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The Cambridge History of the First World War
  • Volume 2: The State
  • Edited by Jay Winter, Yale University, Connecticut
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Volume 2 of The Cambridge History of the First World War offers a history of the war from a predominantly political angle and concerns itself with the story of the state. It explores the multifaceted history of state power and highlights the ways in which different political systems responded to, and were deformed by, the near-unbearable pressures of war. Every state involved faced issues of military-civilian relations, parliamentary reviews of military policy, and the growth of war economies; and yet their particular form and significance varied in every national case. Written by a global team of historical experts, this volume sets new standards in the political history of the waging of war in an authoritative new narrative which addresses problems of logistics, morale, innovation in tactics and weapons systems, the use and abuse of science; all of which were ubiquitous during the conflict.


'… both scholarly and deftly drafted, a joy to read. It provides broad as well as deep analysis of just about every conceivable facet of this global catastrophe. It deserves close reading and contemplation.'

Len Shurtleff - World War One Historical Association

'The global perspective on the war, represented in these volumes, adds further layers of complexity to our understanding of this foundational moment in modern history. The conjunction of early twentieth-century patterns of globalization and industrialized great power war was singular, distinguishing it from earlier European conflicts fought across the globe and the Second World War, which followed the collapse of globalization in the 1930s.'

William Mulligan Source: European History Quarterly

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Page 1 of 2

  • Part I - Political power
    pp 5-144
  • View abstract


    The Great War was not only about acquiring territories, it was also about political beliefs, juridical norms, economic interests, within but also outside Europe, in a world still largely dominated by the major European powers. This chapter discusses the largely competitive and mutually influenced definition of war aims on both sides, and the secret and complex peace feelers and clandestine diplomacy which took place during the war. The immediate influence of Wilson, through the immediate weight of US economic power and its financial aid to the Allies, and the prospect of a serious military contribution from 1918, forced the warring nations to take Wilsonian principles into account in their definition of war aims. An inter-Allied conference in London at the beginning of December 1918 had settled the location for the Peace Conference and the broad lines of the programme, generally following the proposals of French diplomacy.
  • Part II - Armed forces
    pp 145-290
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    This chapter explores whether neutrality, in a legal or moral sense, declined or transformed during the Great War. It focuses on neutrality as a guideline foreign policy, and explains why some countries could and did remain neutral, while others could or did not. The chapter also explains the reasons why neutrality as a foreign policy option failed some countries at one point or another during the war. Perhaps the fates of Belgium, Luxembourg and Albania helped to inspire Daniel Frey, a Swiss scholar, to posit a novel, three-level analysis of neutrality. The first level concerns the external conditions necessary for a successful neutrality policy. The second level concerns the external credibility of neutrality. The third level deals with the compatibility of neutrality with the other policies of a neutral state. Finally, the chapter shows that the way in which the modus vivendi was negotiated between neutrals and belligerents varied considerably.
  • 8 - Mutiny
    pp 196-217
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    One of the central questions of the history of the First World War is whether autocracies or democracies were better at waging war. This chapter surveys the way in which different political structures responded to the challenge of war. The global character of military conflict was limited, except with respect to Japan and to the United States at a late stage, both with great consequences. When the First World War broke out, five European states were at the centre of events: Russia, Germany, Austria-Hungary, France and the United Kingdom. The first non-European state to enter the war when it had barely begun was, paradoxically, Japan. Woodrow Wilson engaged the United States in the war for the freedom of the seas and the survival of democracy in the world. Georges Clemenceau's government is considered as the first war government. It was the most representative regimes which won the war and that everywhere in Europe, after the war, democracy was predominant.
  • 9 - Logistics
    pp 218-239
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    This chapter deals with the lower houses, which, with the exception of the Russian Duma and the British House of Commons, were elected by universal suffrage. It describes the existing parliamentary institutions, which had different historical traditions. The Progressive Bloc, which emerged from the ranks of the Duma, was an important force in the domestic clashes in wartime and in the revolutionary upheaval of 1917. The chapter examines the parliaments of the United States and Japan by way of comparison. The US Congress was certainly involved in decisions about war aims and wartime policy. In all the victorious countries, with the exception of Italy, parliamentary government was strengthened by the war. In the defeated countries, the post-war parliamentary system remained weak, and proved incapable of mediating the increasingly bitter economic and social conflicts which emerged out of the war.
  • 10 - Technology and armaments
    pp 240-265
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    This chapter focuses on all bodies of literature to retrace the role of diplomats in the war's onset and development. It considers the three sub-periods of pre-1914, 1914-1916 and 1917-1918. A complex of changes in the pre-war period marked the most significant transformation in the system since its origins. The outbreak of hostilities plunged diplomats into a new and disturbing world. In the first big wartime secret treaty, the Straits agreement of March-April 1915, Russia obtained promises that it could annex Constantinople and the Straits. The Quai d'Orsay and Foreign Office were slower to discuss European war aims, as Grey and Theophile Delcasse feared undermining diplomatic unity and domestic consensus. The peace conference offered the foreign ministries an opportunity to reclaim influence, but they largely failed to do so. After the war, major reforms took place in many foreign services and foreign ministries.
  • 11 - Prisoners of war
    pp 266-290
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    Under the strains of war, political leadership developed into an extremely demanding business, which could only succeed with the support of a sophisticated bureaucracy. Civil-military relations comprise certainly more aspects than just the question of leadership in war. This chapter focuses on Civil-military relations in the Great Powers during the Great War. Civil-military relations in Japan had since the Meiji Restoration been problematical, with the army and the navy being in very powerful positions. The turning point in the European theatre came in 1916/17. By then, the means of traditional, almost conservative, warfare had been exhausted. Civil-military relations under the impact of the slide towards total war produced different outcomes. In some cases, the efforts of those in charge of the war ended in collapse and revolution. In others, they resulted in victory, in part by sheer luck.
  • Part III - The sinews of war
    pp 291-490
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    The various varieties of pacifism had little impact on the war itself, though rather more on the politics of the two decades that followed. This chapter covers pacifism in three senses during the Great War: the absolute rejection of military force, the progressive belief that political reforms could ultimately abolish war, and simple war-aversion. It offers cursory treatment of the third, which is a matter of morale. As an ideology that could shape war aims and peace terms in and after 1914, the reformist version of pacifism existed on a broader geographical base than its absolutist counterpart. The anti-war agenda had become even more apparent by the time a major wave of strikes erupted across Germany in January 1918. The anti-war pacifism of material grievance had the greatest short-term impact, especially in countries too illiberal to allow an authentic peace movement to flourish even as a safety valve.
  • 13 - Workers
    pp 325-357
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    This chapter discusses the study of tactics and modes of combat during the Great War. During the first phase of the war, the underestimation of the effects of firepower was particularly significant: it explains the terrible losses of the first weeks of combat. The trench system, the tactical representation of the superiority of defence over attack, formed one of the major features of the Great War. The growth and diversification of armaments and soldiers' equipment explains the immense development of combatant tactics between 1914 and 1918. In the trenches, actual combat was intermittent and even at times unusual. Modes of combat during the Great War were profoundly transformed, reflecting the new technologies which would ultimately transform Western warfare itself. It was, once again, on the Western Front that these new methods were taken to their maximum degree and developed their full range.
  • 14 - Cities
    pp 358-381
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    Early-twentieth-century military professionals often referred to moral rather than morale; a usage reflecting the strong ethical connotations which the term possessed for them. The armies that fought the First World War possessed long and partially shared traditions of motivating soldiers. Armies also possessed the ultimate power to sentence men to death during the First World War. The Germans were most sparing in applying the death penalty because their justice system was staffed by professional legal personnel and influenced more than that of other forces by civilian norms. The citizen-soldiers who were an integral part of industrial war owed their primary loyalties to their families, communities and, through them, the states which they had enlisted to defend. Troops' growing weariness and disgruntlement with the home front, and the greater demands made on morale by tactical innovation, prompted armies to direct new attention to reinforcing these loyalties.
  • 15 - Agrarian society
    pp 382-407
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    During the Great War, mutiny challenged and sometimes overcame state authority. When the state remained strong, mutiny served to articulate and in some cases even affirm it. Mutiny could also demarcate the limits of the wartime state. The best-known mutiny in the armies of the British Empire took place in September 1917 at the training camp at Etaples in France. The French army mutinies of 1917 were more about consenting to the war than about rejecting it. In an agonised way, mutiny in France thus affirmed and articulated the mutineers' accountability to the wartime state, even as they challenged it. In Germany, mutiny both invoked the destruction of the Kaiserreich and seriously undermined the formation of the Weimar Republic. Mutiny became so successfully incorporated into state building in Kemalist Turkey that it ceased to be referred to as mutiny at all.
  • 16 - Finance
    pp 408-433
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    The First World War marks a watershed as the first true, modern war, and the processes developed to resupply the soldiers that fought it laid the groundwork for many of the things, such as fresh mid-winter grapes in northern hemisphere supermarkets. The British Empire's position as the world's paramount maritime power provided the Allied powers with tremendous flexibility and staying power. The scope of the Eastern Front meant that all operations had to deal with the relative dearth of transportation infrastructure. The Great Powers involved in the First World War managed to move vast quantities of materiel efficiently enough and for a long enough period to bring modern, industrialized warfare into being. For good or ill, the logisticians of the Great Powers met the challenges thrown at them with considerable success and laid the groundwork for the logistic changes of the ensuing century.
  • 17 - Scientists
    pp 434-459
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    This chapter discusses four principal types of adaptation of weapons and techniques to a new kind of war: retro-innovation, technological stagnation, the capacity for innovation in wartime, and the invention of completely new weapons. In order to assess the temporal dimension of the relationship between war and technology, with regard to the manufacture of weapons, it is necessary to consider an essential constituent: the human factor. Human intervention appreciably altered the pace of technological adaptation that occurred in response to the demands of the war. It operated on the basis of a threefold temporality including projected future time, real time and confronted time, that intersected with the four forms of adaptation. The use of the steel helmet by the various armies offers a clear example of how the interaction between projected time and retro-innovations functioned, as well as its determining characteristics.

Page 1 of 2

Bibliographical essays

1 Heads of state and government

Jean-Jacques Becker

One place to start is to consider the bibliography following Volume I, Chapter 2, on 1914 and the outbreak of the war. In addition, there are many and diverse works to consider on the themes of this chapter. It would be wise to consult initially Pierre Renouvin, La crise européenne et la première guerre mondiale. Peuples et civilisations, 4th edn (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1962). This book is still important fifty years after its initial publication. In addition, there is much of value in the following works: François Lagrange (ed.), Inventaire de la Grande Guerre (Paris: Universalis, 2005); Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Jean-Jacques Becker (eds.) Encyclopédie de la Grande Guerre 1914–1918 (Paris: Bayard, 2004); Antonio Gibelli (ed.), La prima guerra mondiale, Italian edn (Rome: Einaudi, 2007); Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich and Irina Renz (eds.), Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2003); François Cochet and Rémy Porte (eds.), Dictionnaire de la Grande Guerre (1914–1918) (Paris: Robert Laffont, 2008); Jean-Jacques Becker, Dictionnaire de la Grande Guerre (Brussels: André Versaille éditeur, 2008); Holger Herwig and Neil Heyman, Biographical Dictionary of World War I (Wesport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1982); Stephen Pope and Elizabeth-Ann Wheal (eds.), The Dictionary of the First World War (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1995).

Various national histories offer essential interpretations and documents on numerous heads of state during the war and their vicissitudes. On Germany, see: Roger Chickering, Das Deutsche Reich und der Erste Weltkrieg (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2002); Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War (Cambridge University Press, 1998); Raymond Poidevin, L’Allemagne de Guillaume II à Hindenburg (1900–1933) (Paris: Éditions Richelieu, 1972); Golo Mann, Wilhelm II (Munich: Scherz Verlag, 1964); Isabel V. Hull, The Entourage of Kaiser Wilhelm II, 1888–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1982); John C. G. Röhl, The Kaiser and His Court: Wilhelm II and the Government of Germany (Cambridge University Press, 1994); and Isabel V. Hull, Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006).

