The Best Books on World War I | Five Books Expert Recommendations - Ratingperson (2022)

With 100 years of perspective and many historic analysis completed, can we now say what World Conflict I used to be about?

No, I don’t suppose we will. I believe that’s what makes it fascinating, that there nonetheless isn’t a lot consensus about why it was fought, the way it was fought, the way it ended, and its penalties. All of these stay contested floor. The centenary of the final 4 years has proven there are nonetheless all kinds of views about all these points, which for a historian is after all improbable.

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What sort of totally different views are there?

An apparent one is the distinction between individuals who suppose that the First World Conflict was brought on by German aggression and those that suppose it was all a horrible accident and that the world slipped into battle. That’s the view of Christopher Clarke’s ebook, The Sleepwalkers, which was printed in 2012.

The talk in regards to the origins of the First World Conflict began even earlier than the battle broke out, and has been raging kind of ever since. Possibly it’s the identical arguments making a return and once more. However, nonetheless, we’re no nearer to reaching any form of closure on the explanations for the outbreak.

And in the event you can’t clarify why it occurred, it’s exhausting to clarify the aim of it. It makes it appear like a really futile battle, to many. After all, to some individuals all battle is futile and that is only a significantly excessive instance. Then there are others who say, ‘No, this was about one thing. The individuals who fought it actually thought they had been preventing for one thing and about one thing necessary on the time. They usually had been ready, if needed, to sacrifice their lives for it.’ We should always, due to this fact, pay attention to that and respect that after we look again on the actions they took and what they did.

“The talk in regards to the origins of the First World Conflict began even earlier than the battle broke out, and has been raging kind of ever since.”

Then, in the event you look particularly on the conduct of the battle and the way it was fought, there may be quite a lot of the Blackadder Goes Forth view of the trenches, poor Tommies and fool generals, which doesn’t essentially replicate the truth terribly properly both.

So I believe there are a number of totally different areas historians and different individuals can nonetheless argue about. It’s all very nuanced, gray slightly than black and white. That makes it slightly extra fascinating than, for instance, World Conflict II, which by comparability seems prefer it’s a really black-and-white battle.

You’ve written a biography of one of many German commanders, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, and appeared on the battle by his eyes. Did you get a way, whereas writing that, of why the Germans had been preventing World Conflict I?

It was concern and paranoia. Possibly there have been some Germans who thought, ‘Let’s conquer the entire of Europe’, however I believe most of them had been afraid of being encircled. They noticed an alliance of Britain, France and Russia, these robust powers on their borders and getting stronger on a regular basis, as they noticed it. They had been very frightened about the opportunity of Germany being crushed by some mixture of these powers at some indeterminate level sooner or later. They felt, because of this, that if a scenario arose the place they must defend themselves, they’d achieve this. I suppose it’s a bit like a cornered canine: essentially the most vicious canine is usually one who’s both wounded or caught in a scenario that he can’t get out of. And I believe there’s a big ingredient of that in why the Germans went to battle, or at the very least why individuals like Rupprecht thought that they need to go to battle.

Let’s discuss in regards to the books you’re recommending. What had been your standards for selecting them? Are they educational books reflecting the newest analysis, or extra common? What did you bear in mind?

I attempted to suggest a combination, some extra educational, some extra accessible. Excellence was the principle criterion. I attempted to seek out 5 books, every of which, indirectly, one of the best at what it was making an attempt to attain. I additionally wished to attempt to replicate the truth that the best way we write the historical past of the First World Conflict has modified immensely, actually from after I was in school. The vary of issues that we’re involved in is far wider now than even 20 or 30 years in the past. So it’s turn out to be a a lot richer topic for these historians who’ve tried to take a look at the issues in new and fascinating methods.

So first in your checklist is a ebook by Michael Howard, The First World Conflict (2003), which is a really good, readable introduction to World Conflict I. It offers you sense of the entire battle, together with the peace settlement at Versailles. Inform me what you want about it.

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To begin with, as a standalone ebook, that is one of the best, single, brief introduction to the entire First World Conflict. It’s a exceptional piece of concision, the place Sir Michael has apparently absorbed all of the analysis in regards to the First World Conflict after which boiled it right down to 150 pages, which is exceptional.

