The First Battle of the Twentieth Century

Author: William Philpott

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 030759372X

Category: History

Page: 656

View: 2650

For decades, the Battle of the Somme has exemplified the horrors and futility of trench warfare. Yet in Three Armies on the Somme, William Philpott makes a convincing argument that the battle ultimately gave the British and French forces on the Western Front the knowledge and experience to bring World War I to a victorious end. It was the most brutal fight in a war that scarred generations. Infantrymen lined up opposite massed artillery and machine guns. Chlorine gas filled the air. The dead and dying littered the shattered earth of no man’s land. Survivors were rattled with shell-shock. We remember the shedding of so much young blood and condemn the generals who sent their men to their deaths. Ever since, the Somme has been seen as a waste: even as the war continued, respected leaders—Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George among them—judged the battle a pointless one. While previous histories have documented the missteps of British command, no account has fully recognized the fact that allied generals were witnessing the spontaneous evolution of warfare even as they sent their troops “over the top.” With his keen insight and vast knowledge of military strategy, Philpott shows that twentieth-century war as we know it simply didn’t exist before the Battle of the Somme: new technologies like the armored tank made their battlefield debut, while developments in communications lagged behind commanders’ needs. Attrition emerged as the only means of defeating industrialized belligerents that were mobilizing all their resources for war. At the Somme, the allied armies acquired the necessary lessons of modern warfare, without which they could never have prevailed. An exciting, indispensable work of military history that challenges our received ideas about the Battle of the Somme, and about the very nature of war. From the Hardcover edition.
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The First Battle of the Twentieth Century

Author: William James Philpott

Publisher: Alfred a Knopf Incorporated

ISBN: 0307265854

Category: History

Page: 631

View: 6518

A reinterpretation of a defining World War I battle argues that it provided crucial information to British and French forces to end the war by shaping understandings of such emerging technologies as the tank and machine gun.
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Author: William Philpott

Publisher: The Overlook Press

ISBN: 1468312316

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 4798

“Philpott argues persuasively that the last hundred days of the war were the result of a steep learning curve necessitated by earlier bloodbaths.” —The Wall Street Journal A Wall Street Journal Best Non-Fiction Book of 2014! The Great War of 1914–1918 was the first mass conflict to fully mobilize the resources of industrial powers against one another, resulting in a brutal, bloody, protracted war of attrition between the world’s great economies. Now, one hundred years after the first guns of August rang out on the Western front, historian William Philpott reexamines the causes and lingering effects of the first truly modern war. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians, and diplomats, War of Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict was fought as it was fought; and how the attitudes and actions of political and military leaders, and the willing responses of their peoples, stamped the twentieth century with unprecedented carnage on—and behind—the battlefield. War of Attrition also establishes link between the bloody ground war in Europe and political situation in the wider world, particularly the United States. America did not enter the war until 1917, but, as Philpott demonstrates, the war came to America as early as 1914. By 1916, long before the Woodrow Wilson’s impassioned speech to Congress advocating for war, the United States was firmly aligned with the Allies, lending dollars and selling guns and opposing German attempts to spread submarine warfare. War of Attrition skillfully argues that the emergence of the United States on the world stage is directly related to her support for the conflagration that consumed so many European lives and livelihoods. In short, the war that ruined Europe enabled the rise of America.
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The Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Author: William Philpott

Publisher: Abacus

ISBN: 0349142653

Category: History

Page: 760

View: 2678

1 July 1916: the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The hot, hellish day in the fields of northern France that has dominated our perception of the First World War for just shy of a century. The shameful waste; the pointlessness of young lives lost for the sake of a few yards; the barbaric attitudes of the British leaders; the horror and ignominy of failure. All have occupied our thoughts for generations. Yet are we right to view the Somme in this way? Drawing on a vast number of sources such as letters, diaries and numerous archives, Bloody Victory describes in vivid detail the physical conditions, the combat and exceptional bravery against the odds but it also, uniquely, captures how the Somme defined the twentieth century in so many ways. This is an utterly gripping new analysis of one of the most iconic campaigns in history.
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Author: Peter Hart,Nigel Steel