On Austria-Hungary, see: Jean-Paul Bled, François-Joseph (Paris: Fayard, 1987); Mark Cornwall, Undermining of Austria-Hungary: The Battle for Hearts and Minds (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2000); and two collections of essays edited by Cornwall: Last Years of Austria-Hungary: A Multi-National Experiment in Early Twentieth-Century Europe (University of Exeter Press, 2002); and Last Years of Austria-Hungary: Essays in Political and Military History, 1908–1918 (University of Exeter Press, 1990). On Franz-Joseph, see Steven Beller, Francis Joseph. Profiles in Power (London: Longman, 1996); Lothar Höbelt, Franz Joseph I: Der Kaiser und sein Reich: eine politische Geschichte (Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2009); and John Van der Kiste, Emperor Francis Joseph: Life, Death and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire (Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2005).

On the Balkans, see: Jonathan Gumz, The Resurrection and Collapse of Empire in Habsburg Serbia, 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2009); and George B. Leontartis, Greece and the First World War: From Neutrality to Intervention, 1917–1918 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1990). For general surveys, see: Georges Castellan, Histoire des Balkans (Paris: Fayard, 1991); and Catherine Durandin, Histoire des Roumains (Paris: Fayard, 1995). On a particular point, there is a useful article by David J. Dutton, ‘The Balkan campaign and French war aims in the Great War’, English Historical Review, 94:370 (1979), pp. 97–113.

On Belgium, there is: Laurence van Ypersele, Le roi Albert, histoire d’un mythe (Ottignies: Éditions Quorum, 1995); and Sophie van Schaepdrijver, La Belgique et la Première Guerre Mondiale (Berlin: Peter Lang, 2004).

On China, see: Marie-Claire Bergère, Sun Yat-sen, trans. Janet Lloyd (Stanford University Press, 1998); Harold Z. Schiffrin, Sun Yat-sen, Reluctant Revolutionary (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1980); Jonathan Clements, Wellington Koo (London: Haus Publishing, 2008); and for a general survey – Jean Chesneaux, Francoise le Barbier and Marie-Claire Bergere, China from the 1911 Revolution to Liberation, trans. Paul Auster and Lydia Davis (New York: Pantheon Books, 1977). On the Ottoman Empire, see: Jean-Pierre Derrienic, La Moyen-Orient au XXe siècle (Paris: Armand Colin, 1980); David Fromkin, A Peace to End All Peace: Creating the Modern Middle East 1914–1922 (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1989); M. Şükrü Hanioğlu, Preparation for a Revolution: The Young Turks, 1902–1908 (Oxford University Press, 2001); Yves Ternon, Empire ottoman: Le déclin, la chute, l’effacement (Paris: Edition du Félin, 2002).

On the United States, see: David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); John Milton Cooper, Woodrow Wilson: A Biography (New York: Vintage, 2011); and his Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

On France, see: Nicolas Beaupré, 1914, les Grandes Guerres (Paris: Éditions Belin, 2012); Jean-Jacques Becker, ‘L’impact de la Grande Guerre sur les familles politiques françaises’, in Les familles politiques en Europe occidentale au XXe siècle (Rome: École française de Rome, 2000); and Fabienne Bock, Un parlementarisme de guerre. I914–1919 (Paris: Éditions Belin, 2002). This book is fundamental and unfortunately unmatched in the international literature.

On Italy, see: Serge Berstein and Pierre Milza, L’Italie contemporaine (Paris: Armand Colin, 1995); Mario Isnenghi, La Première guerre mondiale (Paris and Florence: Casterman-Giunti, 1993); Roy Pryce, ‘Italy and the outbreak of the First World War’, Cambridge Historical Journal, 11:2 (1954), pp. 219–27; Mario Isnenghi, Grande guerra: uomini e luoghi del ‘15–18 (Turin: UTET, 2008); and Giorgio Rochat, Italia nella prima guerra mondiale: problemi di interpretazione e prospettive di ricerca (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1976).

On Portugal, see: Nuno Severiano Teixeira, L’entrée du Portugal dans la Grande Guerre, objectifs nationaux et stratégies politiques (Paris: Economica, 1998).

On Britain, the following are useful: Trevor Wilson, The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1986); David Stevenson, With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (London: Allen Lane, 2011); Gary Sheffield and John Bourne (eds.), Douglas Haig: War Diaries and Letters, 1914–1918 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005); George H. Cassar, Asquith as War Leader (London: Hambledon Press, 1994); Zara Steiner, Britain and the Origins of the First World War (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1977).

On Russia: the classics, Marc Ferro, La révolution russe de 1917, 3rd edn (Paris: Flammarion, 1989); and Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, Nicolas II, la transition interrompue (Paris: Hachette littératures, 2012). Of importance are: Peter Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution: Russia’s Continuum of Crisis, 1914–1921 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002); and Joshua Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation: Military Conscription, Total War, and Mass Politics, 1905–1925 (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003).

2 Parliaments

Dittmar Dahlmann

There is no comprehensive and comparative history of parliaments during the First World War and for some countries not even a monograph or an article. Here are some leads for individual national cases.

For Russia, Sergei S. Oldenburg, Last Tsar. Nicholas II. His Reign and His Russia (Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1978), vol. IV provides a general overview; Manfred Hildermeier, Die russische Revolution 1905–1921 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1989) deals with home policy during the war; Michael F. Hamm, ‘Liberal politics in wartime Russia. An analysis of the Progressive Bloc’, Slavic Review, 33 (1974), pp. 453–68; and Thomas Riha, ‘Miliukov and the Progressive Bloc in 1915. A study in last chance politics’, Journal of Modern History, 32 (1960), pp. 16–24 put their emphasis on the Constitutional Democrats; the article by V. Ju. Černjaev, ‘Pervaja mirovaja vojna i perspektivy demokratičeskogo preobrazovanija Rossijskoj Imperii’, in Nikolaj N. Smirnov et al. (eds.), Rossija i pervaja mirovaja vojna. Materialy meždunarodnogo naučnogo Kollokviuma (St Petersburg: DB, 1999), pp. 189–201 discusses the chances for a democratic development in the Russian Empire during the war.

For Austria, Berthold Sutter and Ernst Bruckmüller, ‘Der Reichsrat, das Parlament der westlichen Reichshälfte Österreich-Ungarns (1861–1918)’, in Ernst Bruckmüller (ed.), Parlamentarismus in Österreich (Vienna: öbv und hpt, 2001), pp. 60–109 deal with the history of the Austrian Parliament; and Lothar Höbelt, ‘Parlamente der europäischen Nachbarn II: Die Vertretung der Nationalitäten im Wiener Reichsrat’, in Dittmar Dahlmann and Pascal Trees (eds.), Von Duma zu Duma. Hundert Jahre russischer Parlamentarismus (Göttingen: V & R Unipress, 2009), pp. 339–59 discusses the national minorities in the Reichsrat.

For Germany, readers should consult the multi-volume Constitutional History by Ernst Rudolf Huber, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte seit 1789, vol. 3, Bismarck und das Reich (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1988), chs. 15–17; vol. 4, Struktur und Krisen des Kaiserreichs (1982), chs. 2 and 4; as well as vol. V, Weltkrieg, Revolution und Reichserneuerung 1914–1919 (1992). An insightful book on the Reichstag during the war is Ernst-Albert Seils, Weltmachtstreben und Kampf für den Frieden. Der deutsche Reichstag im Ersten Weltkrieg (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2011). Wolfgang J. Mommsen’s two books on Wilhelmine Germany: Bürgerstolz und Weltmachtstreben. Deutschland unter Wilhelm II. 1890–1918 (Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1995); and Der Erste Weltkrieg. Anfang vom Ende des bürgerlichen Zeitalters (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 2004) offer a thorough and insightful history of Germany during the war.

For France, Fabienne Bock’s book Un parlementarisme de guerre, 1914–1919 (Paris: Éditions Belin, 2002) is essential, as is the article by Jean-Jacques Becker on France, in Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich and Irina Renz (eds.), Brill´s Encyclopedia of the First World War (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2012). See, too, Inge Saatmann, Parlament, Rüstung und Armee in Frankreich 1914/18 (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1978).

For Britain, there are three important contributions: John Turner, British Politics and the Great War. Coalition and Conflict 1915–1918 (New Haven, CT and London: Yale University Press, 1992); Catriona Pennell, A Kingdom United. Popular Responses to the Outbreak of the First World War in Britain and Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2012); and Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War. British Society and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2008). Kurt Kluxen, ‘Die Umformung des parlamentarischen Regierungssystems in Großbritannien beim Übergang zur Massendemokratie’, in Kluxen, Parlamentarismus (Cologne: Suhrkamp, 1976) surveys the development of the British Parliament in the age of mass democracy.

For the United States, see: David M. Kennedy, Over Here. The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); and Robert H. Ferrell, Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917–1921 (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1985) also deals with the Houses of Congress during the war.

For Japan, see: Frederick R. Dickinson, War and National Reinvention. Japan in the Great War, 1914–1919 (Cambridge, MA and London: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Hans H. Baerwald, Japan’s Parliament: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 1974) provides much of use on the Japanese Parliament.

3 Diplomats

David Stevenson

David Stevenson, The First World War and International Politics (Oxford University Press, 1986) remains the most up-to-date diplomatic history of the war. Zara S. Steiner (ed.), The Times Survey of Foreign Ministries of the World (London: Times Books, 1982) is invaluable on foreign ministry organisation, and Markus Mosslang and Torstan Riotte (eds.), The Diplomats’ World: A Cultural History of Diplomacy, 1815–1914 (Oxford: German Historical Institute London and Oxford University Press, 2008) on the social milieu. Matthew S. Anderson, Rise of Modern Diplomacy (London: Longman, 1993) provides a longer-term context.

Luigi Albertini, The Origins of the War of 1914, Engl. edn, 3 vols. (Oxford University Press, 1952–7) remains unsurpassed on pre-1914 diplomacy. William Mulligan, The Origins of the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2010) is an up-to-date synthesis that emphasises diplomatic aspects. Zara S. Steiner, The Foreign Office and Foreign Policy, 1898–1914 (Cambridge University Press, 1969), was the starting point for the new work on officials, and Thomas G. Otte, The Foreign Office Mind: The Making of British Foreign Policy, 1865–1914 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), is an essential supplement to it. For other countries, see: M. B. Hayne, The French Foreign Office and the Origins of the First World War, 1898–1914 (Oxford University Press, 1993); Peter Jackson, ‘Tradition and adaptation: the social universe of the French Foreign Ministry in the era of the First World War’, French History, 24 (2010), pp. 164–96; Paul G. Lauren, Diplomats and Bureaucrats: The First Institutional Responses to Twentieth-Century Diplomacy in France and Germany (Stanford University Press, 1976); Lamar Cecil, The German Diplomatic Service, 1871–1914 (Princeton University Press, 1976); William D. Godsey, Jr, Aristocratic Redoubt: The Austro-Hungarian Foreign Office on the Eve of the First World War (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1999); G. Bolsover, ‘Isvolsky and the reform of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’, Slavonic and Eastern European Review, 63:1 (1985), pp. 21–40; Warren F. Ilchman, Professional Diplomacy in the United States, 1789–1939: A Study in Administrative History (University of Chicago Press, 1961); Elmer Pilschke, US Department of State: A Reference History (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999); and Ian Nish, Japanese Foreign Policy, 1869–1942: Kasumigaseki to Miyakezaku (London: Routlege & Kegan Paul, 1977). Among the more informative of the foreign ministers’ memoirs are Edward Grey, Twenty-Five Years, 1892–1916, 2 vols. (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1925); Sergei Sazonov, Fateful Years: The Reminiscences of Serge Sazonov (London: Cape, 1928); and Walter W. Goetz (ed.), Die Erinnerungen des Staatssekretärs Richard von Kühlmann (Munich: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1952). Maurice Paléologue, An Ambassador’s Memoirs, 1914–17 (London: Hutchinson, 1973) is atmospheric but for use with caution; Algernon G. Lennox (ed.), The Diary of Lord Bertie of Thame, 1914–18 (New York: G. H. Doran, 1924) is gossipy. For biographies of diplomats, see: Keith A. Hamilton, Bertie of Thame: Edwardian Ambassador (Woodbridge: Boydell, 1990); Marina Soroka, Britain, Russia, and the Road to War: The Fateful Embassy of Count Alexsandr Benckendorff, 1903–16 (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011); and Reinhard R. Doerries, Imperial Challenge: Ambassador Count von Bernstorff and German-American Relations, 1908–1917 (Chapel Hill, NC and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1989).

