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By Bryn Hammond. 2008
The story of the first great tank battle, and the genesis of one of the most formidable weapons of the…twentieth century.Cambrai was the last - and most influential - battle fought by the British on the Western Front in 1917. With many of the Allies on the brink of collapse, only Britain was still capable of holding the Germans at bay. Over time, many myths have grown up around what happened at Cambrai. The events of this iconic attack are now buried beneath accumulated legends and misrepresentations built up over almost a century. It is remembered as the world's first great tank battle, but it was the brilliant British innovations in artillery techniques that most shocked the enemy. Equally important were the new 'stormtroop' tactics the Germans pioneered.Drawing on previously unpublished letters, diaries, first-hand accounts and official reports, Bryn Hammond's definitive account examines this military milestone, how the myths were created, and how they changed the face of warfare for ever.
By Peter Hart. 2007
How the age of the great WWI aces came to an end in the skies over the Western FrontAt the…beginning of 1918 the great aces seemed invincible. Flying above the battlefields of the Western Front, they cut a deadly swathe through the ranks of their enemies, as each side struggled to keep control of the air. Some were little more than boys when they started to fly, yet they were respected and feared as some of the deadliest killers in the sky. But as the press of fighting increased with the great offensives of 1918, nervous stress and physical exhaustion finally began to take their toll - and one by one the aces began to fall.This book charts the rise and fall of the WWI aces in the context of the vast battles that were taking place in 1918. It shows the vital importance of reconnaissance, and how large formations of aircraft became the norm - bringing an end to the era of the old, heroic 'lone wolves'. As the First World War came to a close very few of the aces survived. This epic history of the final year of the air war is both a chronicle of the ways in which 1918 changed aerial combat forever, and a requiem for the pioneers of aerial combat who eventually became the victims of their own brilliant innovations.
By Charles Messenger. 2008
How the British, ANZACs and Canadians finally broke the German army on the most decisive day of the Great War.The…British attack at Amiens was the most decisive day of the Great War. In earlier offensives, a gain of a few hundred yards counted as a 'victory', but this time our troops advanced seven miles in a day and broke clean through the German defences. The long agony on the Western Front was nearly over.Spearheaded by tanks and armoured cars and supported by the RAF, the attack was led by the Australian and Canadian Corps, with British and French troops on the flanks. Elaborate deception measures were employed to ensure surprise.Drawing on both primary and secondary sources, as well as eyewitness accounts, this book describes how the attack was conceived, the preparations, and the actual assault itself, as well as what happened on the subsequent days and how Amiens paved the way for the final victorious Allied advance.
By Max Arthur. 2009
How the men and women of Britain found 'the road home' after the Great War. From the SUNDAY TIMES bestselling…author of THE LOST POST.11am, 11.11.1918: the war is finally over. After four long years Britain welcomed her heroes home. Wives and mothers were reunited with loved ones they'd feared they'd never see again. Fathers met sons and daughters born during the war years for the very first time. It was a time of great joy - but it was also a time of enormous change. The soldiers and nurses who survived life at the Front faced the reality of rebuilding their lives in a society that had changed beyond recognition. How did the veterans readjust to civilian life? How did they cope with their war wounds, work and memories of lost comrades? And what of the people they returned to - the independent young women who were asked to give up the work they had been enjoying, the wives who had to readjust to life with men who seemed like strangers?
By Roger Ford. 2011
Turkey, the First World War and the making of the Middle East.The Great War in the Middle East began with…the invasion of the Garden of Eden, and ended with a momentous victory on the site of the biblical Armageddon. Almost incredibly, the whole story of this epic war has never been told in a single volume until now. In this important new history Roger Ford describes a conflict in its entirety: the war in Mesopotamia, which would end with the creation of the countries of Iran and Iraq; the desperate struggle in the Caucasus, where the Turks had long-standing territorial ambitions; the doomed attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula that would lead to ignominous defeat; and the final act in Palestine, where the Ottoman Empire finally crumbled. He ends with a detailed description of the messy aftermath of the war, and the new conflicts in a reshaped Middle East that would play such a huge part in shaping world affairs for many generations to come.
By Vera Brittain. 1970
This classic memoir of the First World War is now a major motion picture starring Alicia Vikander and Kit Harington.…Includes an afterword by Kate Mosse OBE.In 1914 Vera Brittain was 20, and as war was declared she was preparing to study at Oxford. Four years later her life - and the life of her whole generation - had changed in a way that would have been unimaginable in the tranquil pre-war era.TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, one of the most famous autobiographies of the First World War, is Brittain's account of how she survived those agonising years; how she lost the man she loved; how she nursed the wounded and how she emerged into an altered world. A passionate record of a lost generation, it made Vera Brittain one of the best-loved writers of her time, and has lost none of its power to shock, move and enthral readers since its first publication in 1933.