However it’s additionally partly due to who wrote it. Sir Michael Howard is a really superb historian by any measure, however actually the best dwelling navy historian or historian of warfare. He’s somebody who has fought—he gained a medal within the Second World Conflict; he’s considered battle all his life. He’s introduced all of that pondering and expertise and writing and advising policymakers and all kinds of different issues and put all of it into this one tiny little ebook in regards to the First World Conflict. So it’s extremely wealthy and clever and balanced within the views that it takes. And since it additionally displays all of the analysis that was wonderful when he wrote it, it’s the easiest means for a newbie to get into the First World Conflict.

So he isn’t significantly on one facet of the talk or one other?

It’s a balanced, trendy interpretation.

It’s nice that you may get an outline of the entire battle as a result of, in any other case, it may be a bit exhausting getting that.

Effectively fairly. The First World Conflict is a trees-and-forests battle. There may be a lot of it, it’s very straightforward to get misplaced within the element and lose sight of the larger image. The place he’s so good is that he’s received a way of what life was like for the strange soldier and but can see the general image, the geopolitics that was at work and the technique.

The second ebook in your checklist is To Arms (2001), quantity one in all Hew Strachan’s ebook The First World Conflict. That is fairly an enormous ebook.

Sure, 1,139 pages. You want fairly robust wrists if you wish to learn it in mattress. The bibliography alone is 50 pages. And it’s nearly all about simply the primary 12 months of the battle, 1914.

In some ways, I believe Sir Hew Strachan is the pure successor to Michael Howard. He was additionally Professor of Army Historical past right here in Oxford, at All Souls School.

What’s totally different about this ebook is that though, once more, it’s a synthesis, what he’s completed is he’s gone off and skim all the pieces in each language and he’s recognized—I believe appropriately—that you may’t perceive any battle, actually not the First World Conflict, until you take a look at it from all totally different sides concerned. Conflict is a bit like different individuals’s marriages; it’s exhausting sufficient to know even when you understand all of the information. If you solely know one facet of the story, you don’t have any likelihood. So his perspective all through is comparative. He seems at it from the British viewpoint, the German viewpoint, the Austrian viewpoint and so forth and so forth. You get an actual sense of the similarities and variations between the international locations and their expertise of the battle and what they’re all about. That’s the primary level.

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“Conflict is a bit like different individuals’s marriages; it’s exhausting sufficient to know even when you understand all of the information. If you solely know one facet of the story, you don’t have any likelihood.”

The second level is that he understands one thing that, significantly in Britain, we are likely to overlook. The centenary commemorations had been instance: you might have been excused for pondering that the British had been the one individuals within the First World Conflict. There was little or no dialogue of their allies and nearly none of their enemies. Whereas Hew Strachan is saying, ‘No, you possibly can’t do this. You’ve received to think about it as a world battle. It’s referred to as the First World Conflict for a cause. You’ve received to place the world again on this planet battle.’ He sees it very a lot as a world occasion.

Though, in principle, the ebook is simply about 1914, in follow he spends quite a lot of time speaking about themes that run by the entire battle, just like the financing of it. He additionally tells the entire story of the battle in Africa, all the best way as much as 1918, on this first quantity. So it’s a lot larger than it pretends to be.

You get a really actual sense of how the battle moved from being only a bunch of Europeans preventing one another right into a World Conflict, each by way of the European battle sucking within the assets of the world so as to add gas to the fireplace but in addition by way of the battle being exported to Africa, to Asia, to the Americas.

It’s a really advanced and complex ebook. Are there any take-homes or generalizations we will make after studying it?

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It’s not a piece of advocacy. He’s not a barrister arguing a selected case. He’s extra like a choose. On the entire, he’s summing up different individuals’s arguments and saying, ‘On steadiness, I believe this.’ So it’s magisterial in that sense. It’s extra helpful for serving to you perceive the general image than for preventing a selected nook or a selected interpretation. Though, as I say, the 2 factors that come out of the ebook are the necessity to deal with the battle internationally and the necessity to see it globally. These had been the brand new departures that he made when the ebook got here out in 2001. Though some individuals had talked about it in these phrases, not sufficient individuals had. He was, primarily, laying down the agenda to say, ‘In future, right here’s how we must be fascinated by it.’

