, Royal Irish Rifles, and Royal Irish Regiment. This book looks at the commitment and achievements of the Channel Islands&’ very own Royal Guernsey Light Infantry, formed in December 1916. The Islands&’ women volunteered in droves to serve with the British Red Cross&’ Voluntary Aid Detachments, not just throughout the Channel Islands, but in mainland Great Britain and further afield in Belgium, France, and beyond. Ultimately, German soldiers didn&’t set foot on the islands—except for about two thousand held captive there as prisoners of war. This book tells the story of the people of the Channel Islands and what they did during the First World War—including those who paid the ultimate price. Includes photos
By Douglas Brunt. 2023
The hidden history of one of the world&’s greatest inventors, a man who disrupted the status quo and then disappeared…into thin air on the eve of World War I—this book answers the hundred-year-old mystery of what really became of Rudolf Diesel. September 29, 1913: the steamship Dresden is halfway between Belgium and England. On board is one of the most famous men in the world, Rudolf Diesel, whose new internal combustion engine is on the verge of revolutionizing global industry forever. But Diesel never arrives at his destination. He vanishes during the night and headlines around the world wonder if it was an accident, suicide, or murder. After rising from an impoverished European childhood, Diesel had become a multi-millionaire with his powerful engine that does not require expensive petroleum-based fuel. In doing so, he became not only an international celebrity but also the enemy of two extremely powerful men: Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and the richest man in the world. The Kaiser wanted the engine to power a fleet of submarines that would finally allow him to challenge Great Britain&’s Royal Navy. But Diesel had intended for his engine to be used for the betterment of mankind and refused to keep the technology out of the hands of the British or any other nation. For John D. Rockefeller, the engine was nothing less than an existential threat to his vast and lucrative oil empire. As electric lighting began to replace kerosene lamps, Rockefeller&’s bottom line depended on the world&’s growing thirst for gasoline to power its automobiles and industries. At the outset of this new age of electricity and oil, Europe stood on the precipice of war. Rudolf Diesel grew increasingly concerned about Germany&’s rising nationalism and military spending. The inventor was on his way to London to establish a new company that would help Britain improve its failing submarine program when he disappeared. Now, New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brunt reopens the case and provides an astonishing new conclusion about Diesel&’s fate. &“Equal parts Walter Isaacson and Sherlock Holmes, The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel yanks back the curtain on the greatest caper of the 20th century in this riveting history&” (Jay Winik, New York Times bestselling author).
This collection of correspondence and newly discovered family papers is &“a good read for anyone interested in WWI, or the…British Army&” (The NYMAS Review). Hugo De Pree was the nephew of the better-known Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. However, De Pree had a distinguished military career in his own right. He served in the Boer War. He was sent to the Western Front, as Chief of Staff of IV Corps, and played a key part in planning the Battle of Cambrai in 1917. In 1918 De Pree was appointed to command 189 Brigade in 63rd (Royal Naval) Division. His part in the March Retreat showed that he was not a chateau general. In August 1918, he took the morally courageous decision to cancel his Brigade&’s attack, fearing heavy losses for little gain. He was sacked, but after appealing was appointed to command a brigade of 38th (Welsh) Division, which he commanded with distinction in the last weeks of the war. Afterward, De Pree rose to Major-General and was the Commandant at RMA Woolwich. His son, John, was killed in 1942 when attempting to escape from a POW camp in Germany, a story told in this book by one of the leading academics in the field, which combines De Pree and Haig family papers with incisive commentary to give a multi-faceted insight into both an important but obscure senior officer of the First World War, and his hugely famous uncle.
By Charles J. Biddle. 2016
A classic aviation memoir: an American pilot&’s account of air combat in the First World War. Charles J. Biddle, a…Philadelphia native, was active in France beginning in 1917, where he flew as a volunteer, initially for the French in Escadrille 73, and then in the American 103rd Aero Squadron, the Lafayette Escadrille, and then the 13th Aero Squadron and 4th Pursuit Group, which he commanded. His memoir was published shortly after his return to the United States and provides an immediacy lacking in other books that were written later. Accounts of US pilots from this period are relatively rare, and this one paints a compelling picture of a group of Americans fighting as volunteers for the French. Biddle&’s US compatriots soon established their own capability and wrung free of French direction—and as this book reveals, it was largely because of their combat prowess. For his service, Biddle was awarded the French Legion of Honour, the Croix de Guerre, the American Distinguished Service Cross, and the Belgian Order of Leopold II. This memoir gives us a unique perspective on America&’s participation in the Great War.