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

ISBN: 1780225725

Category: History

Page: 608

View: 9678

A major new history of the most infamous battle of the First World War, as described by the men who fought it. On 1 July 1916, Douglas Haig's army launched the 'Big Push' that was supposed finally to bring an end to the stalemate on the Western Front. What happened next was a human catastrophe: scrambling over the top into the face of the German machine guns and artillery fire, almost 20,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers were killed that day alone, and twice as many wounded - the greatest loss in a single day ever sustained by the British Army. The battle did not stop there, however. It dragged on for another 4 months, leaving the battlefield strewn with literally hundreds of thousands of bodies. The Somme has remained a byword for the futility of war ever since. In this major new history, Peter Hart describes how the battle looked from the point of view of those who fought it. Using never-before-seen eyewitness testimonies, he shows us this epic conflict from all angles. We see what it was like to crawl across No Man's Land in the face of the German guns, what it was like for those who stayed behind in the trenches - the padres, the artillerymen, the doctors. We also see what the battle looked like from the air, as the RFC battled to keep control of the skies above the battlefield. All this is put in the context of the background to the battle, and Haig's overall strategy for the Western Front, making this the most comprehensive history of the battle since Lyn MacDonald's bestselling work over 20 years ago.
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Author: Martin Middlebrook

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1844154653

Category: History

Page: 352

View: 4189

After an immense but useless bombardment, at 7.30 am. On 1 July 1916 the British Army went over the top and attacked the German trenches. It was the first day of the battle of the Somme, and on that day the British suffered nearly 60,000 casualties, two for every yard of their front. With more than fifty times the daily losses at El Alamein and fifteen times the British casualties on D-day, 1 July 1916 was the blackest day in the history of the British Army. But, more than that, as Lloyd George recognised, it was a watershed in the history of the First World War. The Army that attacked on that day was the volunteer Army that had answered Kitchener's call. It had gone into action confident of a decisive victory. But by sunset on the first day on the Somme, no one could any longer think of a war that might be won. Martin Middlebrook's research has covered not just official and regimental histories and tours of the battlefields, but interviews with hundreds of survivors, both British and German. As to the action itself, he conveys the overall strategic view and the terrifying reality that it was for front-line soldiers.
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Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918

Author: Alexander Watson

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0521881013

Category: History

Page: 288

View: 3479

This book is an innovative comparative history of how German and British soldiers endured the horror of the First World War. Unlike existing literature, which emphasises the strength of societies or military institutions, this study argues that at the heart of armies' robustness lay natural human resilience. Drawing widely on contemporary letters and diaries of British and German soldiers, psychiatric reports and official documentation, and interpreting these sources with modern psychological research, this unique account provides fresh insights into the soldiers' fears, motivations and coping mechanisms. It explains why the British outlasted their opponents by examining and comparing the motives for fighting, the effectiveness with which armies and societies supported men and the combatants' morale throughout the conflict on both sides. Finally it challenges the consensus on the war's end, arguing that not a 'covert strike' but rather an 'ordered surrender' led by junior officers brought about Germany's defeat in 1918.
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Author: Hugh Sebag-Montefiore

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674970039

Category: History

Page: 650

View: 9140

Rescuing from history the heroes on the front line whose bravery has been overlooked, and giving voice to their bereaved relatives at home, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore reveals the Battle of the Somme in all its glory and misery, helping us to realize that there are many meaningful ways to define a battle when seen through the eyes of those who lived it.
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Author: Martin Middlebrook

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 184415498X

Category: History

Page: 430

View: 9466

At 9.30am on 21 March 1918, the last great battle of the First World War commenced when three German armies struck a massive blow against the weak divisions of the British Third and Fifth Armies. It was the first day of what the Germans called the Kaiserschlacht (‘the Kaiser’s Battle’), the series of attacks that were intended to break the deadlock on the Western Front, knock the British Army out of the war, and finally bring victory to Germany. In the event the cost of the gamble was so heavy that once the assault faltered, it remained for the Allies to push the exhausted German armies back and the War was at last over. Critics accounts: The clever blending of written and oral accounts from some 650 surviving British and German soldiers makes the book an extremely convincing reconstruction. SUNDAY TIMES Mr Middlebrook’s industry and patience are displayed in his amazing collection of eyewitness accounts, the compassion in his commentary, the good sense in his analysis’ DAILY TELEGRAPH
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The British Army's Experience on the Western Front 1916-1918

Author: Peter Simkins

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1781593124

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6009

Peter Simkins has established a reputation over the last forty years as one of the most original and stimulating historians of the First World War. He has made a major contribution to the debate about the performance of the British Army on the Western Front. This collection of his most perceptive and challenging essays, which concentrates on British operations in France between 1916 and 1918, shows that this reputation is richly deserved. He focuses on key aspects of the army's performance in battle, from the first day of the Somme to the Hundred Days, and gives a fascinating insight into the developing theory and practice of the army as it struggled to find a way to break through the German line. His rigorous analysis undermines some of the common assumptions - and the myths - that still cling to the history of these British battles.
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From D-Day to the Liberation of Paris June 6th-August 25th,1944