What does he say in regards to the causes of the battle?

On the causes of the battle, he does two fascinating issues. The primary chapter of the ebook is a reasonably conventional diplomatic historical past, ‘Such and such an envoy stated this’ and ‘Such and such a minister stated that’ in the middle of which he principally explains that he thinks—I’m afraid of caricaturing his argument as a result of it’s all the time extra difficult—however, broadly, that Austria Hungary was the risk-taker. It was Austro-Hungarian errors, backed by Germany, that triggered the outbreak of the First World Conflict. This slithering-by-accident-into-war isn’t the case.

Secondly, he says, ‘Look. There’s one other facet to this which isn’t truly to do with simply the diplomacy. If you wish to discover the causes of the battle, we’ve to look deeper. We’ve to look into mentalities: how individuals had been pondering and the best way that folks considered battle and worldwide relations. And even cultural tendencies.’ It’s in regards to the concepts that make individuals struggle in addition to the comparatively dry diplomatic paperwork.

One of many factors that he makes is that the normal distinction that almost all historians make—whereby, broadly, you will have worldwide historians speaking in regards to the causes of battle after which navy historians speaking about what occurs throughout the battle—is a false one. You possibly can’t truly clarify the causes of the battle with out additionally its conduct and the way it’s fought out. Nor are you able to perceive the conduct with out understanding the causes. And so he tries, in the event you like, to bridge the divide between peace and battle.

I’m intrigued by the suggestion that they’d totally different concepts about battle again then.

There’s a component of social Darwinism to all this—the thought being that in the event you don’t develop, you’ll die. It’s a must to maintain increasing, or else you’ll die as a rustic or as a nation. That concept goes deep into the German psyche. That’s one instance. However it’s additionally simply, ‘Is battle a viable means of carrying on worldwide relations?’ Again then it was broadly accepted that it was. Now, most of us would most likely say it isn’t.

The ebook is about 1914, and he writes a couple of key battle that 12 months, the Battle of the Marne. He writes, “Germany had did not safe the victory on which its battle plan rested…With hindsight, some would say that Germany had already misplaced the battle.” Is {that a} broadly held view?

I don’t know if it’s a broadly held view, however I maintain it. It’s very exhausting to see how Germany may have gained the battle after the Battle of the Marne in 1914. She nonetheless needed to lose it, however she wasn’t going to win it after that. The battle had been determined by that battle, however it hadn’t been concluded. So, I believe so and doubtless some navy historians would additionally say that’s the case.

Let’s go on to the subsequent ebook in your checklist, which is Adrian Gregory’s The Final Nice Conflict (2008).

The primary two books we mentioned had been each making an attempt to inform the worldwide historical past of the battle. This ebook is doing one thing totally different. Adrian Gregory is among the finest historians of the British Residence Entrance that we’ve. What he’s been in a position to do is to drag collectively the social historical past of the First World Conflict—with an excellent understanding of the dynamics of the battle itself as properly—and put all of it right into a package deal. This ebook is, I believe, one of the best single quantity ebook on the British Residence Entrance within the First World Conflict.

The best way that the ebook pulls collectively social historical past and cultural historical past, specifically, is essentially the most distinctive factor about it. So when he’s speaking, as an illustration, about what motivated individuals to go to battle, he’s truly asking a query that French historians have requested themselves lots, however nobody in Britain had actually bothered to ask till he did. His rationalization is partly the political elements we had been speaking about earlier, however it’s additionally about cultural determinants, such because the function of faith, for instance. He’s in a position to look a bit sideways at a few of these questions and consider them in non-traditional methods, which I believe provides quite a lot of richness to the story.

So how did faith contribute to individuals going to battle?

There have been individuals who actually thought that God was on Britain’s facet, and that by preventing for Britain, they had been doing God’s work. It was an excessive view, however there have been individuals who thought that. There have been others, as an illustration, who when the churchmen stood up on a Sunday and gave their sermons and stated we must always struggle the Hun as a result of he represents all the pieces that’s ungodly believed that too. A variety of the tropes that had been used had been suggesting—possibly generally very subtly—that this was a sacrifice not just for Britain but in addition to God.