Studies of diplomacy during the war are fewer. Roberta M. Warman, ‘The erosion of foreign office influence in the making of foreign policy, 1916–1918’, Historical Journal, 15 (1972), pp. 133–59 is useful. Victor H. Rothwell, British War Aims and Peace Diplomacy 1914–1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971) and David Stevenson, French War Aims against Germany 1914–1919 (Oxford University Press, 1982) contain useful material. On peace feelers, see: Guy Pedroncini, Les négociations secrètes pendant la Grande Guerre (Paris: Flammarion, 1969). Arno J. Mayer, Political Origins of the New Diplomacy, 1917–1918 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1959) surveys the international debate on ‘secret diplomacy’ in 1917 to 1918.

On peacemaking, Margaret O. MacMillan, Peacemakers: the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and its Attempt to End War (London: John Murray, 2003); Michael L. Dockrill and Zara S. Steiner, ‘The Foreign Office at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919’, International History Review, 2 (1980), pp. 55–86; Stevenson, French War Aims; and Inga Floto, Colonel House in Paris: A Study of American Policy at the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 (Aarhus: Universitetsforlaget i Aarhus, 1973), all discuss the diplomats’ role.

The journals Diplomacy and Statecraft, The International History Review, Relations Internationales and Revue d’Histoire diplomatique all publish articles of relevance.

4 Civil-military relations

Stig Förster

The historical literature on civil-military relations is rich and varied. But there is not a single book on civil-military relations during the First World War that deals with this specific topic on a comparative basis. Hence this chapter constitutes something of an experiment. The facts related here have been cobbled together from many publications. Extremely helpful was the following outstanding handbook on the Great War: Hirschfeld et al., Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg.

For many years the problem of militarism stood at the centre of studies on civil-military relations. But this debate has somewhat run its course, as the concept of militarism proved to be too narrow and too one-sided. Moreover, the term ‘militarism’ is burdened with political ideology. Modern research has become more differentiated and therefore largely abandoned the concept of militarism. For an overview of the nevertheless interesting debate on militarism, see: Volker R. Berghahn, Militarism. The History of an International Debate, 1861–1979 (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1981).

Publications on the First World War fill whole libraries. The same is true for the national history of some of the powers involved. Very few historians, if any, can keep abreast with the enormous amount of literature. It would mean asking too much to expect a comprehensive report on all the publications in the field. Under these circumstances, the following bibliographical remarks limit themselves to the literature quoted in this chapter.

On Clausewitz

There is an excellent English translation of Clausewitz’s most famous book: Carl von Clausewitz, On War, edited and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton University Press, 1976).

Among the many analyses of Clausewitz’s thoughts, a classic but by now outdated, is: Raymond Aron, Penser la guerre, Clausewitz, 2 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1976).

Ludendorff’s pamphlet does not really aim to do justice to Clausewitz, but is more concerned with arguing for the establishment of military dictatorship in modern warfare. Needless to say, Ludendorff regarded himself as being the only person in Germany capable of running the war effort: Erich Ludendorff, Der totale Krieg (Munich: Ludendorffs Verlag, 1935).

An interesting and intelligent interpretation is provided by: Panajotis Kondylis, Theorie des Krieges: Clausewitz – Marx – Engels – Lenin (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1988).

The case studies

On France

The two classic studies are: Jean-Jacques Becker, Les Français dans la Grande Guerre (Paris: Éditions Richelieu, 1972); and Jean-Baptiste Duroselle, La France et les Français, 1914–1920 (Paris: Éditions Richelieu, 1972). Of the two, Becker has perhaps the more modern approach.

Useful and far-reaching interpretations are contained in: Patrick Fridenson (ed.), The French Home Front, 1914–1918 (Providence, RI: Berg, 1992). The most exhaustive study on the role of French Parliament during the war is provided by Fabienne Bock, Un parlementarisme de guerre. Recherches sur le fonctionnement de la IIIème République pendant la Grande Guerre, 3 vols. (Paris: Éditions Belin, 2002).

On the United Kingdom

There exist many excellent studies on Britain during the Great War. The following books are all useful, but put different emphases in their interpretations: John M. Bourne, Britain and the Great War, 1914–1918 (London: Edward Arnold, 1989); David French, British Economy and Strategic Planning, 1905–1915 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982); David French, British Strategy and War Aims, 1914–1916 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1986); Peter Simkins, Kitchener’s Army. The Raising of the New Armies, 1914–1916 (Manchester University Press, 1988); Wilson, Myriad Faces of War; Jay M. Winter, The Great War and the British People (London: Macmillan, 1985).

A controversial but nevertheless thought-provoking analysis is provided by Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I (London: Penguin, 1998).

There is also an interesting and well-written book on radical opposition to the war and its suppression in Britain and Germany: Francis L. Carsten, War against War. British and German Radical Movements in the First World War (London: Batsford Academic and Educational, 1982).

On Italy

There are not too many books on Italy during the Great War. But some of them are quite good: Howard James Burgwyn, The Legend of the Mutilated Victory. Italy, the Great War, and the Paris Peace Conference, 1915–1919 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1993); Mario Isnenghi, Il mito della grande guerra (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1997).

An excellent overview over the history of Italy is certainly: Volker Reinhard, Geschichte Italiens. Von der Spätantike bis zur Gegenwart (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2003).

On Russia

Research on the history of Russia during the First World War has long suffered from difficulties of gaining access to Soviet archives. Nevertheless, there are some impressive studies: Dominic C. B. Lieven, Russia and the Origins of the First World War (London: Macmillan, 1983); Hugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire, 1801–1917 (Oxford University Press, 1967); Norman Stone, The Eastern Front, 1914–1917 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1975); Allan K. Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army: The Old Army and the Soldiers’ Revolt, March to April 1917 (Princeton University Press, 1980); and Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army II: The Road to Soviet Power and Peace (Princeton University Press, 1987).

On Japan

The Pacific War has overshadowed research on Japan’s role in the First World War. Hence only a few useful books on that topic have been published. Among the best are: Frederick R. Dickinson, War and National Reinvention. Japan in the Great War, 1914–1919 (Cambridge, MA and London: Cambridge University Press, 1999); and Richard Storry, A History of Modern Japan (London: Penguin, 1960).

On the United States

Unsurprisingly, much research has been done on the role of the United States in the Great War. Among the many good books on that subject, perhaps the most outstanding are: Edward M. Coffman, The War to End All Wars. The American Military Experience in World War I (Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1986); David M. Kennedy, Over Here. The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980); Robert H. Zieger, America’s Great War. World War I and the American Experience (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000).

On the plight of ‘enemy aliens’ in the United States, see the impressive volume by Jörg Nagler, Nationale Minoritäten im Krieg. ‘Feindliche Ausländer’ und die amerikanische Heimatfront während des Ersten Weltkrieges (Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2000).

For a path-breaking study on the history of the army, which also provides a good analysis of the Great War from a US perspective, see Russell F. Weigley, History of the United States Army (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1967).

On the Ottoman Empire

Publications on the Ottoman Empire in the First World War are limited. But much has been done in recent years. A classic is Alan Palmer, The Decline and Fall of the Ottoman Empire (London: John Murray, 1992).

An exhaustive, albeit a little overenthusiastic, analysis of the Ottoman army is provided by Edward J. Erickson, Ordered to Die. A History of the Ottoman Army in the First World War (London: Greenwood Press, 2001).

Research on the German military mission in the Ottoman Empire has accelerated. We now also have two excellent biographies on two of the most prominent German officers in Ottoman service: Jehuda L. Wallach, Anatomie einer Militärhilfe. Die preussisch-deutschen Militärmissionen in der Türkei, 1835–1919 (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1976); Holger Afflerbach, Falkenhayn. Politisches Denken und Handeln im Kaiserreich (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1994); Carl Alexander Krethlow, Generalfeldmarschal Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz Pascha. Eine Biographie (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2012).

On Austria-Hungary

Taking into account the importance of Austria-Hungary to the Great War, it is astonishing that for a long time little research on this topic was forthcoming. Especially Austrian historians, over the years, were not too interested in the final war of the Empire. This has now been remedied. The most complete analysis of Austria-Hungary in that period, although at times (especially regarding the origins of the war) somewhat apologetic, is: Manfred Rauchensteiner, Der Tod des Doppeladlers. Österreich-Ungarn und der Erste Weltkrieg, 2nd edn (Graz: Verlag Styria, 1994). Very useful, particularly on the relationship between Germany and Austria-Hungary, is Holger H. Herwig, The First World War. Germany and Austria-Hungary, 1914–1918 (London: Edward Arnold, 1997).

There are also several good articles on aspects of the role of Austria-Hungary, among them: Günther Kronenbitter, ‘“Nur los lassen”. Österreich-Ungarn und der Wille zum Krieg’, in Johannes Burkhardt, Josef Becker, Stig Förster and Günther Kronenbitter, Lange und kurze Wege in den Ersten Weltkrieg. Vier Augsburger Beiträge zur Kriegsursachenforschung (Munich: Ernst Vögel, 1996), pp. 159–87; Max-Stephan Schulze, ‘Austria-Hungary’s economy in World War I’, in Stephen Broadberry and Mark Harrison (eds.), The Economics of World War I (Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 77–111; Graydon A. Tunstall, Jr, ‘Austria-Hungary’, in Richard F. Hamilton and Holger H. Herwig (eds.), The Origins of World War I (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 112–49.

On Imperial Germany

Civil-military relations in Germany during the war have long attracted much attention among historians. After all, it was Ludendorff’s ‘silent dictatorship’ that seemed to provide the most striking example of overbearing military power. Yet, in recent years historians have become a little more cautious in asserting all-out military rule in the case of Imperial Germany. See: Roger Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1998); Stig Förster, ‘Ein militarisiertes Land? Zur gesellschaftlichen Stellung des Militärs im Deutschen Kaiserreich’, in Bernd Heidenreich and Sönke Neitzel (eds.), Das Deutsche Kaiserreich, 1890–1914 (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2011), pp. 157–74.

The more traditional line is provided by: Robert B. Asprey, The German High Command at War. Hindenburg and Ludendorff and the First World War (New York: W. Morrow, 1991); Martin Kitchen, The Silent Dictatorship. The Politics of the German High Command under Hindenburg and Ludendorff, 1916–1918 (London: Croom Helm, 1976).

Recently, a new academic – but somewhat conventional – biography of Ludendorff appeared: Manfred Nebelin, Ludendorff. Diktator im Ersten Weltkrieg (Munich: Siedler Verlag, 2010).

A more differentiating view may be found in the biographical sketch by: Markus Pöhlmann, ‘Der “moderne Alexander” im Maschinenkrieg. Erich Ludendorff, 1865–1937’, in Stig Förster, Markus Pöhlmann and Dierk Walter (eds.), Kriegsherren der Weltgeschichte. 22 historische Porträts (Munich: C. H. Beck, 2006), pp. 268–85.

On the military coup in German East Africa, see the prize-winning book by Tanja Bührer, Die Kaiserliche Schutztruppe für Deutsch-Ostafrika. Koloniale Sicherheitspolitik und transkulturelle Kriegführung, 1885 bis 1918 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2011).

5 Revolution

Richard Bessel

The classic histories of revolution during the First World War focused on the great political revolutions in Russia and Germany. These revolutions generated a vast literature, but one in which the war appeared largely as a backdrop, with the (party) politics of revolution at the fore. Nevertheless, a number of studies, focusing primarily on individual states, offer insight into the relationship between the war and revolution.

For Russia, the pioneering study by Norman Stone, The Eastern Front 1914–1917, remains important in this regard; and the more recent panoramic studies by Richard Pipes, The Russian Revolution (New York: Knopf, 1990), and by Orlando Figes, A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891–1924 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1996) offer much information and insight into the relationship of war and revolution in Russia. Of great significance for this theme is the path-breaking study by Peter Gatrell, A Whole Empire Walking: Refugees in Russia in World War I (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1999), together with Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution; and Eric Lohr, Nationalizing the Russian Empire: The Campaign against Enemy Aliens during World War I (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003). On the collapse of the Russian army, see Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army and The End of the Russian Imperial Army II.

