A remarkable work of scholarship; Brooks went back to the original reports submitted by the British commanders—Jellicoe, Beatty, and all their subordinates, as well as communications logs, gunnery logs, and other supplemental materials. The result is a detailed examination of the battle that strips away a hundred years of claims and counter-claims and provides a detailed, minute-by-minute account of the battle. Along the way Brooks offers many fresh insights into the actions of the British naval leadership. One warning: This is not a book for casual reading—to extract its full value the reader must pay close attention!
A reassessment of Churchill’s role in the conception, planning and execution of the Dardanelles fiasco, as well as an examination of the subsequent inquiry and the long-standing controversy over the operation. Bell previously wrote Churchill and Sea Power, and is an expert on the great man’s relationship with the Royal Navy. His account draws on a mass of archival material, and provides a more nuanced view of the people and politics that contributed to the decision-making process.
If it is true, as they say, that the victors write the history, then our understanding of World War I and the century that followed is at the very least incomplete. Take, for example, the seemingly basic question of when the war ended. The standard date–November 11, 1918–privileges the experiences of the victors, most notably France, Great Britain and the United States, all of which use it as a time for national holidays based on war memorialization.
At issue is more than simple semantics or the preferences of pedantic historians. … Robert Gerwarth cites German veteran and writer of Storm of Steel Ernst Jünger, who said in 1928, “This war is not the end but the beginning of violence.” Thus, we can understand the “First World War” as not having truly ended until at least 1945 or perhaps even 1991 when the Soviet Union, itself a product of the war, finally collapsed. Even discussing the war in terms of winners and losers misses the point. With the possible exception of the United States and Japan, all states came out of the war far worse off than when they went in—and the people of Europe knew it.
In his epilogue, Gerwarth notes that by the late 1930s only two of the new post-1918 states, Finland and Czechoslovakia, looked anything like the liberal democracies that were once supposed to be the basis of Europe’s future. By 1939 there were, in fact, fewer people living under democracies than had been the case in 1914. Violence and dehumanization (with Jews as a particular target across central and eastern Europe) had become the norm in many of the new regimes. Thus does Gerwarth make clear the need to understand two often forgotten legacies of this period: that the process of ending World War I was just as traumatic as the war itself and that even in total wars, the vanquished still play a critical role.
Abridged from the review by Michael Neiberg published on October 4, 2017 on the Lawfare: National Security and Law website lawfareblog.com
The infamous Zimmerman telegram proposed a military alliance between Germany and Mexico if the USA entered the Great War. The secret diplomatic communication sent by the German Foreign Office was intercepted, deciphered, and revealed to the American public by British intelligence and caused a furor in 1917. What was not then publicly known was how extensive German clandestine operations were in Mexico. These included training an embryonic German-Mexican invasion force, dispatching saboteurs to the U.S., planning submarine bases on the western coast of Mexico, and an idea to launch sea raiders from the port of Mazatlán to attack merchant shipping in the Pacific.
Author Mills weaves a lively story of German Consul Fritz Unger, head of the powerful trading house Melchers Sucesores, and his efforts in Mexico that were thwarted by a top American spy who was a trusted member of the German secret service there. A cast of colorful characters provide drama and intrigue that reads more like a novel but is true history.
Reviewed by Dana Lombardy, publisher of WWOI
President’s Quarterly Update,—3 April 2023
We are changing the WW1HA’s newsletter’s publication schedule to monthly. Publishing “Here and There with the WW1HA” twice a year provides too few opportunities to interact effectively with the membership! So, we’re going to go with shorter, monthly publications via our Constant Contact mailing list. My goal is that each issue will contain a brief comment from the President / Officers, a quick summary of WW1-related news, and a focus on a member and his/her research in each issue. What else should it include? You tell me: email@example.com.
Membership was very low at the beginning of the year, so we have formed a Membership Committee. The first action taken was to contact 2020-22 members who had not renewed in 2023. That was the low-hanging fruit. The second action will be to increase year-end renewal reminders and touch points with the membership—also low-hanging fruit. The third action will be to explore ways to reach beyond our current customers.
On 11 March we held our first quarterly Fireside Chat—with 27 participants—using Zoom. Again, this provided interaction with our members. We will be doing these quarterly and will be announcing the next one shortly. The top two responses of how/why members got excited about WW1 were 1) family involvement in the war and 2) aviation. How do we use this information to grow membership?
A small group of us are actively posting in the World War One Historical Association’s Facebook Group. Join us there.
Ed Klekowski is itching to do a Summer (third) issue of World War One Illustrated. He is working on the first Summer issue as we speak.
I have not made major changes to the website yet, because of the above-mentioned initiatives. That said, I did modernize the Chapters/Events Page to reflect our current activities.
I hope these efforts breathe new life into the Association, and I want to encourage you to do your bit. If you have a good idea, tell me about it. Better yet, step up and be willing to take a more active role.