It’s hanging that every one the memorials of the First World Conflict have non secular overtones. There’s a cross in each Commonwealth Conflict Graves Fee cemetery, as an illustration. There’s the stone of sacrifice, which seems identical to an altar. A variety of trendy historians, due to who we’re and the comparatively secular society that almost all of us have been introduced up in, are likely to underestimate how a lot faith was a part of the warp and weft of on a regular basis life 100 years in the past. It should, due to this fact, have performed a a lot larger function in explaining how individuals acted.

Are there every other causes that folks had been ready to go to battle? What debate is that this pertaining to?

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The entire argument is actually, ‘Have been individuals tricked into going to battle?’ And his argument is, ‘No, they weren’t.’ However, there wasn’t mass enthusiasm. Folks did cheer within the streets, that undoubtedly occurred. However most individuals went off to battle as a result of they felt they needed to, slightly than as a result of they actively wished to. They suppose they’re preventing for residence and nation or to guard their wives and so forth.

So individuals weren’t usually eager to go to battle. Who was desirous to go to battle?

There are some people who find themselves. There’s Rupert Brooke, ‘To show, as swimmers into cleanness leaping, / Glad from a world grown previous and chilly and weary’: we’ve been dwelling on this murky, not sure world we don’t actually perceive—within the Edwardian interval there was quite a lot of social battle—and out of the blue the battle makes all the pieces easy and clear. We all know who’s on our facet. We all know who we’re towards and we all know what to do. We’ve received a job to try this doesn’t contain us having to discover a job. So there’s a few of that.

“We’ve been dwelling on this murky, not sure world we don’t actually perceive, and out of the blue the battle makes all the pieces easy and clear. We all know who’s on our facet. We all know who we’re towards and we all know what to do.”

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However I don’t suppose you need to confuse lack of keenness with lack of willingness. They’re prepared to go. They’re prepared to go simply as quickly as they’ve sorted out their residence affairs and made certain that their enterprise goes to be taken care of and that the spouse and children are going to be all proper. They ensure all that’s completed after which they be a part of up. The push to the colors doesn’t occur on the primary day of battle, which is while you’d anticipate it to if everybody was mad eager to go off and struggle. It occurs after a couple of month.

Within the ebook, what level does Adrian Gregory make about our reminiscence of World Conflict I being too skewed by World Conflict II? He appears to really feel fairly strongly about it.

World Conflict II seems like an easy campaign towards the Nazis. World Conflict I can look futile and exhausting to clarify compared. Now, after all, that’s not fairly true in both case. The Second World Conflict wasn’t fought to save lots of the Jews; individuals didn’t know what would occur to the Jews in 1939. The character of the Second World Conflict modified lots because it went on. However, with hindsight, it seems very black and white. With the First World Conflict it’s simply not that easy.

There’s one other facet to this as properly, which he touches on, which is that the Second World Conflict is seen as being a progressive battle, in Britain anyway. What are the outcomes of the Second World Conflict? In 1945 you get peace, you get the Attlee authorities, you get the Nationwide Well being Service. There’s the nationalisation of the industries and the beginning of the welfare state. From very early on, individuals like George Orwell, and others, like William Beveridge, had been saying, ‘Look. We are able to’t repeat the errors of the First World Conflict. We’ve to make a greater world on the finish of this one.’ And so there may be this social mission, in the event you like, that runs by World Conflict II, at the very least within the widespread notion.

Whereas with the First World Conflict the dominant feeling gave the impression to be, ‘Once we end this battle, let’s get again to how issues had been. Life was good earlier than. How can we get again there?’ And naturally they fail to get again there. That’s one of many issues that helps trigger the Second World Conflict. So, in the event you like, the Second World Conflict is in tune with historical past. It’s going with the march of progress whereas the First World Conflict seems reactionary. It’s not true; quite a lot of that is hindsight.

Let’s transfer onto your fourth alternative, Studying to Struggle (2017) by Aimee Fox, which is about navy innovation.

I’ve to declare an curiosity right here as a result of she is a scholar of mine.