For Germany, the revolution of 1918 was intensively debated during the 1960s and 1970s, but those investgations concentrated essentially on the politics of revolution rather than the war. For insight into the relationship of war and revolution, good places to start remain the classic studies by Gerald D. Feldman, Army, Industry and Labor in Germany, 1914–1918 (Princeton University Press, 1966), and by Jürgen Kocka, Facing Total War, German Society, 1914–1918 (Leamington Spa and Cambridge, MA: Berg and Harvard University Press, 1984). Unexcelled for its discussion of the effects of the war on German (rural) society is Benjamin Ziemann, War Experiences in Rural Germany 1914–1923 (Oxford: Berg, 2006). Alexander Watson, Enduring the Great War. Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2008) offers a very perceptive discussion of the attitudes of German soldiers and the collapse of 1918. Also informative is Jeffrey R. Smith, A People’s War: Germany’s Political Revolution, 1913–1918 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2007).

For Austria-Hungary, there is less work available in English, although Herwig, First World War: Germany and Austria-Hungary offers a useful account. A very detailed, blow-by-blow account of the end of Austria-Hungary’s war and the end of Austria-Hungary from a military perspective may by found in Richard G. Plaschka, Horst Haselsteiner and Arnold Suppan, Innere Front. Militärassistenz, Widerstand und Umsturz in der Donaumonarchie 1918 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 1974), and a solid overview is available in Manfried Rauchensteiner, Der Tod des Doppeladlers. Österreich-Ungarn und der Erste Weltkrieg (Graz: Verlag Styria, 1993). A perceptive recent study of the effects of the war in Vienna is offered by Maureen Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I (Cambridge University Press, 2004).

For France, the classic text on the 1917 mutinies remains Guy Pedroncini, Les Mutineries de 1917, 3rd edn (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1996). An overview of the crises of 1917 may be found in Leonard V. Smith, Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, France and the Great War (Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 113–45.

On the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, see: Ryan Gingeras, Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912–1923 (Oxford University Press, 2009); and Michael A. Reynolds, Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

On the global aspects of the relationship between war and revolution, see: Evez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); and Aviel Roshwald, Ethnic Nationalism and the Fall of Empires: Central Europe, Russia and the Middle East, 1914–1923 (London: Routledge, 2001).

6 Combat and tactics

Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau

The modalities of combat during the Great War have long fascinated military historians, and more recently, this subject has attracted social and cultural historians as well. Within this immense bibliography, I draw particular attention to these recent approaches, in particular those published in English.

In order to place the study of combat and tactics in a general framework, these works are fundamental: John Keegan, The First World War (London: Hutchinson, 1998); and Hew Strachan, European Armies and the Conduct of War (London: Allen & Unwin, 1983).

On combat and tactics outside of the Western Front, there is much to learn from these important studies: Norman Stone, The Eastern Front, 1914–1917; Giorgo Rochat, ‘The Italian Front, 1915–1918’, in John Horne (ed.), A Companion to World War I (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010), pp. 82–96; and Mark Thompson, The White War. Life and Death on the Italian Front, 1915–1919 (London: Faber, 2008).

On combat on the Western Front, on which so much of the literature focuses, these works are useful: Michel Goya, La chair et l’acier. L’invention de la guerre moderne (1914–1918) (Paris: Tallandier, 2004); Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich and Irina Renz (eds.), Scorched Earth. The Germans on the Somme, 1914–1918 (Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books, 2009); Bruce Gudmundsson, Stormtroop Tactics: Innovation in the German Army, 1914–1918 (London: Praeger, 1989); Eric Leed, No Man’s Land: Combat and Identity in World War I (Cambridge University Press, 1979); Tim Travers, The Killing Ground. The British Army, the Western Front and the Emergence of Modern Warfare, 1900–1918 (London: Unwin Hyman, 1987).

The battles of the Somme and Verdun, so central to the military history of the war, and so heavy in terms of human costs, are well treated in: John Keegan, The Face of Battle. A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme (London: Cape, 1976), in particular for its central chapter on the Battle of the Somme; Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, The Somme (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005); Gary Sheffield, The Somme (London: Cassell, 2003).

The appearance and deployment of new weapons have attracted the attention of: Lutz Haber, The Poisonous Cloud. Chemical Warfare in the First World War (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986); Olivier Lepick, La Grande Guerre chimique, 1914–1918 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1998); Lee Kennett, The First Air War, 1914–1918 (New York, Free Press, 1991); John Morrow, The Great War in the Air: Military Aviation from 1909 to 1921 (Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993).

On the subject of close combat, see: Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Les armes et la chair. Trois objets de mort en 1914–1918 (Paris: A. Colin, 2009); Joanna Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing. Face to Face Killing in Twentieth Century Warfare (London: Granta Books, 1999). Useful on many facets of the history of the Great War; Antoine Prost, ‘Les limites de la brutalisation. Tuer sur le front occidental, 1914–1918’, Vingtième Siècle. Revue d’histoire, 81 (2004), pp. 5–20. This article presents a different point of view from that of Audoin-Rouzeau and Bourke.

How soldiers endured the war, how they held out, has attracted considerable attention from these scholars, among others: Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Men at War. National Sentiment and Trench Journalism in France during the First World War (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1992); John Horne, ‘De la guerre de mouvement à la guerre de positions: les combattants français’, in Horne et al. (eds.), Vers la guerre totale. Le tournant de 1914–1915 (Paris: Tallandier, 2010), pp. 75–91; John Horne, ‘Entre expérience et mémoire: les soldats français de la Grande Guerre’, Annales. Histoire, sciences sociales, 60:5 (2005), pp. 903–19; Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau and Annette Becker, 1914–1918. Understanding the Great War (London: Profile, 2002), especially chapter 2; John Fuller, Troop Morale and Popular Culture in the British and Dominion Armies, 1914–1918 (Oxford University Press, 1990); Richard Holmes, Tommy. The British Soldier on the Western Front (London: Harper Collins, 2004); Tony Ashworth, Trench Warfare, 1914–1918. The Live and Let Live System (London: Macmillan, 1980); Watson, Enduring the Great War. This is a remarkable comparative study, raising doubts about Wilhlem Deist’s interpretation of the German army’s performance in 1918. Another innovative essay is that of Anne Duménil, ‘De la guerre de mouvement à la guerre de positions: les combattants allemands’, in Horne, Vers la guerre totale, pp. 53–75.

Resistance and rebellion constitute a subject in and of itself in the historiography of the Great War. These subjects are at the heart of these discussions of combat and wartime violence: Nicolas Werth, ‘Les déserteurs en Russie: violence de guerre, violence révolutionnaire et violence paysanne (1916–1921)’, in Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau, Annette Becker, Christian Ingrao and Henry Rousso (eds.), La violence de guerre, 1914–1945 (Brussels: Complexe, 2002), pp. 99–116; Leonard V. Smith, Between Mutiny and Obedience. The Case of the French Fifth Division during World War I (Princeton University Press, 1994). Smith’s is the best study on the French mutinies of 1917. See as well this comparative work, with primary emphasis on France: Nicolas Offenstadt, Les fusillés de la Grande Guerre et la mémoire collective (1914–1919) (Paris: Odile Jacob, 1999).

On the psychological consequences of combat in 1914 to 1918, see Jay Winter (ed.), ‘Shell-shock’, special issue of Journal of Contemporary History, 35:1 (2000).

The publications of the writings of former soldiers provide an immense source on the history of combat. To approach the writings of French veterans recalling their experience on the battlefield, see: Leonard V. Smith, The Embattled Self. French Soldiers’ Testimony of the Great War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2007); and Antoine Prost, In the Wake of War. ‘Les anciens combattants’ and French Society, 1914–1933 (Oxford: Berg, 1992).

7 Morale

Alexander Watson

Morale has attracted much scholarly interest. Older studies of soldiers’ motivations in combat and the battlefield dynamics of the First World War have been joined by newer works analysing how military institutions, propaganda and the relationship between front and home all shaped troops’ morale. There have been detailed examinations of disciplinary systems, officership, esprit de corps, army religion and rear-line recreations. Recent research has drawn on Foucauldian and psychoanalytic theory, psychology and sociology to illuminate why and how soldiers endured the stresses of active service. The literature is particularly well developed for the British and, to a lesser extent, German, armies. Investigation of morale in the forces of other nations and empires has begun, but is not yet as far advanced.

There are a number of general studies worthy of attention. Ashworth, Trench Warfare 1914–1918, is a sociological examination of the dynamics of trench warfare. Hugh Cecil and Peter H. Liddle (eds.), Facing Armageddon. The First World War Experienced (London: Leo Cooper, 1996) is an essay collection which includes short studies on morale in a number of armies, including the little-studied Ottoman and Italian militaries. Keegan, The Face of Battle, is a classic study of why soldiers fight and how armies motivate them on the battlefield. Watson, Enduring the Great War, is a comparative study examining individual psychological coping strategies, as well as military institutional means of upholding morale.

On particular armies and morale, see: Jennifer D. Keene, Doughboys, the Great War, and the Remaking of America (Baltimore, MD and London: John Hopkins University Press, 2001); Richard Lein, Pflichterfüllung oder Hochverrat? Die tschechischen Soldaten Österreich-Ungarns im Ersten Weltkrieg (Vienna and Berlin: Lit, 2011); Wencke Meteling, Ehre, Einheit, Ordnung. Preußische und französische Städte und ihre Regimenter im Krieg, 1870/71 und 1914–1919 (Baden-Baden: Nomos, 2010); Wildman, The End of the Russian Imperial Army, 2 vols. Wildman’s is a pioneering study of the disintegration of the Tsar’s army in 1914 to 1917; Benjamin Ziemann, Front und Heimat. Ländliche Kriegserfahrung im südlichen Bayern 1914–1923 (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 1997). Ziemann provides an examination of Bavarian soldiers’ war experiences, concentrating on discipline and the rhythms of front life to explain their endurance.

On training and discipline, a good place to start is: Michael Howard, ‘Men against fire: expectations of war in 1914’, International Security 9 (1984), pp. 41–57. This is a helpful introduction to European military professionals’ pre-war attitudes to morale. On discipline, see: Cathryn Corns and John Hughes-Wilson, Blindfold and Alone. British Military Executions in the Great War (London: Cassell, 2001, 2002); Christoph Jahr, Gewöhnliche Soldaten. Desertion und Deserteure im deutschen und britischen Heer 1914–1918 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998). Jahr’s book is a systematic and illuminating comparative analysis of desertion and punishment in the German and British armies. See also Offenstadt, Les fusillés de la Grande Guerre.

More general works on morale and the character of the armies include: Plaschka et al., Innere Front. This is one of the few scholarly studies of the wartime Habsburg army. Its focus is on home units, however, not those at the front. See also Smith, Between Mutiny and Obedience.

On cohesion, see John Baynes, Morale. A Study of Men and Courage. The Second Scottish Rifles at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle 1915 (London: Leo Cooper, 1967, 1987). This is a classic study of British professional soldiers’ combat motivations, stressing particularly the importance of esprit de corps. Additional insights may be gained from consulting Timothy Bowman, The Irish Regiments in the Great War. Discipline and Morale (Manchester University Press, 2003); and David French, Military Identities. The Regimental System, the British Army, and the British People, c. 1870–2000 (Oxford University Press, 2005).

On support, start with Rachel Duffett, The Stomach for Fighting. Food and the Soldiers of the Great War (Manchester University Press, 2012). Then consult Fuller, Troop Morale and Popular Culture. This is a comprehensive examination of how the British army supported its troops behind the lines.

On leadership, there is a substantial scholarship. Among the important works are: Istvan Deák, Beyond Nationalism. A Social and Political History of the Habsburg Officer Corps, 1848–1918 (Oxford University Press, 1990); and Gary Sheffield, Leadership in the Trenches. Officer-Man Relations, Morale and Discipline in the British Army in the Era of the First World War (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000).

On citizen-soldiers, their families, religious practices and patriotism, there is much recent scholarship. A striking example is Michael Roper, The Secret Battle. Emotional Survival in the Great War (Manchester University Press, 2009). Influenced by psychoanalytic theory, this work highlights the importance of family links for British soldiers’ morale. On religion, one place to start is Michael Snape, God and the British Soldier. Religion and the British Army in the First and Second World Wars (London and New York: Routledge, 2005). This is a thorough examination of how Christian belief and clergy influenced British troops and their army during the two world wars.

