Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western by Roger Chickering, Stig Förster

By Roger Chickering, Stig Förster

This quantity analyzes the 1st global conflict in mild of the idea that of "total war," quite the systematic erosion of the excellence among the army and civilian spheres. best students from Europe and North the USA discover the efforts of squaddies and statesmen, industrialists and financiers, execs and civilian activists to regulate to the monstrous, pervasive pressures that the army stalemate at the western entrance imposed on belligerent and impartial societies.

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Extra info for Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914-1918 (Publications of the German Historical Institute)

Example text

Means became more important than ends: Again the implication was a headlong rush toward total war. World War I therefore produced a fresh vocabulary to explain this new sort of war. On the one hand was the word attrition; on the other was a concept possibly even more imprecise and covered by a number of phrases - machine warfare, mechanical war, a battle of material, industrialized war. The point about both is that they began with tactics and tactical possibilities and shaped strategies accordingly.

This is not to say that mobile warfare in 1914 did not generate shortages; it did, but they tended to be local and limited, the consequence of transport problems more than of inadequate production. But when armies dug trenches and erected field fortifications, they became more dependent on artillery, and on mortars and grenades. The gunners themselves could identify more targets and could rely on more secure lines of supply: Both were factors that encouraged greater expenditure of munitions. Of course, the trenches were not adopted out of any conscious wish to forfeit maneuver warfare for siege warfare.

These difficulties were symptomatic of the deeper problem that recruiting the New Armies had raised. 14 The paradox was sublime. The growth of the New Armies eroded its own material base. A major portion of the new recruits were industrial workers in essential sectors of military production. 15 Kitchener himself has borne much of the blame for this conundrum. The old hero, who tended to treat his colleagues like Sudanese tribesmen, had neither the vision nor the flexibility to understand the vast, complex, and subtle interdependencies between modern mass armies and the industrial societies that gave them life.

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