New York, NY :
- Item Description
- Originally published: London : Allen Lane, 2014.
- Physical Description
- xv, 787 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
- Includes bibliographical references (pages 567-751) and index.
- Main Author
- Decisions for war
- Mobilizing the people
- War of illusions
- The war of defence
- Security for all time
- Crisis at the front
- Dangerous ideas
- The bread peace
Watson (Goldsmiths, Univ. of London, UK) has contributed a definitive resource to the literature on the strategic enigma being debated during the centennial of WW I. Whereas historians such as Margaret MacMillan, Sean McMeekin, and Christopher Clark have spread cause/blame for the war between Entente and Central Powers, only Geoffrey Wawro (A Mad Catastrophe, CH, Sep'14, 52-0431) has concentrated on the problems of Austria-Hungary in peace and war, 1914-18. Watson has determined that blame for the start of the war falls first on Austria-Hungary and then on Germany. He meticulously details how Austrian diplomats and military refused to accept the possibility in July 1914 that a "punitive" war versus Serbia could expand into a larger war. He then shows that in early July 1914, Germany in effect gave Austria carte blanche to deal with Serbia as it saw fit in the wake of the archduke's assassination in Sarajevo. Though he recognizes that Russian mobilization belatedly forced Germany to admit the inevitability of war (as Clark states), Watson does not excuse the kaiser and his ministers from responsibility. Finally, he argues that the Central Powers created a people's war that inevitably destroyed much of Eastern Europe by the end of the Versailles peace treaty and destabilized Europe until WW II. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. --A. M. Mayer, College of Staten Island Andrew Mark Mayer College of Staten Island http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.188283 Copyright 2014 American Library Association.Review by Library Journal Reviews
Watson (history, Univ. of London; Enduring the Great War) tells the story of World War I from the perspectives of Austria and Germany. He examines the political causes and goals of the war, popular support for the battle in Germany and Austria-Hungary, and moral culpability for atrocities committed during the war. His tone is especially sympathetic to Germany, while maintaining some criticism of Austria-Hungary. However, there is heavy criticism of Russia for turning what could have been a localized Balkan conflict into a worldwide conflagration and for brutalities carried out by the tsar's military and government. Watson's descriptions of civilian conditions during the war also bring into question the morality of Britain's blockade of the Central Powers. (France and Turkey are noticeably absent in his analysis.) The evidence is persuasively presented, especially since Watson fairly handles alternative views. VERDICT This account is an excellent contrast to recent books that have emphasized German culpability and brutality such as Max Hastings's Catastrophe 1914. In a centennial anniversary crowded with titles on World War I, Watson's book stands out and will appeal both to readers with a casual interest in the history of the Great War and to specialists seeking a balanced and nuanced view of the event.—Michael Farrell, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL [Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews
University of London historian Watson (Enduring the Great War) makes a major contribution to the ever-growing historiography of WWI with this comprehensive analysis of the war efforts of the primary Central Powers: Germany and Austria-Hungary. Watson makes a strong case that "fear, not aggression or unrestrained militarism" impelled them to war in 1914. Fear fueled the unexpected popular consent that sustained both Hohenzollern and Habsburg empires in a "war of illusions" that devolved into a "war of defense" and finally into a war for survival. From the beginning, the Central Powers were overmatched and overextended. They answered the resulting "desperation and alienation" with failed policies of "compulsion and control," a series of disastrously bad policy decisions such as the U-boat war, and a doubling-down on autocracy and repression at the expense of peace and reform. In 1917, both empires suffered from a deep "crisis of legitimacy": only the possibility of "quick and total victory" sustained the foundering alliance. A series of desperate offensives produced military, political, and above all social collapse. Watson concludes that the "suffering, and the jealousies, prejudices, and violence that spawned or exacerbated" in Central Europe laid the foundations of WWII far more than anything decided at Versailles. (Oct.) [Page ]. Copyright 2014 PWxyz LLC
Retells the first world war from the perspective of the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary, highlighting the impressive mobilization of troops that sustained the war and the devastating impact the war had on each nation.Review by Publisher Summary 2
This is the first modern history of World War I from the perspectives of the two central powers--Germany and Austria--who, together, lost one-third of the war’s dead. Watson argues that popular consent was indispensable in fighting the first “total war” of the twentieth century. There are three themes: how consent for war was won and maintained; how extreme and escalating violence throughout the war radicalized German and Austro-Hungarian war aims and actions and the consequences; the tragic social fragmentation. There are 13 chapters: decisions for war; mobilizing the people; war of illusions; the war of defence; encirclement; security for all time; crisis at the front; deprivation; remobilization; U-boats; dangerous ideas; the bread peace; collapse. Annotation ©2014 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)Review by Publisher Summary 3
A prize-winning, magisterial history of World War I from the perspective of the defeated Central Powers For the Central Powers, the First World War started with high hopes for an easy victory. But those hopes soon deteriorated as Germany's attack on France failed, Austria-Hungary's armies suffered catastrophic losses, and Britain's ruthless blockade brought both nations to the brink of starvation. The Central powers were trapped in the Allies' ever-tightening Ring of Steel. In this compelling history, Alexander Watson retells the war from the perspective of its losers: not just the leaders in Berlin and Vienna, but the people of Central Europe. The war shattered their societies, destroyed their states, and imparted a poisonous legacy of bitterness and violence. A major reevaluation of the First World War, Ring of Steel is essential for anyone seeking to understand the last century of European history.Review by Publisher Summary 4
A prize-winning, magisterial history of World War I from the perspective of the defeated Central PowersFor the Central Powers, the First World War started with high hopes for an easy victory. But those hopes soon deteriorated as Germany's attack on France failed, Austria-Hungary's armies suffered catastrophic losses, and Britain's ruthless blockade brought both nations to the brink of starvation. The Central powers were trapped in the Allies' ever-tightening Ring of Steel.In this compelling history, Alexander Watson retells the war from the perspective of its losers: not just the leaders in Berlin and Vienna, but the people of Central Europe. The war shattered their societies, destroyed their states, and imparted a poisonous legacy of bitterness and violence. A major reevaluation of the First World War, Ring of Steel is essential for anyone seeking to understand the last century of European history.