On patriotism and national sentiment, see Audoin-Rouzeau, Men at War 1914–1918. This is an investigation of French soldiers’ wartime attitudes and combat motivation based on the study of trench newspapers. Audoin-Rouzeau stresses the importance of the bond between home and front. Helen B. McCartney, Citizen Soldiers. The Liverpool Territorials in the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2005), is a rare study of volunteer soldiers set in their local community. See, too, Joshua Sanborn, Drafting the Russian Nation. Military Conscription, Total War, and Mass Politics, 1905–1925 (Dekalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press, 2003).

On psychological warfare, see: Cornwall, Undermining of Austria-Hungary. Here is an impressive investigation of the military propaganda campaigns in Russia and Italy in 1917 to 1918. It is insightful too on the physical and psychological collapse of the Habsburg military on the Italian Fronts in the final months of the war.

On the German army’s attempts to guide and motivate its troops through propaganda, see Anne Lipp, Meinungslenkung im Krieg. Kriegserfahrungen deutscher Soldaten und ihre Deutung 1914–1918 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2003).

8 Mutiny

Leonard V. Smith

Mutiny has long been a subject of historical interest, but generally along certain well-defined paths. Military historians have studied the ‘cautionary tale’ aspects of mutiny, from the point of view of how to prevent a military machine from malfunctioning. More recently, social historians have been interested in mutinies as a form of strike. Others have resisted this approach, on the basis that soldiers and sailors are not workers and war is not production – quite the reverse. The question of mutinies and ‘politics’ remains open, and at times contentious. The comparative study of the myriad forms of mutiny in the Great War is a promising field for future research.

On mutiny and the articulation of the wartime state, these are useful: Ian F. W. Beckett, ‘The Singapore Mutiny of February 1915’, Journal of the Society of Army Historical Research, 62 (1984), pp. 132–53. This is a thorough narrative account. See too Christine Doran, ‘Gender matters in the Singapore Mutiny’, Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia, 17 (2002), pp. 76–93. Here is a fine analysis particularly of the aftermath, according to gender. W. F. Elkins, ‘Revolt of the British West India Regiment’, Jamaica Journal, 11 (1978), pp. 72–5, brings to light a little-known but interesting episode. Douglas Gill and Gloden Dallas, The Unknown Army (London: Verso, 1985) is a book which situates mutinies in the British army according to traditions of labour history. Robert B. Haynes, A Night of Violence: The Houston Riot of 1917 (Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1976) is an engaging, narrative account without much connection to broader currents beyond the United States and African-American history. Benjamin Isitt, ‘Mutiny from Victoria to Vladivostok, December 1918’, Canadian Historical Review, 87 (2006), pp. 223–64 is a lively account of a little-known episode.

On French mutinies, André Loez, 14–18, les refus de la guerre: une histoire des mutins (Paris: Gallimard, 2010), is an up-to-date but sometimes derivative and ideologically constrained study. Guy Pedroncini, Les Mutineries de 1919 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967) was a seminal work. It is very pro-Pétain, but groundbreaking, the first to use archival sources. See as well Smith, Between Mutiny and Obedience, for a French social history approach to military experience during the Great War. For the contextualisation of the mutinies within the broader history of the French army during the war, see Leonard V. Smith, ‘Remobilizing the citizen-soldier through the French army mutinies of 1917’, in John Horne (ed.), State, Society, and Mobilization during the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 144–59.

David Woodward, ‘Mutiny at Cattaro, 1918: insurrection in the Austro-Hungarian fleet on February 1st’, History Today, 26 (1976), pp. 804–10 is a narrative account of a little-known but intriguing incident.

On the relative absence of mutinies in the British forces, see Sheffield, Leadership in the Trenches. This is traditional military history, well informed by current approaches.

On the parallel theme of mutiny and the destruction of the wartime state, a good place to start is Deák, Beyond Nationalism. This is an important work which at times waxes nostalgic, but remains highly insightful. John Bushnell, Mutiny amid Repression: Russian Soldiers in the Revolution of 1905–1906 (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1990) is excellent on the evolution of authority in the Old Regime Russian army. Daniel Horn, The German Naval Mutinies of World War I (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1968) is a thoughtful narrative history. For a more up-to-date work which situates mutiny in the context of the current historiography of war and violence, see Mark Jones, ‘Violence and Politics in the German Revolution of 1918–19’ (PhD Diss., European University Institute, Florence, 2011).

On the Czech Legion, by one of the architects of the Cold War, we have: George F. Kennan, ‘The Czechoslovak Legion’, Russian Review, 16 (1957), 3–16. Ivan Volgyes, ‘Hungarian prisoners of war in Russia, 1916–1919’, Cahiers du Monde russe et soviétique, 14 (1973), pp. 54–85 removes Hungarians from the shadow of the Czech Legion. John Albert White, The Siberian Intervention (Princeton University Press, 1950) is a very durable account that admirably covers the role of the Czech Legion.

On the chaotic situation in Russia, a sure guide is Wildman, End of the Russian Imperial Army. See too for an excellent overview Elise Kimmeling Wirthschafter, From Serf to Russian Soldier (Princeton University Press, 1990).

On the topic of mutiny and the building of the post-war state, a good place to start is Richard Bessel, Germany after the First World War (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993). This is a general account, excellent on the transition from war to peace. See too Vladimir Brovkin, ‘On the internal front: the Bolsheviks and the Greens’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 39 (1989), pp. 541–68. This article argues for the importance of the ‘Greens’. Robert Gerwarth, ‘The Central European counter-revolution: paramilitary violence in Germany, Austria and Hungary after the Great War’, Past and Present, 200 (2008), pp. 175–209 is a transnational account of a transnational phenomenon and is an important contribution to rethinking the whole question of mutiny and violence. These ideas are developed further in Robert Gerwarth and John Horne, ‘Vectors of violence: paramilitarism in Europe after the Great War, 1917–1923’, Journal of Modern History, 83 (2011), pp. 489–512. Here too is a reconfiguration of the entire question of ‘cultural demobilization’.

For the opposite, see Klaus Theweleit, Male Fantasies, trans. Stephan Conaway, 2 vols. (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1987–9). This is a bizarre but often brilliant psycho-history of the Freikorps focused on gender anxieties.

On the Ottoman and post-Ottoman part of the story, Ryan Gingeras, Sorrowful Shores: Violence, Ethnicity, and the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1912–1923 (Oxford University Press, 2009) illustrates the true complexity of the question in the context of present-day approaches. A sympathetic, highly detailed account of the transition to Atatürk’s regime is Andrew Mango, Atatürk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey (Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1999).

On violence in the context of the Russian Revolution, see Nicolas Werth, ‘Les déserteurs en Russie: violence de guerre, violence révolutionnaire et violence paysanne (1916–1922)’, in Audoin-Rouzeau et al., La Violence de guerre, pp. 99–116. This essay focuses on peasant soldiers. Nicolas Werth, ‘Un état contre son peuple: violence, repressions, terreurs en Union soviétique’, in Stéphane Courtois et al. (eds.), Le Livre Noir du communisme (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1997), pp. 48–163 is a comprehensive, post-Soviet, highly anti-Bolshevik account. See also Donald Raleigh, Experiencing Russia’s Civil War: Politics, Society, and Revolutionary Culture in Saratov, 1917–1922 (Princeton University Press, 2002), which situates ‘Greens’ in the setting of broad rural issues. Raleigh is more sceptical than Werth as to their importance.

Mark von Hagen, Soldiers in the Proletarian Dictatorship: The Red Army and the Soviet Socialist State, 1917–1930 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1990), provides an effective explanation of how military and political structures built each other.

9 Logistics

Ian Brown

Logistics is critically important to the conduct of military operations and shoddy logistic planning is a handicap that will cripple even the most tactically sophisticated armies. Despite this, the historical study of logistics is largely ignored, overwhelmed by the plethora of studies covering tactics, operations and strategy. Glamour sells and logistics simply lacks glamour. For most historical periods, one can generally uncover a single volume that covers the topic in some depth, but the total number of works on military logistics, for all periods, would take up significantly less shelf-space than the number covering just the Battle of the Somme. With this in mind, anyone interested in studying logistics must be willing to dig information out of the pages of works that have little or nothing to do with the subject.

General logistics

There are a handful of works that cover logistics over an extended time frame (amounting to more than a single war or campaign). Van Creveld’s work is the one that broke the groundwork for the historical study of military logistics. Unfortunately, he essentially skips the First World War and jumps from the nineteenth century into the Second World War. John Lynn’s edited volume rectifies the oversight and must be read in conjunction with van Creveld’s work as it expands brilliantly on a number of topics and provides considerable additional context. Thompson’s work is also useful; he does cover the First World War briefly, but the work is most useful in covering a number of non-traditional twentieth-century campaigns.

Here are full bibliographical references: Martin van Creveld, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge University Press, 1977); John A. Lynn (ed.), Feeding Mars: Logistics in Western Warfare from the Middle Ages to the Present (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993); Julian Thompson, The Lifeblood of War, Logistics in Armed Conflict (London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1991).

First World War logistics and transportation

It is impossible to study First World War logistics without also considering transportation: the two are linked. The difficulties inherent in moving things a century ago – cumbersome packaging materials and the requirement that manpower move almost everything on and off of the means of transportation ensures this. Further, the fact that two of the Great Powers involved in the fighting in Western Europe fielded armies at the ends of an overseas supply line means that one cannot divorce transportation and logistics. Those interested in the concept of maritime power should read Kennedy’s work and particularly Keith Neilson’s chapter therein entitled ‘Reinforcements and supplies from overseas: British strategic sealift in the First World War’. Fayle first tried to put some numbers to the scope of Britain’s pre-war maritime dominance, but Lambert’s recently published work shows it to have been even more pronounced than Fayle understood. If one is curious about just how vastly shipping changed over the course of the twentieth century, then Cudahy’s work provides a very useful overview. On land, railways were and remain the most economical way to move large quantities of materiel over significant distances. There are numerous works that study railways, but most do not also consider logistic questions. Wolmar’s work is extremely useful in this regard, covering the entire period from the middle of the nineteenth century through the twentieth, with extensive coverage of the First World War and providing the most useful single volume on railways and warfare. In terms of the First World War specifically, Brown examines how the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) managed to expand its infrastructure in France to support a continental commitment and Zabecki provides excellent additional context for examining some of the logistic lessons of 1918. Heniker’s volume of the official history remains invaluable, and Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War is an extraordinary resource for anyone who is looking for numbers.

Works to consult are: Ian M. Brown, British Logistics on the Western Front, 1914–1919 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1998); Brian J. Cudahy, Box Boats: How Container Ships Changed the World (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006); W. J. K. Davies, Light Railways of the First World War: A History of Tactical Rail Communication on the British Battlefronts, 1914–1918 (Newton Abbot: David and Charles, 1967); Charles Ernest Fayle, The War and the Shipping Industry (London: Oxford University Press, 1927); Paul G. Halpern, A Naval History of World War I (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1994); James A. B. Hamilton, Britain’s Railways in World War I (London: Allen & Unwin, 1967); Alan M. Heniker, Transportation on the Western Front, 1914–18 (London: HMSO, 1937); Paul Kemp, Convoy Protection: The Defence of Seaborne Trade (London: Arms and Armor Press, 1993); Greg Kennedy (ed.), The Merchant Marine in International Affairs, 1850–1950 (London: Frank Cass, 2000); Nicholas A. Lambert, Planning Armageddon: British Economic Warfare and the First World War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012); Edwin A. Pratt, British Railways and the Great War: Organisation, Efforts, Difficulties and Achievements, 2 vols. (London: Selwyn and Blount, 1921); Kaushik Roy, ‘From defeat to victory: logistics of the campaign in Mesopotamia, 1914–1918’, First World War Studies, 1:1 (2010), pp. 35–55; War Office, Statistics of the Military Effort of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914–1920 (London: HMSO, 1922); Christian Wolmar, Engines of War: How Wars Were Won and Lost on the Railways (New York: Public Affairs, 2010); and David Zabecki, The German 1918 Offensives: A Case Study in the Operational Level of War (London: Routledge, 2006).