Author: John Keegan

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 1446498131

Category: History

Page: 416

View: 2129

The Allied assault on Normandy beaches was an almost flawless success, but it was to take three months of bitter fighting before the German defence of Normandy finally collapsed and Paris was liberated. In this masterly and highly individual account of that struggle, the reader is subjected to the gruelling ordeals confronted by the combatants - each encounter related from the point of view of a different nationality. While transcending conventional military history, it provides an intensely vivid picture of one of the Second World War's most crucial campaigns.
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From the Schlieffen Plan to Verdun and the Somme

Author: Michael S Neiberg

Publisher: Amber Books Ltd

ISBN: 1908273100

Category: History

Page: 224

View: 4577

The History of World War I series recounts the battles and campaigns of the 'Great War'. From the Falkland Islands to the lakes of Africa, across the Eastern and Western Fronts, to the former German colonies in the Pacific, the World War I series provides a six-volume history of the battles and campaigns that raged on land, at sea and in the air. The Western Front, running from the Belgian coast in the north to the Swiss border in the south, was to prove the decisive battlefront of World War I. It was where the great powers of Germany, France and the British Empire concentrated the bulk of their military might, and it was where many believed the war would be settled before Christmas 1914. The German General Staff had long realized the dangers of fighting a two-front war against both France and Russia simultaneously. They sought to knock the French out of the war quickly, making a rapid advance on Paris through neutral Belgium – the infamous 'Schieffen Plan'. The French declaration of war triggered the German invasion of Belgium less than a week later. After desperate delaying actions fought by the French and British armies, the German hope for swift victory in the West was thwarted by their defeat at the First Battle of the Marne. Following a 'Race to the Sea' – where each side sought to outflank the other, culminating in the battles of First Ypres and the Yser – the Western Front settled down into a pattern of trench warfare that would remain little changed until 1917. The year 1915 proved one of frustration for the Allies as attack after attack – in Champagne, at Neuve Chapelle, Festubert and Loos – all failed to pierce the German defensive lines. To break the deadlock, a joint Allied offensive was planned for 1916 with simultaneous attacks against the Central Powers to take place in all the European theatres. This planned major effort was pre-empted by the German assault on the fortress city of Verdun, intended to bleed the French Army dry. The joint Somme offensive thus became a largely British and Imperial affair to relieve the pressure on their French allies. The blooding of Kitchener's volunteer New Army on the first day of the Somme has become a byword for the slaughter on the Western Front. By the year's end, it was clear there would be no easy victory for either side. With the last few men who served in World War I now no longer with us, there is no better time to reevaluate this controversial war and shed fresh light on the conflict. With the aid of numerous black and white and color photographs, many previously unpublished, the World War I series recreates the battles and campaigns that raged across the surface of the globe, on land, at sea and in the air. With the aid of over 300 black and white and colour photographs, complemented by full-colour maps, The Western Front 1914–1916 provides a detailed guide to the background and conduct of the conflict on the Western Front in the first half of the war, up to and including the Battles of the Somme and Verdun.
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Arras, Aisne, & Champagne

Author: Jack Sheldon

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1783463457

Category: History

Page: 400

View: 5479

After the great battles of 1916, the Allied Armies planned to launch massive attacks North and South of the Somme. The German withdrawal to the Hindenburg Line in March 1917 forced the new French CinC General Nivelle to rethink and the French embarked on a major attack in the Aisne area and along the Chemin des Dames, with the British conducting large scale diversionary operations around Arras. The French suffered disastrously and, rendered incapable of further offensive operations, it fell to the British to step up the pressure, which they did albeit at a terrible price. This latest work by expert Jack Sheldon describes the event of Spring 1917 from the defenders' perspective. In particular it reveals the methods the Germans used to smash the French attacks and Oberst Fritz von Lossberg's transformation of the defences in the Arras front. Actions described in detail are the bitter battles around Monchy Le Preun, the Roeux Chemical works and Bullecourt as well as the capture of Vimy Ridge.
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Author: Mary Renault

Publisher: Open Road Media

ISBN: 1480432946

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 276

View: 7447

An “intriguing and invaluable” biography of Alexander the Great by the novelist whose fiction redefined Ancient Greece (The New York Times). Acclaimed writer Mary Renault is widely known for her provocative historical novels of Alexander the Great and his lovers. But she also authored this nonfiction classic, a fresh, illuminating look at a man whose legend has remained larger than life for more than two thousand years. From his dysfunctional family dynamics to his molding under Aristotle, from his shocking rise to power at age twenty to the staggering violence of his military campaigns, Renault is clear-eyed about Alexander’s accomplishments and his flaws. Infectious in its enthusiasm, this is a penetrating study of an unrivaled conqueror, enduring icon, and fascinating man. Hailed as both “a splendid achievement in nonfiction” (The Plain Dealer) and “the perfect companion to her Alexander novels” (The Wall Street Journal), Renault’s engrossing and accessible biography stands alone in the pantheon of Alexander the Great literature. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Mary Renault including rare images of the author.
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From the Somme to Victory