By Diana Souhami. 2010
Edith Cavell was born in 1865, daughter of a Norfolk vicar, and shot in Brussels on 12 October 1915 by…the Germans for sheltering British and French soldiers and helping them escape over the Belgian border. Following a traditional village childhood in 19th century England, Edith worked as a governess in the UK and abroad, before training as a nurse in London in 1895. To Edith, nursing was a duty, a vocation, but above all a service. By 1907, she had travelled most of Europe and become matron of her own hospital in Belgium, where, under her leadership, a ramshackle hospital with few staff and little organization became a model nursing school. When war broke out, Edith helped soldiers to escape the war by giving them jobs in her hospital, finding clothing and organizing safe passage into Holland. In all, she assisted over two hundred men. When her secret work was discovered, Edith was put on trial and sentenced to death by firing squad. She uttered only 130 words in her defence. A devout Christian, the evening before her death, she asked to be remembered as a nurse, not a hero or a martyr, and prayed to be fit for heaven. When news of Edith's death reached Britain, army recruitment doubled. Diana Souhami brings one of the Great War's finest heroes to life in this biography of a hardworking, courageous and independent woman.
By Derek Robinson. 2014
Short, brisk and highly readable, this account stands out from the flood of books written for the Centenary of the…Great War. In Why 1914?, Derek Robinson - trained as a historian, shortlisted for the Booker Prize - applies his novelist's skills to asking how and why Europe hurried into such a massive disaster. He captures a world of kings and Kaisers, generals and infantrymen. None of them knew what a big European war meant. All the combatant nations assumed it would be short, and each expected to win. The roots of such folly began in the nineteenth century. Robinson traces the earliest warning signs, leading to a sudden crisis and an impulsive war that went massively wrong from the start. This book is the ideal introduction to the key question of the Great War: why did Europe explode?
By Jeremy Black. 2020
A wonderfully concise and readable, yet comprehensive, history of the Mediterranean Sea, the perfect companion for any visitor -- or…indeed, anyone compelled to stay at home.'The grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean.'Samuel Johnson, 1776The Mediterranean has always been a leading stage for world history; it is also visited each year by tens of millions of tourists, both local and international. Jeremy Black provides an account in which the experience of travel is foremost: travel for tourism, for trade, for war, for migration, for culture, or, as so often, for a variety of reasons. Travellers have always had a variety of goals and situations, from rulers to slaves, merchants to pirates, and Black covers them all, from Phoenicians travelling for trade to the modern tourist sailing for pleasure and cruising in great comfort.Throughout the book the emphasis is on the sea, on coastal regions and on port cities visited by cruise liners - Athens, Barcelona, Naples, Palermo. But it also looks beyond, notably to the other waters that flow into the Mediterranean - the Black Sea, the Atlantic, the Red Sea and rivers, from the Ebro and Rhone to the Nile. Much of western Eurasia and northern Africa played, and continues to play, a role, directly or indirectly, in the fate of the Mediterranean. At times, that can make the history of the sea an account of conflict after conflict, but it is necessary to understand these wars in order to grasp the changing boundaries of the Mediterranean states, societies and religions, the buildings that have been left, and the peoples' cultures, senses of identity and histories.Black explores the centrality of the Mediterranean to the Western experience of travel, beginning in antiquity with the Phoenicians, Minoans and Greeks. He shows how the Roman Empire united the sea, and how it was later divided by Christianity and Islam. He tells the story of the rise and fall of the maritime empires of Pisa, Genoa and Venice, describes how galley warfare evolved and how the Mediterranean fired the imagination of Shakespeare, among many artists. From the Renaissance and Baroque to the seventeenth-century beginnings of English tourism - to the Aegean, Sicily and other destinations - Black examines the culture of the Mediterraean. He shows how English naval power grew, culminating in Nelson's famous victory over the French in the Battle of the Nile and the establishment of Gibraltar, Minorca and Malta as naval bases. Black explains the retreat of Islam in north Africa, describes the age of steam navigation and looks at how and why the British occupied Cyprus, Egypt and the Ionian Islands. He looks at the impact of the Suez Canal as a new sea route to India and how the Riviera became Europe's playground. He shows how the Mediterranean has been central to two World Wars, the Cold War and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. With its focus always on the Sea, the book looks at the fate of port cities particularly - Alexandria, Salonika and Naples.