Official histories, government records, service and branch histories

Most official histories cover logistic and administrative issues sparingly, preferring to focus on tactical and operational issues. All should be examined, including Second World War studies, although logistic information can be deeply buried.

See the following: Jonathan B. A. Bailey, Field Artillery and Firepower (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2004); Henry Eccles, Logistics in the National Defense (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1959); James E. Edmonds, Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1914–1919, 14 vols. (London: HMSO, 1922–48); John W. Fortescue, The Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transportation and Supply in the British Army, 2 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 1931); John Starling and Ivor Lee, No Labour, No Battle: Military Labour during the First World War (Stroud, UK: Spellmount, 2009); US Department of the Army, Historical Division, United States Army in the World War 1917–1919, 17 vols. (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1948).

Other histories

There is a plethora of works available covering the First World War. Some less well-known but extremely useful studies include biographies of administrators such as Sir John Cowans and George Goethals. Grieves’s work is a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in how the BEF overcame its supply crisis during the Battle of the Somme. Nicholson offers an autobiographical account of the service in France in an administrative position. Chickering and Förster’s compilation includes chapters that cover or touch significantly on logistics, although the value of the work is in its breadth. Finally, Avner Offer provides a fascinating look at the kind of strategic decision-making that impacts logistics, and David Stevenson’s new volume is a brilliant look at the war’s climactic year covering a wealth of topics, including logistics, in a brilliantly integrated manner.

These are the works to consult: Desmond Chapman-Huston and Owen Rutter, General Sir John Cowans: The Quartermaster-General of the Great War (London: Hutchinson, 1924); Roger Chickering and Stig Förster (eds.), Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (Washington, DC: German Historical Institute and Cambridge University Press, 2000); Keith Grieves, Sir Eric Geddes: Business and Government in War and Peace (Manchester University Press, 1989); W. N. Nicholson, Behind the Lines: An Account of Administrative Staffwork in the British Army 1914–1918 (London: The Strong Oak Press with Tom Donovan Publishing, n.d., first published by Jonathan Cape, 1939); Avner Offer, The First World War: An Agrarian Interpretation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989); David Stevenson, With Our Backs to the Wall: Victory and Defeat in 1918 (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2011); Phyllis A. Zimmerman, George W Goethals and the Reorganization of the US Army Supply System, 1917–1918 (College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 1992).

10 Technology and armaments

Frédéric Guelton

The historiography of the Great War, written in successive waves, frequently has addressed technical questions with military implications. Nonetheless, this literature has limitations, in particular in treating the links and interactions between war and technology, but also between technology and strategy, tactics, the economy and so on. It neglects the role of men as actors, obstacles or accelerators of technological changes, defenders or adversaries of their introduction into armed forces.

In contrast, the historian is confronted with a wide array of research and micro-historical publications on each army, weapons system or article. These studies are intrinsically interesting, but lack contextualisation, and are limited in their utility due to their positivism. This applies to French and German scholarship, but happily there is more nuanced research in the Anglo-Saxon world.

These constraints limit this bibliography, presented in three parts. The first considers works with a wider time horizon than just the Great War. The second focuses on the war period, broadly conceived. The third presents works on the specific links between war, a service arm and technology.

General studies on war and technology

First, here are important works with a wider time horizon than just the Great War. Some have chapters on the war, some place the war in a broader context, as their titles indicate. Let us start with John Fuller and Charles Frederick, Armament and History, A Study of the Influence of Armament on History from the Dawn of Classical Warfare to the Second World War (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1946, Da Capo Press, 1998). A classic work, dated perhaps, but important due to the clarity of its argument and the originality of its approach. Stephen Biddle, Military Power: Explaining Victory and Defeat in Modern Battle (Princeton University Press, 2004), p. 352, a key study focusing on recourse to technology, in producing new weapons; on industrial production, or arms used; and on their deployment, or organisation.

These are additional contributions: Max Boot, War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History: 1500 to Today (New York: Gotham Books, 2006); Stephen Chiabotti (ed.), Tooling for War, Military Transformation in the Industrial Age (Proceedings of the Sixteenth Military History Symposium of the United States Air Force Academy, Chicago: Imprint, 1996); François Crouzet, De la supériorité de l’Angleterre sur la France. L’économique et l’imaginaire, xviie – xxe siècle (Paris: Perrin, 1985), p. 596; in English, Britain Ascendant: Comparative Studies in Franco-British Economic History (Cambridge University Press, 1990); Paul, M. Kennedy, ‘Arms-races and the causes of war, 1850–1945’, in Kennedy, Strategy and Diplomacy, 1870–1945 (London: Eight Studies, 1983), pp. 163–77; Jean Kogej, Economie et technologie, 1880–1945 (Paris: Ellipses, 1996); William H. McNeil, The Pursuit of Power. Technology, Armed Force and Society since A.D. 1000 (University of Chicago Press, 1982); Pierre Pascallon (ed.), La Guerre technologique en débat (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2010); Christian Potholm, Winning at War: Seven Keys to Military Victory throughout History (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010); Philip Pugh, The Cost of Sea Power. The Influence of Money on Naval Affairs from 1815 to the Present Day (London: Conway Maritime Press, 1986); George Raudzens, ‘War-winning weapons: the measurement of technological determinism in military history’, Journal of Military History, 54 (1990), pp. 403–33; Martin L. van Creveld, Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton (Cambridge University Press, 1980, 2004); and his Technology and War, from 2000 BC to the Present (London and New York: Free Press, 1989, 1991).

General works on the Great War and technology

The works cited here deal directly with the First World War. Most have clear chronologies and avoid focusing on only one weapon, category or technology: Guy Hartcup, The War of Invention; Scientific Developments, 1914–18, 1st edn (London: Brassey’s Defence Publishers, 1988), p. 226. One of the most complete treatments of the use of science and technology by the belligerents is David G. Herrmann, The Arming of Europe and the Making of the First World War (Princeton University Press, 1997), which is a study with much of interest to say on arms production and the road to war. Dennis Showalter, ‘Mass warfare and the impact of technology’, in Chickering and Förster, Great War, Total War. In chapter 4, the author discusses the links between technology and national armies. Other chapters are useful, in particular, chapter 5 on the chemical war, chapter 11 on strategic bombing, and chapters 17 and 20 on economic and financial questions.

There is useful material as well in the following works: Bill Rawling, Survivre aux tranchées, l’armée canadienne et la technologie, 1914–1918 (Outremont, Québec: Éditions Athéna, 2004); Claude Carlier and Guy Pedroncini (eds.), 1916 L’Émergence des armes nouvelles, actes du colloque (Paris: Économica, Hautes Études militaires 4, 1997); CERMA, Cahiers d’études et de recherches du musée de l’Armée, 1904–1914 de la guerre pensée à la guerre sur le terrain, techniques, tactiques, pratiques (Paris: Musée de l’Armée, DRHAP, No. 5, 2004); François Crouzet, ‘Recherches sur la production d’armements en France, 1815–1913’, Revue historique, 509 (1974), pp. 45–84; and by the same author, Remarques sur l’industrie des armements en France du milieu du XIXe siècle à 1914’, Revue historique, 510 (1974), pp. 409–22; Antulio J. Echevarria, ‘The “cult of the offensive” revisited: confronting technological change before the Great War’, Journal of Strategic Studies, 25:1 (2002), pp. 199–214; Michael Epkenhans, ‘Grossindustrie und schlachtflottenbau, 1897–1914’, Militärgeschichtliche Mitteilungen, 22:1 (1988), pp. 65–140; Gerhard Schneider, Der Erste Weltkrieg als erste industrialisierter Krieg (Schwalbach am Taurus: Wochenschau-Verlag, 2003); Gerd Hardach, ‘Mobilisation industrielle en 1914–1918, production, planification, idéologie’, in Patrick Fridenson and Jean-Jacques Becker (eds.), ‘1914–1918, L’autre front’, Cahier du Mouvement social, 2 (1977), 82–101; Holger H. Herwig, ‘The dynamics of necessity, German military policy during the First World War’, in Allan R. Millet and Murray Williamson (eds.), Military Effectiveness, vol. I, The First World War (Boston, MA: Unwin Hyman, 1989), pp. 80–115; Hubert C. Johnson, Breakthrough! Tactics, Technology and the Search for Victory on the Western Front in World War I (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1994); Gerd Krumeich, Armaments and Politics in France on the Eve of the First World War. The Introduction of Three-Year Conscription, 1913–1914 (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1984); Hans Linnenkohl, Vom Einzelschuß zur Feuerwalze: Der Wettlauf zwischen Technik und Taktik im Ersten Weltkrieg (Bonn: Bernhard und Graefe, 1996); Jonathan Shimshoni, ‘Technology, military advantage, and World War I: a case for military entrepreneurship’, International Security, 15:3 (1990–1), pp. 187–215; Dennis, E. Showalter, ‘Army and society in imperial Germany: the pain of modernization’, Journal of Contemporary History, 18:4 (1983), pp. 583–618; Tim Travers, How the War Was Won: Command and Technology in the British Army on the Western Front, 1917–1918 (London: Routledge, 1992); and by the same author The Killing Ground; Clive Trebilcock, ‘Legends of the British armaments industry, 1890–1914: a revision’, Journal of Contemporary History, 5:4 (1970), pp. 3–19; Michael D. Wallace, ‘Arms races and escalation: some new evidence’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 23:1 (1979), pp. 3–16.

Some other essential works on the Great War and technology

This list is limited to indicate some important works in a well-populated field: Anthony Saunders, Weapons of the Trench War, 1914–1918 (Stroud, UK: Sutton, 2000); David J. Childs, A Peripheral Weapon? The Production and Employment of British Tanks in the First World War (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1999); John Ellis, The Social History of the Machine-Gun (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1975); Holger H. Herwig, ‘Luxury’ Fleet, The Imperial German Navy, 1888–1918 (London: Prometheus Books, 1987); Lee Kennett, La première guerre aérienne, 1917–1918 (Paris: Economica, 2005); Olivier Lepick, La Grande Guerre chimique, 1914–1918 (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1998); Jon Tetsuro Sumida, In Defence of Naval Supremacy: Finance, Technology and British Naval Policy, 1889–1914 (London: Routledge, 1993); Gary E. Weir, ‘Building the Kaiser’s navy’, in The Imperial Naval Office and German Industry in the von Tirpitz Era 1890–1919 (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1992).

11 Prisoners of war

Heather Jones

Until the 1990s, the historiography of prisoners of war in the Great War was not well developed. Captivity in the Western powers had been largely ignored since 1939, overshadowed by the experience of the Second World War, while captivity on the Eastern Front had been predominantly researched in terms of how prisoners of war had engaged with communism. East German, Hungarian and Soviet historians had looked at the role of prisoners in the rise of communism post 1917, while Austrian historians had considered how repatriated prisoners had supported socialist and communist movements. However, in the 1990s with the fall of the Berlin wall and access to new source materials, as well as the advent of cultural history, interest in prisoners of war grew. In particular, a number of new monographs were published that showed the extent to which captivity was central to the war and which challenged the idea that prisoners were largely well treated in the conflict, a myth that stemmed from an over-reliance in some interwar histories on officers’ accounts of life in officers’ camps. However, much of the new historiography on prisoners of war is in German and French; English language studies remain under-represented in the field.

Among the key pioneering works from the new historiography on prisoners is Odon Abbal, Soldats Oubliés: Les prisonniers de guerre français (Bez-et-Esparon: Études et Communication éditions, 2001). This is a detailed study of the experience of prisoners from a region of the south of France who were captured by Germany. The same author has written Un combat d’aprés-guerre: le statut des prisonniers’, Revue du Nord, 80:325 (1998), pp. 405–16, an excellent discussion of the post-war campaign by French ex-prisoners to be treated the same as veterans who had not been captured. See also his Santé et captivité: le traitement des prisonniers français dans les hopitaux allemands’, in Actes du Colloque ‘Forces Armées et société’ (Montpellier: Centre d’histoire militaire et d’études de défense nationale, 1987), pp. 273–83, and Le Maghreb et la Grande Guerre: les camps d’internement en Afrique du Nord’, in Jean-Charles Jouffret (ed.), Les Armes et la Toge, Mélanges offerts à André Martel (Montpellier: Centre d’histoire militaire et d’études de défense nationale, 1997), pp. 623–35. Annette Becker, Oubliés de la Grande Guerre: humanitaire et culture de guerre, 1914–1918: populations occupées, déportés civils, prisonniers de guerre (Paris: Noêsis, 1998), is an outstanding study of French prisoners of war and civilian internees in Germany as well as in the German-occupied zones of France, which pioneered the cultural history of prisoners of war and revealed the extent of prisoner mistreatment in Germany. Becker argues aspects of Great War captivity pointed to developments that would occur in the Second World War.

