The First World War has shaped the history of the twentieth century. It was the first conflict in which airplanes, submarines, and tanks played a significant role, the first in which casualties on the battlefield outnumbered those from disease. It precipitated the collapse of the empires of Austria-Hungary and Turkey, and it promoted revolution in that of Russia. The USA's entry into the war and the part it played in the peace settlement signalled the arrival on the world stage of a new great power. The victors at Versailles took nationalism as one of their guiding principles; they also aimed at instituting their vision of liberalism and even democracy; the political consequences are still being played out.
In this extensively illustrated book, an international team of experts explores the war in all its different aspects. From its causes to its consequences, from the strategy of the politicians to the tactics of the generals, the course of the war is charted and its political and human consequences assessed. Chapters on economic mobilization, the impact on women, the role of propaganda, and the rise of socialism establish the wider social context of fighting which took place at sea and in the air and which ranged on land from the Flanders trenches to the Balkan mountains and the deserts of the Middle East.
The legacy of 'the war to end wars'in poetry and prose, in collective memory and political cultureis with us still, eighty years after that first Armistice Day. This remarkable book helps us understand that legacy.
About the Editor:
Hew Strachan is Professor of Modern History at the University of Glasgow, and Life Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He is the author of The Politics of the British Army (OUP, 1997).
Editor Strachan has commissioned 20 historians to summarize present thought about the July 1914 crisis, the military course of the war, the social and economic strains it exerted in all the belligerents, and its conclusion in revolutions and treaties. The war shattered illusions of every kind, starting with the belief that it would be brief; the accounts of why it was not are pithily rendered, reinforced by powerful illustrations of the western front's moonscapes, among other scenes of the war. Strachan's writers also assess the war outside Europe and the nascent nationalisms it unleashed. Readers will find this comprehensive work a captivating introduction to the Great War.