Author: Gary Sheffield

Publisher: Aurum Press Limited

ISBN: 1781316171

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 9312

‘Well written and persuasive …objective and well-rounded….this scholarly rehabilitation should be the standard biography’, Andrew Roberts, Mail on Sunday ‘A true judgment of him must lie somewhere between hero and zero, and in this detailed biography Gary Sheffield shows himself well qualified to make it … a balanced portrait’ The Sunday Times ‘Solid scholarship and admirable advocacy’ Sunday Telegraph Douglas Haig is the single most controversial general in British history. In 1918, after his armies had played a major role in the First World War, he was feted as a saviour. But within twenty years his reputation was in ruins, and it has never recovered. Drawing on previously unknown private letters and new scholarship unavailable when The Chief was first published, eminent First World War historian Gary Sheffield reassesses Haig’s reputation, assessing his critical role in preparing the army for war.
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The British Army's Experience on the Western Front 1916-1918

Author: Peter Simkins

Publisher: Pen and Sword

ISBN: 1473841046

Category: History

Page: 256

View: 6395

Peter Simkins has established a reputation over the last forty years as one of the most original and stimulating historians of the First World War. He has made a major contribution to the debate about the performance of the British Army on the Western Front. This collection of his most perceptive and challenging essays, which concentrates on British operations in France between 1916 and 1918, shows that this reputation is richly deserved. He focuses on key aspects of the army's performance in battle, from the first day of the Somme to the Hundred Days, and gives a fascinating insight into the developing theory and practice of the army as it struggled to find a way to break through the German line. His rigorous analysis undermines some of the common assumptions - and the myths - that still cling to the history of these British battles.
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Author: Paul Reed

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

ISBN: 1848844735

Category: History

Page: 246

View: 2503

This new edition of Paul Reed's classic book Walking the Somme is an essential traveling companion for anyone visiting the Somme battlefields of 1916. His book, first published over ten years ago, is the result of a lifetime's research into the battle and the landscape over which it was fought. From Gommecourt, Serre, Beaumont-Hamel and Thiepval to Montauban, High Wood, Delville Wood and Flers, he guides the walker across the major sites associated with the fighting. These are now features of the peaceful Somme countryside. In total there are 16 walks, including a new one tracing the operations around Mametz Wood, and all the original walks have been fully revised and brought up to date. Walking the Somme brings the visitor not only to the places where the armies clashed but to the landscape of monuments, cemeteries and villages that make the Somme battlefield so moving to explore.
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Author: Michael S. Neiberg

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674049543

Category: History

Page: 292

View: 2048

Looking beyond diplomats and generals, Neiberg shows that neither nationalist passions nor desires for revenge took Europe to war in 1914. Dance of the Furies gives voice to a generation who suddenly found themselves compelled to participate in a ghastly, protracted orgy of violence they never imagined would come to pass.
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A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo, and the Somme

Author: John Keegan

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 9781440673993

Category: History

Page: 368

View: 4173

Master military historian John Keegan’s groundbreaking analysis of combat and warfare The Face of Battle is military history from the battlefield: a look at the direct experience of individuals at the "point of maximum danger." Without the myth-making elements of rhetoric and xenophobia, and breaking away from the stylized format of battle descriptions, John Keegan has written what is probably the definitive model for military historians. And in his scrupulous reassessment of three battles representative of three different time periods, he manages to convey what the experience of combat meant for the participants, whether they were facing the arrow cloud at the battle of Agincourt, the musket balls at Waterloo, or the steel rain of the Somme. “The best military historian of our generation.” –Tom Clancy
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A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918

Author: Adam Hochschild

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

ISBN: 9780547549217

Category: History

Page: 480

View: 3939

World War I stands as one of history’s most senseless spasms of carnage, defying rational explanation. In a riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time, Adam Hochschild brings it to life as never before. He focuses on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes. Thrown in jail for their opposition to the war were Britain’s leading investigative journalist, a future winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, and an editor who, behind bars, published a newspaper for his fellow inmates on toilet paper. These critics were sometimes intimately connected to their enemy hawks: one of Britain’s most prominent women pacifist campaigners had a brother who was commander in chief on the Western Front. Two well-known sisters split so bitterly over the war that they ended up publishing newspapers that attacked each other. Today, hundreds of military cemeteries spread across the fields of northern France and Belgium contain the bodies of millions of men who died in the “war to end all wars.” Can we ever avoid repeating history?
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