Additional scholarship includes: Sylvie Caucanas, Rémy Cazals and Pascal Payen (eds.), Les Prisonniers de Guerre dans l’Histoire. Contacts entre peuples et cultures (Toulouse: Privat, 2003); and Gerald H. Davis, ‘Prisoners of war in twentieth century war economies’, Journal of Contemporary History, 12 (1977), pp. 623–34. This is a key attempt to analyse the impact of prisoner labour from an economic perspective. It is particularly valuable on the Eastern Front. See also his National Red Cross societies and prisoners of war in Russia, 1914–1918’, Journal of Contemporary History, 28:1 (1993), pp. 31–52.

Uta Hinz, Gefangen im Großen Krieg. Kriegsgefangenschaft in Deutschland, 1914–1921 (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2006), is the first detailed monograph study of the treatment of prisoners of war of all nationalities in Germany during the Great War. Hinz argues that only limited radicalisation of captivity occurred, driven by labour needs. Robert Jackson, The Prisoners 1914–1918 (London: Routledge, 1989), is an overview of prisoners’ experiences based solely on sources from the Imperial War Museum. Heather Jones, Violence against Prisoners of War in the First World War: Britain, France and Germany, 1914–1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2011), is the first study to compare violence against prisoners in captivity in Germany, France and Britain and the first to highlight the significance of prisoner-of-war labour companies working for captor armies at or near the front. See also her Imperial captivities: colonial prisoners of war in Germany and the Ottoman empire, 1914–1918’, in Santanu Das (ed.), Race, Empire and First World War Writing (Cambridge University Press, 2011), pp. 177–8. This chapter highlights the mistreatment of prisoners of war after the siege of Kut-al-Amara and explores the role of ‘race’ as a factor in determining captivity experience in Germany in the Great War. See also Alan Kramer, ‘Prisoners in the First World War’, in Sibylle Scheipers (ed.), Prisoners in War (Oxford University Press, 2010).

An essential work is Alon Rachamimov, POWs and the Great War. Captivity on the Eastern Front (Oxford and New York: Berg, 2002). This is a key study that examines how Austro-Hungarian prisoners understood their national identity and the first study to use censorship records of prisoners’ letters. Rachamimov argues that Great War captivity was closer to nineteenth-century practices than 1939 to 1945.

Hannes Leidinger, ‘Gefangenschaft und Heimkehr: Gedanken zu Voraussetzungen und Perspektiven eines neuen Forschungsbereiches’, Zeitgeschichte (Austria), 25:11–12 (1998), pp. 333–42, is a valuable article that sets out the historiographical transition that has occurred in the study of prisoners of war on the Eastern Front since the fall of communism. See, too: Verena Moritz, Zwischen allen Fronten. Die russischen Kriegsgefangenen in Österreich im Spannungsfeld von Nutzen und Bedrohung, 1914–1921, published PhD dissertation (Vienna: University of Vienna, 2001); and Reinhard Nachtigal, Kriegsgefangenschaft an der Ostfront 1914 bis 1918 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2005). This is an excellent overview of captivity on the Eastern Front during the war. In the same field, Reinhard Nachtigal, Russland und seine österreichisch-ungarischen Kriegsgefangenen (1914–1918) (Remshalden: Verlag Bernhard Albert Greiner, 2003) – a detailed, comprehensive and well-researched study of the treatment of Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war in Russia. See also his three articles: Seuchen unter militärischer aufsicht in Rußland: das Lager Tockoe als Beispiel für die behandlung der Kriegsgefangenen 1915/16’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, 48 (2000), 363–87; Seuchenbekämpfung als Probleme der russischen Staatsverwaltung: Prinz Alexander von Oldenburg und die Kriegsgefangenen der Mittelmächte’, Medizinhistorisches Journal, 39 (2004), pp. 135–63; and The repatriation and reception of returning prisoners of war, 1918–22’, Immigrants and Minorities, 26:1/2 (2008), pp. 157–84.

See as well Jochen Oltmer (ed.), Kriegsgefangene im Europa des Ersten Weltkriegs (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2006). This is a valuable collection of essays by a selection of leading prisoner-of-war experts. A general work on this subject is Rüdiger Overmans (ed.), In der Hand des Feindes. Kriegsgefangenschaft von der Antike bis zum Zweiten Weltkrieg (Cologne, Weimar, Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 1999). See also the same author’s “Hunnen” und “Untermenschen” – deutsche und russisch/sowjetische Kriegsgefangenschaftserfahrungen im Zeitalter der Weltkriege’, in Bruno Thoss and Hans-Erich Volkmann (eds.), Erster Weltkrieg – Zweiter Weltkrieg. Ein Vergleich: Krieg, Kriegserlebnis, Kriegserfahrung in Deutschland (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schöningh, 2002), pp. 335–65. This is an important, innovative chapter that sets out the differences between captivity in Germany and Russia in the two world wars.

Further research in different national contexts is available in: Rainer Pöppinghege, Im Lager unbesiegt. Deutsche, englische und französische Kriegsgefangenen-Zeitungen im Ersten Weltkrieg (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2006); Giovanna Procacci, Soldati e prigionieri italiani nella Grande guerra (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2000); Kai Rawe, ‘. . . wir werden sie schon zur Arbeit bringen!’ Ausländerbeschäftigung und Zwangsarbeit im Ruhrkohlenbergbau während des Ersten Weltkrieges (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2005); Richard B. Speed III, Prisoners, Diplomats and the Great War: A Study in the Diplomacy of Captivity (New York and London: Greenwood Press, 1990). Adopting a diplomatic history approach, this book is nevertheless a good general overview of the treatment of prisoners of war in multiple belligerent states. Mark Spoerer, ‘The mortality of Allied prisoners of war and Belgian civilian deportees in German custody during World War I: a reappraisal of the effects of forced labour’, Population Studies, 60:2 (2006), pp. 121–36, is a key study that uses statistical analysis to correlate death rates for prisoners by nationality with length of time in captivity. It shows that British prisoners had a very high death rate in Germany given that the majority of them spent only a short time overall in captivity. See, too, Matthew Stibbe (ed.), Captivity, Forced Labour and Forced Migration in Europe during the First World War (London: Routledge, 2009). Still useful is Samuel R. Williamson Jnr and Peter Pastor (eds.), Essays on World War One: Origins and Prisoners of War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983). This is a book that pioneered the study of prisoner-of-war treatment on the Eastern Front and which gives a good political overview.

On surrender and on prisoner killing on the battlefield, see: Bourke, An Intimate History of Killing; Brian Feltman, ‘The British treatment of prisoners of war on the Western Front’, War in History, 17 (2010), pp. 435–58; Ferguson, The Pity of War; Niall Ferguson, ‘Prisoner taking and prisoner killing in the age of total war: towards a political economy of military defeat’, War in History, 11:2 (2004), pp. 148–92. Ferguson’s is an interesting article that uses economic history methodologies applied to surrender patterns to discuss the impact surrender had upon the outcome of the war. See, too, Jahr, Gewöhnliche Soldaten; Edgar Jones, ‘The pyschology of killing: the combat experience of British soldiers during the First World War’, Journal of Contemporary History, 41 (2006), pp. 229–46. Watson, Enduring the Great War, contains a very valuable discussion as to why German units surrendered in 1918, arguing that junior officers were key to this process.

For official interwar sources, see: Hans Weiland and Leopold Kern (eds.), In Feindeshand: Die Gefangenschaft im Weltkriege in Einzeldarstellungen, 2 vols. (Vienna: Bundesvereinigung der ehemaligen österreischischen Kriegsgefangenen, 1931). This is an Austrian-based attempt to write an interwar global history of prisoners of war in the Great War. Although it attempts to be objective, this study tends to focus on German speakers’ experiences. See also: Wilhelm Doegen, Kriegsgefangene Völker, vol. I, Der Kriegsgefangenen Haltung und Schicksal in Deutschland, Bearbeitet in verbindung mit Theodor Kappstein und hrsg. im amtlichen Auftrage des Reichswehrministeriums (Berlin: D. Reimer, 1919 [1921]). This is a very pro-German history, but one which had access to the Prussian military archives later destroyed in the Second World War and thus contains key information and statistics.

On escapes, see Simon P. Mackenzie, ‘The ethics of escape: British officer POWs in the First World War’, War in History, 15:1 (2008), pp. 1–16.

12 War economies

Barry Supple

The underlying elements of mobilisation for a war of unprecedented scale are presented in: Kevin D. Stubbs, Race to the Front: The Material Foundations of Coalition Strategy in the Great War (London: Praeger, 2002); and Roger Chickering and Stig Förster, Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western Front, 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

Useful summary views of the varied economic issues and aspects of the war are contained in: Gerald Feldman, ‘Mobilizing economies for war’, in Jay Winter, Geoffrey Parker and Mary R. Habeck (eds.), The Great War and the Twentieth Century (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000); and the essay on the changing historiography of the economic aspects of the war in Businessmen, industrialists, and bankers: how was the economic war waged?’, in Jay Winter and Antoine Prost (eds.), The Great War in History: Debates and Controversies, 1914 to the Present (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

A somewhat more elaborate treatment of the economics of the war, covering individual countries as well as international and general topics, is Stephen Broadberry and Mark Harrison, Economics of World War I (Cambridge University Press, 1998), which deals analytically as well as empirically with its economic processes and macroeconomic features.

A contrast, from an earlier period, is the vast (132-volume) Economic and Social History of the World War, published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from the early 1920s. Much of its empirical detail is overwhelming, and the quality is uneven, but it remains an invaluable repository of information concerning the sources for and details of government control and economic activity and outcomes – both generally and in individual countries (those peripheral to the war as well as the principal combatants). Two examples of particularly useful studies are: the volumes on the collapse of the Russian economy and society – Michael T. Florinsky, The End of the Russian Empire (Oxford and New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Economic and Social History of the World War, 1931); and on the control mechanism adopted in the United Kingdom – Edward M. H. Lloyd, Experiments in State Control at the War Office and the Ministry of Food (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924). In each case there are various volumes on the relevant country.

The Carnegie series also deals at length with particular aspects of economic activity – for example, in Fayle, The War and the Shipping Industry.

A vital perspective on the international financial and therefore economic impact of the war can be found in Barry Eichengreen, Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard and the Great Depression, 1919–1939 (Oxford University Press, 1992). This can be compared with the dire warnings about the economic costs of international war in Norman Angell’s early classic The Great Illusion: A Study of the Relation of Military Power in Nations to Their Economic and Social Advantage (London: Heinemann, 1910). Another distinctive perspective on the coniflict is Avner Offer, The First World War, An Agrarian Interpretation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989).

Demographic aspects of the war and its impact on civilian life in various countries are considered in Winter, The Great War and the British People; Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert (eds.), Capital Cities at War: London, Paris, Berlin, 1914–1919 (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Kocka, Facing Total War; Fridenson, French Home Front; and David M. Kennedy, Over Here: The First World War and American Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).

Mechanisms of market control and industrial policies are discussed in E. M. H. Lloyd’s volume on experiments in state control (already cited); Feldman, Army, Industry, and Labor; John F. Godfrey, Capitalism at War: Industrial Policy and Bureaucracy in France, 1914–1918 (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1987); Gerd Hardach, ‘Industrial mobilization in 1914–1918: production, planning and ideology’, in Fridenson, French Home Front; and Chris J. Wrigley, David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement: Peace and War (Hassocks: Harvester, 1976).

The impact of the war in individual countries is considered in some of the foregoing publications. In addition, general national perspectives are also available in: Chickering, Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914–1918; Peter Gatrell, Russia’s First World War: An Economic and Social History (Harlow: Pearson Longman, 2005); and Kathleen Burk (ed.), War and the State: The Transformation of British Government, 1914–1919 (London: Allen & Unwin, 1982). A contrast to the established interpretation of Germany’s ultimate wartime economic frailty can be found in Niall Ferguson, The Pity of War (New York: Basic Books, 1999).