Pondering purely in regards to the navy historical past of the battle, quite a lot of it has been caught up with debates in regards to the potential or in any other case of the armies, significantly the British Military, to discover ways to struggle this new form of battle. The standard trope, in the event you watch Oh! What a Pretty Conflict or learn C. S. Forester, is that it’s lions led by donkeys: courageous Tommies let down by these butchers and bunglers who’re their generals.

Within the final 30-odd years, there’s been a little bit of a struggle again towards that widespread view amongst skilled historians. They’ve identified, ‘Effectively, contemplating the issues they confronted, the British Military did a exceptional job of studying and enhancing such that by 1918 they had been able to going toe to toe with the German military—one of the best on this planet—and beating them constantly.’ And due to this fact there should have been some studying course of that was occurring and the thought of butchers and bunglers isn’t as true as widespread opinion would have it.

This argument has been going backwards and forwards for a era or so. It most likely kind of represents the educational consensus that there was a ‘studying curve’ (the shorthand that’s used).

However the argument had received a bit stale, in my view. What Aimee got here alongside and did was say, ‘Effectively, truly, we’re fascinated by this in too slender a body. We’re fascinated by it nearly completely by way of the Western Entrance. We are able to’t do this. What we have to do is consider the British Military as an establishment and a really consultant establishment of British society on the time.’ As a result of this entire argument additionally has a wider resonance, as a result of one of many tales of Britain within the twentieth century is of its decline, that the institution was incapable of change. The military is a microcosm of that.

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So that you’ve received to take a look at the entire military and see how classes that had been learnt in a single place — the Western Entrance, say —had been then utilized in Palestine or Mesopotamia or vice versa. What she additionally did was to say that lecturers have completed quite a lot of work explaining what was learnt, however nobody’s actually defined how the training course of operated. How did these classes get transmitted and the way did individuals study new stuff? She will get into that.

Finally, the image that comes again is far more advanced than individuals had thought. It could possibly be accident, it could possibly be design, however the military got here up with an entire vary of various strategies for disseminating data and classes realized. A few of them are very formal and stratified, a part of the hierarchical construction; some are very casual, individuals sticking up an indication on the discover board within the officer’s membership saying, ‘I’ve received some ideas on this, if anybody needs to return and have a chat with me come alongside.’ She’s managed to reconstruct a few of these networks, particularly the casual ones, which is an extremely troublesome factor to do. So, she’s given us some new methods to consider this.

And was this one thing the German military was superb at, studying? Your ebook mentions it fairly a couple of instances, classes realized going again to OHL, the German excessive command, after which out once more.

The 2 armies had very alternative ways of going about it. The Germans had been far more programmatic and centralized in the best way that they tried to do it. Their self-image was that they had been superb at studying. I don’t suppose they had been. I believe they had been too programmatic. They had been superb at uniformity and systemization, however that made them a bit predictable, which generally is a downside.

“Change is simpler to impact in the event you go together with the cultural grain of the organisation slightly than reducing throughout it”

The British had been much more advert hoc. Generally that may be a nasty factor. Generally you want uniformity and systematization, and the British couldn’t all the time handle that. However the true level—and the identical is true for any organisation—is that change is simpler to impact in the event you go together with the cultural grain of the organisation slightly than reducing throughout it. The British Military with all this advert hocery seems terribly haphazard, however truly it fits the best way the British Military works.

One other factor that got here up a couple of instances in your ebook was the implication that Rupprecht was extra fearful in regards to the French than the British. Why had been you making that time? Have been you arguing towards the view that the British represented extra of a menace?

A bit. It comes again to the purpose I used to be making earlier about individuals fascinated by it as a British expertise. It wasn’t all in regards to the British. Even on the Western Entrance, quite a lot of the time it was in regards to the French—by no means thoughts all the opposite fronts. Within the English language historiography at the very least, we’ve tended to put in writing the French ally out, to a big extent. A number of individuals have tried to place them again in, however quite a lot of the time it’s written about as a British expertise. Effectively it isn’t, truly. Britain is the junior accomplice, militarily. They’re the senior accomplice politically, however they’re the junior accomplice militarily on the bottom in France and Belgium.