By Michael A. Hunzeker. 2021
In Dying to Learn, Michael Hunzeker develops a novel theory to explain how wartime militaries learn. He focuses on the…Western Front, which witnessed three great-power armies struggle to cope with deadlock throughout the First World War, as the British, French, and German armies all pursued the same solutions-assault tactics, combined arms, and elastic defense in depth. By the end of the war, only the German army managed to develop and implement a set of revolutionary offensive, defensive, and combined arms doctrines that in hindsight represented the best way to fight.Hunzeker identifies three organizational variables that determine how fighting militaries generate new ideas, distinguish good ones from bad ones, and implement the best of them across the entire organization. These factors are: the degree to which leadership delegates authority on the battlefield; how effectively the organization retains control over soldier and officer training; and whether or not the military possesses an independent doctrinal assessment mechanism.Through careful study of the British, French, and German experiences in the First World War, Dying to Learn provides a model that shows how a resolute focus on analysis, command, and training can help prepare modern militaries for adapting amidst high-intensity warfare in an age of revolutionary technological change.
By William Philpott. 2014
The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in…the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise. In a stunning narrative, this brilliant and necessary reassessment of the whole war cuts behind the myth-making to reveal the determination, organization and ambition on all sides.
By Saul David. 2013
This special ebook has been created by historian Saul David from his acclaimed work 100 Days to Vistory: How the…Great War was Fought and Won, which was described by the Mail on Sunday as 'Inspired' and by Charles Spencer as 'A work of great originality and insight'. Through key dates from 4 August 1914, when Britain declared war, to the Christmas Truce of 24 December 1914, Saul David's gripping narrative is an enthralling tribute to a generation of men and women whose sacrifice should never be forgotten.
By Michael J. K. Walsh; Andrekos Varnava. 2021
A century after the Armistice and the associated peace agreements that formally ended the Great War, many issues pertaining to…the UK and its empire are yet to be satisfactorily resolved. Accordingly, this volume presents a multi-disciplinary approach to better understanding the post-Armistice Empire across a broad spectrum of disciplines, geographies and chronologies. Through the lens of diplomatic, social, cultural, historical and economic analysis, the chapters engage with the histories of Lagos and Tonga, Cyprus and China, as well as more obvious geographies of empire such as Ireland, India and Australia. Though globally diverse, and encompassing much of the post-Armistice century, the studies are nevertheless united by three common themes: the interrogation of that transitionary ‘moment’ after the Armistice that lingered well beyond the final Treaty of Lausanne in 1924; the utilisation of new research methods and avenues of enquiry to compliment extant debates concerning the legacies of colonialism and nationalism; and the common leitmotif of the British Empire in all its political and cultural complexity. The centenary of the Armistice offers a timely occasion on which to present these studies.
By Alan Palmer. 2007
Ypres today is an international 'Town of Peace', but in 1914 the town, and the Salient, the 35-mile bulge in…the Western Front, of which it is part, saw a 1500-day military campaign of mud and blood at the heart of the First World War that turned it into the devil's nursery. Distinguished biographer and historian of modern Europe Alan Palmer tells the story of the war in Flanders as a conflict that has left a deep social and political mark on the history of Europe. Denying Germany possession of the historic town of Ypres and access to the Channel coast was crucial to Britain's victory in 1918. But though Flanders battlefields are the closest on the continent to English shores, this was always much more than a narrowly British conflict. Passchendaele, the Menin Road, Hill 60 and the Messines Ridge remain names etched in folk memory. Militarily and tactically the four-year long campaign was innovative and a grim testing ground with constantly changing ideas of strategy and disputes between politicians and generals. Alan Palmer details all its aspects in an illuminating history of the place as much as the fighting man's experience.
By Gordon Corrigan. 2003
The true story of how Britain won the First World War.The popular view of the First World War remains that…of BLACKADDER: incompetent generals sending brave soldiers to their deaths. Alan Clark quoted a German general's remark that the British soldiers were 'lions led by donkeys'. But he made it up.Indeed, many established 'facts' about 1914-18 turn out to be myths woven in the 1960s by young historians on the make. Gordon Corrigan's brilliant, witty history reveals how out of touch we have become with the soldiers of 1914-18. They simply would not recognize the way their generation is depicted on TV or in Pat Barker's novels.Laced with dry humour, this will overturn everything you thought you knew about Britain and the First World War. Gordon Corrigan reveals how the British embraced technology, and developed the weapons and tactics to break through the enemy trenches.
