1914-1918: The History of the First World War by David Stevenson

By David Stevenson

In the summertime of 1914 Europe exploded right into a frenzy of mass violence. The conflict that had international repercussions, destroying 4 empires and costing hundreds of thousands of lives. Even the positive nations have been scarred for a iteration, and we nonetheless this present day stay in the conflict's shadow. during this significant new research, released a few 90 years after the 1st global battle all started, David Stevenson re-examines the motives, path and influence of this 'war to finish war', putting it within the context of its period and exposing its underlying dynamics. His ebook offers a wide-ranging overseas heritage, drawing on insights from the most recent study. It bargains compelling solutions to the foremost questions on how this poor fight opened up: questions that stay disturbingly correct for our personal time

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They included the fortress-smashing Austrian 305mm and the German 420mm. Machine guns were divided into heavy and light models. All those in use in 1914 were heavy, weighing at least 40–60kg and needing a crew of three to six men to operate them. Light (9–14kg) machine guns were developed during the war, and could be carried by one man or mounted on an aircraft. The most powerfully armed warships in 1914 are referred to in the text as ‘capital ships’. They comprised battleships and battlecruisers.

Japan’s economy remained backward and its armed forces were efficient but remote. America’s economy was already the world’s strongest, and its navy was large and modern, but Washington was expected to stay neutral in a European conflict and its army was tiny. If the European states fell out, no outside force seemed strong enough to bang their heads together. Economic development also transformed European domestic politics. In one country after another, faced with sprawling cities and a self-conscious bourgeoisie and working class, monarchies had conceded elected parliaments and civil liberties to win more active consent from the governed.

Weltpolitik’ s most substantial manifestation, however, was the Navy Laws of 1898 and 1900. With Reichstag approval Wilhelm’s navy secretary, Alfred von Tirpitz, began building a new fleet of short-range battleships configured for action in the North Sea. Wilhelm, Tirpitz, and Bernhard von Bülow (chancellor from 1900 to 1909) did not intend to fight Britain but rather to apply leverage that would encourage it to come to terms and make concessions in a future crisis. 42 This reasoning was plausible at the turn of the century, when Britain was at odds with Russia and France and an economic boom swelled tax revenue and made naval expansion affordable.

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