By John Sadler, Rosie Serdiville. 2017
A readable and entertaining introduction to aerial combat in the series that &“would be excellent for someone with an early…interest in military history&” (Army Rumour Service). Just over a decade after the first successful powered flight, fearless pioneers were flying over the battlefields of France in flimsy biplanes. Though the infantry in their muddy trenches might see aerial combat as glorious and chivalric, the reality was very different and undeniably deadly: new Royal Flying Corps subalterns in 1917 had a life expectancy of eleven days. In 1915 the term &“ace&” was coined to denote a pilot adept at downing enemy aircraft, and top aces like the Red Baron, René Fonck, and Billy Bishop became household names. The idea of the ace continued after the 1918 Armistice, but as the size of air forces increased, the prominence of the ace diminished. But still, the pilots who swirled and danced in Hurricanes and Spitfires over southern England in 1940 were, and remain, feted as &“the Few&” who stood between Britain and invasion. Flying aircraft advanced beyond the wildest dreams of Great War pilots, the &“top&” fighter aces of World War II would accrue hundreds of kills, though their life expectancy was still measured in weeks, not years. World War II cemented the vital role of air power, and postwar innovation gave fighter pilots jet-powered fighters, enabling them to pursue duels over huge areas above modern battlefields. This entertaining introduction explores the history and cult of the fighter ace from the first pilots through late twentieth-century conflicts, which leads to discussion of whether the era of the fighter ace is at an end.
A history of the Welsh Battalion and its service during World War I in France.The Carmarthenshire Battalion was one of…the early units raised in 1914 as a result of Lord Kitchener’s expansion of the regular army by 500,000 men for the duration of the Great War. Lloyd George, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, had a vision of a Welsh Army Group and massive efforts were made to recruit and form Welsh fighting units.The first 200 recruits for the Carmarthen Pals came from Bolton, strangely enough, but later they were mainly drawn from the County and wider Wales. Initial training was at Rhyl.In April 1915 the Battalion became part of 114 Brigade, 38 (Welsh) Division and after completing training and equipping it crossed to France in December 1915.From early 1916 until the Armistice, the Carmarthen Pals fought with distinction. Initially at Givenchy, it moved to the Somme in May 1916 and attacked Mametz Wood in the early days of that most terrible July offensive. Thereafter the Battalion moved to the Ypres Salient and in July 1917 attacked Pilckem Ridge. Moves south to Armentieres district, then the Albert Sector followed.In the closing months of the War alone, the Pals suffered 40 officer and 900 other rank killed and wounded as they pushed the Germans back capturing Ancre and crossing the Canal du Nord and Selle rivers.
By David A. Finlayson, Michael K Cecil. 2017
Pioneers of Armour in the Great War tells the story of the only Australian mechanized units of the Great War.…The 1st Australian Armoured Car Section, later the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, and the Special Tank Section were among the trailblazers of mechanization and represented the cutting edge of technology on the Great War battlefield.The1st Armoured Car Section was raised in Melbourne in 1916, the brainchild of a group of enthusiasts who financed, designed and then built two armored cars. Having persuaded the Australian Army of the vehicles' utility in the desert campaign, the armored car section, later re-equipped with Model T Fords and retitled the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, provided valuable service until well after the Armistice.The First World War also saw the emergence of the tank which, despite unpromising beginnings, was to realize its potential in the crucial 1918 battles of Hamel and Amiens. A British Mark IV tank which toured Australia in 1918 demonstrated the power of this new weapon to an awestruck Australian public.Much of the story of the armored cars is told in the voices of the original members of the section and in newspaper articles of the time which highlight the novelty of these vehicles. Painstaking research has produced a remarkable collection of images to accompany the narrative, many never previously published. Biographies of the members of these extraordinary units are also a feature of this book, their stories told from the cradle to the grave. Appendixes provide a wealth of supporting biographical and technical information that enriches the text and adds factual detail.