Catastrophe

Catastrophe

Europe Goes to War 1914

Book - 2013
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The Amazon History Book of the Year 2013 is a magisterial chronicle of the calamity that befell Europe in 1914 as the continent shifted from the glamour of the Edwardian era to the tragedy of total war. In 1914, Europe plunged into the 20th century's first terrible act of self-immolation- what was then called The Great War. On the eve of its centenary, Max Hastings seeks to explain both how the conflict came about and what befell millions of men and women during the first months of strife. He finds the evidence overwhelming, that Austria and Germany must accept principal blame for the outbreak. While what followed was a vast tragedy, he argues passionately against the 'poets' view', that the war was not worth winning. It was vital to the freedom of Europe, he says, that the Kaiser's Germany should be defeated. His narrative of the early battles will astonish those whose images of the war are simply of mud, wire, trenches and steel helmets. Hastings describes how the French Army marched into action amid virgin rural landscapes, in uniforms of red and blue, led by mounted officers, with flags flying and bands playing. The bloodiest day of the entire Western war fell on 22 August 1914, when the French lost 27,000 dead. Four days later, at Le Cateau the British fought an extraordinary action against the oncoming Germans, one of the last of its kind in history. In October, at terrible cost they held the allied line against massive German assaults in the first battle of Ypres. The author also describes the brutal struggles in Serbia, East Prussia and Galicia, where by Christmas the Germans, Austrians, Russians and Serbs had inflicted on each other three million casualties. This book offers answers to the huge and fascinating question 'what happened to Europe in 1914?', through Max Hastings's accustomed blend of top-down and bottom-up accounts from a multitude of statesmen and generals, peasants, housewives and private soldiers of seven nations. His narrative pricks myths and offers some striking and controversial judgements. For a host of readers gripped by the author's last international best-seller All Hell Let Loose, this will seem a worthy successor.
Publisher: London : William Collins, ©2013.
ISBN: 9780007398577
Characteristics: xxxvii, 628 pages, [32] pages of plates :,illustrations, maps, portraits ;,25 cm.

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autodog
Mar 11, 2014

Written with a terribly strong British bias. Ludicrous to state that the motive behind the treaty with Russia was to prevent a potential conflict with a nation having a land-locked army thousands of miles away, and no serious naval presence since its war with Japan. To put forward the idea that it was not motivated by a desire to restrict German imperialism and the Kaiser's desire to challenge the British fleet in numbers and strength flies in the face of reality. Suggesting that Britain just happened to get swept up in the current generated by all those other "bad" warlike European nations is unacceptable, especially in light of the exploitative history of the British empire.

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