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Almanac of World War I

Almanac of World War I

David F. Burg
L. Edward Purcell
Introduction by William Manchester
Copyright Date: 1998
Pages: 336
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  • Book Info
    Almanac of World War I
    Book Description:

    Provides a day-by-day account of the action on all fronts and of the events surrounding the conflict, from the guns of August 1914 to the November 1918 Armistice and its troubled aftermath. Daily entries, topical descriptions, biographical sketches, maps, and illustrations combine to give a ready and succinct account of what was happening in each of the principal theaters of war.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2745-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Maps and Sidebars
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. The Great War — An Introduction
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    William Manchester

    Few men, including most of those who were to die in it, knew precisely how World War I started. They can hardly be blamed. The explanation was not only complicated; it didn’t even make sense. The immediate reason for the conflict was a murder in the Balkans. On Sunday, June 28, 1914, a Serb fanatic, armed with a revolver, assassinated Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while he was riding through the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

    That was the small crime. The greater crime, which followed it, grew out of commitments made by generations of diplomats. The great European...

  6. The Prelude to Conflict
    (pp. 1-2)

    The mind recoils when asked to consider the facts of World War I. The death and destruction of the Great War, as it was known to those who fought it, were on a scale unimaginable at the time and still difficult to grasp: What is the reality of 6 million dead soldiers?

    It heightens our distress to contemplate the so-called reasons for the war. The ill-defined goals of the belligerents in 1914 seem in retrospect to be so frivolous and naive as to defy understanding, and the narration of how millions of men were ordered to their deaths during the...

  7. 1914
    (pp. 3-40)

    With the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, at Sarajevo in late June, a sequence of events begins that leads to an exchange of diplomatic ultimatums and subsequent military mobilizations by Austria-Hungary, Germany, Russia, Serbia, France, and Great Britain. By the last days of July, the nations begin to declare war on one another, and armed conflict becomes inevitable.

    Germany launches a massive right-wing attack through neutral Belgium (thus providing the pretext for Britain to declare war), planning to sweep around the French left wing and drive on Paris. The Germans bring up huge artillery pieces...

  8. 1915
    (pp. 41-92)

    Neither side will acknowledge the stalemate along the trench lines of the Western Front, and they continue to send forth offensive after offensive in vain attempts to break through and regain the power of maneuver. The efforts founder because of the ability of the machine gun to stop advancing troops and the power of artillery to weaken assaults even before they begin. A basic pattern develops whereby major assaults consume huge numbers of men and vast amounts of matériel but usually fail to penetrate far into the defenses. Even if a strong offensive pushes through, it is impossible to follow...

  9. 1916
    (pp. 93-148)

    Both fronts in Europe continue to be vast killing grounds during the year. Literally millions of casualties result from a series of huge, prolonged offensives, launched by both the Central Powers and the Allies. The so-called “battles” last for month after month until all available men have been consumed, but almost no advantage is gained anywhere by either side of the conflict.

    On the Western Front, the German high command decides early in the year on a campaign of massive attrition that will bleed the French army to death. The weakly held fortresses at Verdun are attacked in late February...

  10. 1917
    (pp. 149-194)

    In January, the German high command, now in control of nearly the entire German state, decides to gamble on unrestricted submarine warfare: if the U-boats can strangle the Allied war effort and starve Great Britain without drawing the Americans into the conflict too soon, then Germany will win the war. They announce the policy and begin to sink commercial ships on February 1. The ploy comes within a whisker of triumph—Britain is close to the limit of endurance before the adoption of the convoy system alleviates the problem—but the gamble fails when the United States declares war in...

  11. 1918
    (pp. 195-240)

    The final year of the war opens with the main issues on the Western Front still hanging in the balance. The U-boat attacks on shipping may still bring Britain down, and the Americans have not yet begun to make their weight felt on the battlefront. Ludendorff decides on a series of huge offensives in a bid to win the war before the end of summer. He orders the German army to begin to build up matériel and to train in special new tactics that promise to assist in breaking even the strongest Allied defenses. Three and a half million men...

  12. Aftermath
    (pp. 241-242)

    It seemed to later generations that the trouble had only begun when the rumble of guns on the Western Front ceased in the fall of 1918. The carnage on a grand scale was over, but little peace came to the nations that had fought the war.

    The victors wrought miserably when they opted to fix blame for the war entirely on Germany. The resulting treaty (or series of treaties), signed during 1919 and 1920, stripped Germany of all her military power, imposed absurdly high war reparations, and provided a demilitarized buffer for France.

    The Austro-Hungarian Empire ceased to exist after...

  13. Biographies
    (pp. 243-284)
  14. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 285-288)
  15. Index
    (pp. 289-321)