We’re now in your final ebook, which is Rites of Spring: The Nice Conflict and the Start of the Trendy Age (1989) by Modris Eksteins.

It is a actually fascinating ebook. It’s deeply flawed, in some ways, however what it does is it views the battle as a cultural phenomenon, slightly than a navy phenomenon. He’s a cultural historian who thinks by way of literature, music, plastic arts, and so forth. He sees the battle as being necessary and fascinating primarily as a result of it heralds or helps to herald modernism. In his view, the First World Conflict performs a serious half in altering the mindset of artists, enabling the Virginia Woolfs and T. S. Eliots to flourish. The anomie and uncertainty and obvious irrationality of occasions all feed into surrealism.

Basically, he says the world adjustments—or begins to alter—with the efficiency of The Ceremony of Spring by Stravinsky in Paris in 1913. It’s an fascinating thesis, however it’s improper. You don’t must be a lot of a cultural historian to know that modernism is usually seen to pre-date that by fairly a great distance. Folks like Debussy and Baudelaire and Oscar Wilde are sometimes seen as modernists in some sense. He additionally conflates modernism and modernity in a means that’s not terribly useful. He talks about this tiny coterie of avant-garde artists as if that’s what everybody within the nation thought. That’s inevitably not true.

However the questions that the ebook is asking, in regards to the connection between these actually earth-shaking occasions and the influence they’ve on people, and the way that feeds by into the best way that folks understand the world round them and work together with it—whether or not that’s artistically or simply by way of their on a regular basis life—I believe are actually, actually fascinating.

I solely dipped into a couple of chapters, one was in regards to the ambiance in Berlin on the eve of the battle. It was very evocative. Later, there’s a chapter about All Quiet on the Western Entrance, and the way Adolf Hitler spent much more time within the trenches than the writer of that ebook. I discovered it very readable, however I wasn’t certain the way it all held collectively, essentially.

I’m unsure it does terribly. Inevitably, he’s cherry choosing from an enormous variety of sources after which making an attempt to tug them collectively into this broader thesis in regards to the trendy world. It doesn’t work, however I believe that’s the character of the mission. For those who go and take a look at 100 totally different artists, you’ll get 100 totally different responses to the battle. They’ll’t be generalized about in that means. However it’s a courageous try.

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How should we remember World War I? ›

The red poppy is the most well known symbol to remember those who have given their lives in war - and it was chosen as a result of World War One. That's because poppies grew on the muddied battlefields after World War One had ended.

Where on the Internet can you find many written primary sources for World War I? ›

The Library of Congress has digitized more than 2,800 books related to World War I that can be found in the Internet Archive . These World War I books were published prior to 1924 and are in the public domain.

Why is it important to read about war? ›

What we do know is that wars displace people, and that those people are often society's most vulnerable: the elderly, the poor, the children. Wars create refugees, people unable to carry on living in their homes or towns because of violence. Books and stories are a way of opening our eyes and of raising our awareness.

Who started World War 1? ›

This list is an overview of the most popular reasons that are cited as the root causes of World War 1. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia got involved to defend Serbia. Germany seeing Russia mobilizing, declared war on Russia. France was then drawn in against Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Who fought in ww1? ›

Over 30 nations declared war between 1914 and 1918. The majority joined on the side of the Allies, including Serbia, Russia, France, Britain, Italy and the United States. They were opposed by Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire, who together formed the Central Powers.

What is the greatest legacy of ww1? ›

Wartime technologies and medical advances resulted in new industries and novel ways to fight disease and treat disability. The roles that women and minorities filled in the war led to the right to vote for women and a raised consciousness of civil rights issues throughout society.

How long do we pause for Remembrance Day? ›

As it marked the end of the day, it came to also symbolize those who had died in service and calls us into remembrance during the two minutes of silence (symbolizing the night).

Why was ww1 so important? ›

The First World War destroyed empires, created numerous new nation-states, encouraged independence movements in Europe's colonies, forced the United States to become a world power and led directly to Soviet communism and the rise of Hitler.

How many people were killed in ww1? ›

There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 5.7 million soldiers while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.