The 1914-18 conflict narrated through the voices of the men whose combat was in the air.'This moving book uses letters…and diaries to evoke the terrible cost of such warfare...Sleepless nights, separated lovers and grieving parents are recalled with painful immediacy in this meticulously researched tribute to those who died or were lucky enough to survive' DAILY MAILThe empty chairs belonged, all too briefly, to the doomed young First World War airmen who failed to return from the terrifying daily aerial combats above the trenches of the Western Front. The edict of their commander-in-chief was the missing aviators were to be immediately replaced. Before the new faces could arrive, the departed men's vacant seats at the squadron dinner table were sometimes poignantly occupied by their caps and boots, placed there in a sad ritual by their surviving colleagues as they drank to their memory.Life for most of the pilots of the Royal Flying Corps was appallingly short. If they graduated alive and unmaimed from the flying training that killed more than half of them before they reached the front line, only a few would for very long survive the daily battles they fought over the ravaged moonscape of no-man's-land. Their average life expectancy at the height of the war was measured only in weeks. Parachutes that began to save their German enemies were denied them.Fear of incarceration, and the daily spectacle of watching close colleagues die in burning aircraft, took a devastating toll on the nerves of the world's first fighter pilots. Many became mentally ill. As they waited for death, or with luck the survivable wound that would send them back to 'Blighty', they poured their emotions into their diaries and streams of letters to their loved ones at home.Drawing on these remarkable testimonies and pilots' memoirs, Ian Mackersey has brilliantly reconstructed the First Great Air War through the lives of its participants. As they waited to die, the men shared their loneliness, their fears, triumphs - and squadron gossip - with the families who lived in daily dread of the knock on the door that would bring the War Office telegram in its fateful green envelope.
By Charles Messenger. 2005
This is a comprehensive account of how the British Army coped with and adapted to the enormous challenges and pressures…of the First World War -- the first major continental war that the army had had to fight for almost a hundred years. Following the course of the War, both on the Western Front and in other theatres, Charles Messenger tells how the British Army managed the challenges of command, training, technology and new weapons of war. He examines officer selection, medicine, discipline, the manpower crisis of 1918, the integration of women into the forces and many other topics.Based on years of original research, this will become the standard work of reference on the organization and administration of the biggest army Britain has ever put into the field.
By Catrine Clay. 2006
During the last days of July 1914 telegrams flew between the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar. George V, Wilhelm…II and Nicholas II, known in the family as Georgie, Willy and Nicky, were cousins. Between them they ruled over half the world. They had been friends since childhood. But by July 1914 the Trade Union of Kings was falling apart. Each was blaming the other for the impending disaster of the First World War. 'Have I gone mad ' Nicky asked his wife Alix in St Petersburg, showing her another telegram from Willy. 'What on earth does William mean pretending that it still depends on me whether war is averted or not!' Behind the friendliness of family gatherings lurked family quarrels, which were often played out in public. Drawing widely on previously unpublished documents, this is the extraordinary story of their overlapping lives, conducted in palaces of unimaginable opulence, surrounded by flattery and political intrigue. And through it runs the question: to what extent were the King, the Kaiser and the Tsar responsible for the outbreak of the war, and, as it turned out, for the end of autocratic monarchy
Even 100 years on from the First World War it haunts us still. No other conflict has revealed so dramatically…the senselessness of war, and none has shaped the modern world to the same extent, from its impact on the Russian Revolution and the rise of Hitler to the final break-up of the British Empire and the supremacy of America. These compelling eyewitness accounts - over 180 of them - of the War to End All Wars cover every facet of the war, from the Flanders trenches to the staffrooms of the Imperial German Army, from T. E. Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') in the desert to German figher ace the Red Baron in the air, and from English Land Girls to German U-boat crews in the North Atlantic. There are contributions from all combatant nations, including the UK, USA, France, Germany, Canada, Italy, Australia, Russia, Serbia, and India and the book includes a detailed timeline and maps.
By Max Arthur. 2005
The 'Forgotten Voices' of the First World War speak for the final time.LAST POST is very consciously the last word…from the handful of First World War survivors who were left alive in 2004. Now they have passed away, our final human connection with the First World War has been broken.Max Arthur, a skilled interviewer, took the very last chance we had to ask questions of those who were there. Now updated to include a new introduction by the author for the centenary of the First World War.