Did soldiers write letters in the trenches? ›

Soldiers wrote letters in spare moments, sometimes from front line trenches or in the calmer surroundings behind the lines. Censorship dictated what servicemen were permitted to disclose in their letters.

Did soldiers in ww1 get letters? ›

During World War One up to 12 million letters a week were delivered to soldiers, many on the front line.

What can we learn from war? ›

Veterans of war are courageous, mindful, mission-driven and loyal to the core. We can all learn to appreciate life no matter how challenging the situation we may be going through. War can teach us that we are stronger than believe ourselves to be and that we may possess strength, wisdom and insight beyond expectation.

Why should children learn about war? ›

War play provides them with opportunities to learn how to regulate passionate emotions, collaborate, forgive, compromise and test their physical abilities. Children are fascinated by war play because of what it teaches them.

Why is literature about war so popular? ›

“There are as many reasons war literature is popular as there are readers,” he says. “Fiction, non-fiction — anything regarding war is popular. There is built-in drama, there is life and death, there is violence, sadness and all of the human emotions that are kind of laid bare and raw.”

Could Germany have won ww1? ›

Absolutely they did, up until the US entered the conflict late in the war. By 1917, Germany was in a difficult position, but there was victory in sight. Russia was broken and revolution was brewing, causing them to withdraw from the conflict so they could focus on their internal problems.

Why did Germany lose ww1? ›

Germany failed to succeed in World War One because of three main reasons, the failure of the Schlieffen plan, nationalism, and the allies' effective use of attrition warfare.

Did anyone fight in both wars? ›

Carton de Wiart served in the Boer War, World War One and World War Two. In the process he was shot in the face, losing his left eye, and was also shot through the skull, hip, leg, ankle and ear.

Which war had the most deaths? ›

By far the most costly war in terms of human life was World War II (1939–45), in which the total number of fatalities, including battle deaths and civilians of all countries, is estimated to have been 56.4 million, assuming 26.6 million Soviet fatalities and 7.8 million Chinese civilians were killed.

Who lost WW1? ›

The war pitted the Central Powers—mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey—against the Allies—mainly France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States. It ended with the defeat of the Central Powers.

What did China do WW1? ›

China participated in World War I from 1917 to 1918 in an alliance with the Entente Powers. Although China never sent troops overseas, 140,000 Chinese labourers (as a part of the British Army, the Chinese Labour Corps) served for both British and French forces before the end of the war.

When did ww1 end? ›

How did Europe go to war in 1914? ›

Europe goes to war

On 31 July, Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia demanding it demobilise. The next day, this ultimatum expired without a reply. Germany declared war on Russia and ordered its own general mobilisation. France knew that it faced German invasion, but was clear that it must stand or fall with Russia.

Could Germany have won ww1? ›

Absolutely they did, up until the US entered the conflict late in the war. By 1917, Germany was in a difficult position, but there was victory in sight. Russia was broken and revolution was brewing, causing them to withdraw from the conflict so they could focus on their internal problems.

What countries did not fight in ww1? ›

At the outbreak of war in August 1914, the majority of the world's nations did not belong to either belligerent bloc. On 11 November 1918, only a handful of states remained neutral: Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain in Europe, and Mexico, Chile and Argentina in South America.

Why did Germany lose WWI? ›

Germany failed to succeed in World War One because of three main reasons, the failure of the Schlieffen plan, nationalism, and the allies' effective use of attrition warfare.

Who does Christopher Clark blame for WW1? ›

Germany has usually been blamed for escalating the conflict, but Clark refuses to play the blame game, arguing that the Germans were not alone in their paranoid imperialism. The more convincing and terrifying reality is that no nation really meant to wage war, but each sleepwalked into it.

How many people were killed in WW1? ›

There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. The total number of deaths includes 9.7 million military personnel and about 10 million civilians. The Entente Powers (also known as the Allies) lost about 5.7 million soldiers while the Central Powers lost about 4 million.

Why did Germany declare war on Russia? ›

When did Germany declare war on Russia? When Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Serbia's ally Russia started mobilizing for war. Austria-Hungary's ally Germany demanded Russia stop preparing for war. When Russia refused, Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, 1914.


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