Adaptations of business structures and associations are considered in various of the foregoing national studies, and can be supplemented by Keith Middlemas, Politics in Industrial Society: The Experience of the British System since 1911 (London: Andre Deutsch, 1979).

Examples of contemporaneous discussion by economists of the implications of the wartime experience for the role of the state are: Arthur C. Pigou, The Political Economy of War (London: Macmillan, 1921); and John M. Clark, ‘The basis of wartime collectivism’, American Economic Review, 7:4 (1917), pp. 772–90. An example of official consideration of such issues is in the ‘Final report of the committee on commercial and industrial policy after the war’ (Cd. 9035, 1918, XIII).

Comparisons of the impact of the two world wars of the twentieth century are in Broadberry and Harrison, Economics of World War I and Alan S. Milward, The Economic Effects of the Two World Wars on Britain (London: Macmillan, 1984).

13 Workers

Antoine Prost

The story of workers during the war was a central focus for the historians of the 1970s to 1980s. Léopold H. Haimson helped to organise international research on strikes which was presented in two very extensive volumes, partly quantitative: one written with Charles Tilly, Strikes, Wars and Revolutions in an International Perspective (Cambridge and Paris: Cambridge University Press and Éditions de la MSH, 1989); the other edited together with Giulio Sapelli, Strikes, Social Conflict and the First World War. An International Perspective (Milan: Feltrinelli, 1992). Jay Winter has similarly edited comparative collective works: with Richard Wall, The Upheaval of War. Family, Work and Welfare in Europe 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1988); and with Jean-Louis Robert, Capital Cities at War. London, Paris, Berlin 1914–1919 (Cambridge University Press, 1997). But the first systematic comparison is John Horne’s book, derived from his doctoral thesis: Labour at War. France and Britain 1914–1918 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991).

Comparisons are sometimes weakened by lack of precision in their concepts. The contributions from economists assembled by Broadberry and Harrison, Economics of World War I, do not suffer from this drawback, but are much less substantial than the works cited above. Finally, we should draw attention to a general article: Carmen J. Sirianni, ‘Workers’ control in the era of the First World War. A comparative analysis of the European experience’, Theory and Society, 9:1 (1980), pp. 29–88.

National studies are variable. The case of Britain has been the subject of several works, including particularly James Hinton, The First Shop Steward’s Movement (London: Allen & Unwin, 1973), analysed by Alastair Reid in his contribution Dilution, trade unionism and the state in Britain during the First World War’, in Steven Tolliday and Jonathan Zeitlin (eds.), Shop Floor Bargaining and the State (Cambridge University Press, 1985), pp. 46–74. Other studies relocate the history of the workers in that of society as a whole. Leading works in this tradition include Bernard Waites, A Class Society at War. England 1914–1918 (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1987); Arthur Marwick, The Deluge. British Society and the First World War, 2nd edn (London: Macmillan, 1991); and Chris Wrigley, David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement. Peace and War (Hassock and New York: Harvester and Barnes & Noble, 1976).

The same global perspective reappears in the two essential works on Germany: Jürgen Kocka, Facing Total War. German Society 1914–1918 (Leamington Spa and Cambridge MA: Berg and Harvard University Press, 1984); and Gerald D. Feldman, Army Industry and Labor in Germany, 1914–1918 (Oxford and Providence: Berg, 1992; 1st edn – Princeton University Press, 1966). To these can be added monographs on cities, such as Sean Dobson, Authority and Upheaval in Leipzig, 1910–1920 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001); and Mary Nolan, Social-Democracy and Society. Working-Class Radicalism in Düsseldorf, 1890–1920 (Cambridge University Press, 2002).

For France, apart from the pioneering articles gathered by Patrick Fridenson (ed.), 1914–1918: l’autre front (Paris: Éditions Ouvrières, 1977) (Cahier du Mouvement social no. 2), the only extensive work is the thesis by Jean-Louis Robert on workers and the conditions of working life in the Paris region during the war. Parts of this major work are published in his book, Les Ouvriers, la Patrie et la Révolution. Paris 1914–1918 (Besançon: Annales littéraires de l’Université de Besançon no. 392, série historique no. 11, 1995). This book highlights the factual narrative aspects of his work, leaving out the important socio-anthropological approach which governs his these d’état.

Peter Gatrell, Russia’s First World War: A Social and Economic History (Harlow: Pearson/Longman, 2005), gives the general framework of Russian developments. The Petrograd workers have been covered by David Mandel in his two books, The Petrograd Workers and the Fall of the Old Regime: From the February Revolution to the July Days, 1917, and The Petrograd Workers and the Soviet Seizure of Power: From the July Days to July 1918 (London: Macmillan, 1983 and 1984). Those of Moscow have been covered by Diane P. Koenker, Moscow Workers and the 1917 Revolution (Princeton University Press, 1981). We should not overlook the books by Haimson already cited.

The bibliography for Italy is thinner. We have the contributions published by Haimson, and the collective work edited by Giovanna Procacci, Stato e classe operaia in Italia durante la primo guerre mondiale (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1983). For Austria-Hungary, as well as Francis L. Carsten’s Revolutions in Central Europe, 1918–1919 (London: Temple Smith, 1972), we should mention the article by Hans Hauptmann, ‘Vienna: a city in the years of radical change’, in Chris Wrigley (ed.), Challenges of Labour. Central and Western Europe 1917–1920 (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), pp. 87–104.

Finally, the development of gender studies has brought us some original works on female labour: Angela Woollacott, On Her Their Lives Depend. Munition Workers in the Great War (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994); Laura Lee Downs, Manufacturing Inequality: Gender Division in the French and British Metalworking Industries, 1914–1939 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995); French translation: L’inégalité à la chaîne. La division sexuée du travail dans l’industrie métallurgique en France et en Grande-Bretagne (Paris: A. Michel, 2002); or Ute Daniel, The War from Within, German Working-Class Women in the First World War (Oxford and New York: Berg, 1997).

14 Cities

Stefan Goebel

The urban history of total war is an emerging field of historical enquiry, bringing into dialogue urban studies with military history. For an introduction to the historiography, see Stefan Goebel and Derek Keene, ‘Towards a metropolitan history of total war: an introduction’, in Goebel and Keene (eds.), Cities into Battlefields: Metropolitan Scenarios, Experiences and Commemorations of Total War (Farnham: Ashgate, 2011), pp. 1–46. Some of the most innovative works in this field have appeared in the series Studies in the Social and Cultural History of the Great War, in particular Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert (eds.), Capital Cities at War: Paris, London, Berlin 1914–1919, 2 vols. (Cambridge University Press, 1997–2007), a polygraph produced by a team of scholars from Britain, France, Germany and the United States. While the first volume charts the social relations of sacrifice, labour, incomes, consumption and health, volume II takes the reader on a virtual tour of metropolitan sites from the railway stations to the cemeteries.

Jean-Louis Robert, the French co-editor, is the leading expert on wartime Paris and its revolutionary workers. A digest of his unpublished 1989 thesis appeared under the title Les Ouvriers, la Patrie et la Révolution: Paris 1914–1919 (Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 1995). Another collaborator in the Capital Cities project published subsequently a history of British society during the Great War: Adrian Gregory, The Last Great War: British Society and the First World War (Cambridge University Press, 2008) is a general survey, but with a strong urban focus.

Arguing that ‘total war requires total history’, Roger Chickering has produced a magisterial history of a German town: The Great War and Urban Life in Germany: Freiburg, 1914–1918 (Cambridge University Press, 2007) covers (nearly) everything from civic administration to the smells and sounds of the wartime city. Less comprehensive but equally significant is Healy, Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire. Although not narrowly a work of gender history, Healy’s book is especially attentive to the gendering of urban life in wartime. Martin Geyer’s study of Munich, Verkehrte Welt: Revolution, Inflation und Moderne, München 1914–1924 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998), focuses on the experience of a ‘world turned upside down’ in the era of inflation. He departs from the conventional periodisation, choosing 1924 as his cut-off point. Taken together, these works transcend the divide between social and cultural history, pointing towards a more integrative mode of historical research into cities at war.

Urban communities

The wartime fragmentation of urban society has received a great deal of attention from scholars. Traditionally, historians have focused on social classes, notably the working conditions and wages of labourers – for instance, Mary Nolan, Social Democracy and Society: Working-Class Radicalism in Düsseldorf, 1890–1920 (Cambridge University Press, 1981). More recently, historians inspired by the cultural turn have highlighted the transformation of class conflict during the war. Belinda J. Davis analyses the reconfiguration of older social categories in patterns of gender and consumption in her study Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2000). Similarly, Tyler Stovall, Paris and the Spirit of 1919: Consumer Struggles, Transnationalism, and Revolution (Cambridge University Press, 2012), charts how class antagonism was channelled into a consumer struggle spearheaded by women.

Social relations in occupied cities became dangerously strained, as Antoon Vrints’s study of public violence and street politics in Antwerp shows: Het theater van de straat: Publiek geweld in Antwerpen tijdens de eerste helft van de twintigste eeuw (Amsterdam University Press, 2011). Compare this with the multi-ethnic and multi-religious cities of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and Asia Minor where the war became a catalyst for the uprooting of entire communities. A number of important studies have adopted a longer-term perspective, placing the experience of the Great War within a broader historical context from the late nineteenth century to the end of the Second World War: Ulrike von Hirschhausen, Die Grenzen der Gemeinsamkeit: Deutsche, Letten, Russen und Juden in Riga 1860–1914 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2006); Christoph Mick, Kriegserfahrung in einer multiethnischen Stadt: Lemberg 1914–1947 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2010); Mark Mazower, Salonica: City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430–1950 (London: Harper Perennial, 2005).

Propaganda spectacles and the media

The symbiosis between war propaganda and popular culture, which became a salient mark of the Great War, was pioneered in the large cities and rooted in urban civic culture. Indispensable is Winter and Robert, Capital Cities at War, vol. II, which contains chapters on metropolitan entertainments, exhibitions, schools and universities. Healy, Vienna, too, is pertinent to the study of the propaganda spectacle and media representation. The connections between war, theatre and the city are explored in: Martin Baumeister, Kriegstheater: Großstadt, Front und Massenkultur 1914–1918 (Essen: Klartext Verlag, 2005); and Jan Rüger, ‘Laughter and war in Berlin’, History Workshop Journal, 67 (2009), pp. 23–43.

A comparative study of the public sphere in London and Berlin (with an emphasis on press censorship and rumours) is offered by Florian Altenhöner, Kommunikation und Kontrolle: Gerüchte und städtische Öffentlichkeiten in Berlin und London 1914/1918 (Munich: R. Oldenbourg Verlag, 2008). His findings should be compared to Jovana Knežević, ‘Reclaiming their city: Belgraders and the combat against Habsburg propaganda through rumours, 1915–18’, in Goebel and Keene, Cities into Battlefields, pp. 101–18, who follow Healy’s lead.


The ‘memory boom’ in historical studies has produced a number of works on urban forms of commemoration. Ken S. Inglis, ‘Entombing unknown soldiers: from London and Paris to Baghdad’, History & Memory, 5:2 (1993), pp. 7–31, focuses on the national war memorials in capital cities, while Mark Connelly, The Great War, Memory and Ritual: Commemoration in the City and East London, 1916–1939 (Woodbridge: Boydell, 2002), examines commemorations at the neighbourhood level. Others have charted commemorative cityscapes, for instance the historical geographer Yvonne Whelan, Reinventing Modern Dublin: Streetscape, Iconography and the Politics of Identity (University College Dublin Press, 2003). A comparative approach, contrasting Paris and Berlin, is adopted by Élise Julien, Paris, Berlin: La mémoire de la guerre 1914–1933 (Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2009).

A yawning gap in the literature is the lack of studies of colonial cities at war, which Abigail Jacobson’s lone From Empire to Empire: Jerusalem between Ottoman and British Rule (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2011) cannot fill.

15 Agrarian society

Benjamin Ziemann

The agrarian economy and rural society during the Great War are a much-neglected topic even for most of the major belligerent European countries, let alone neutral countries such as Switzerland, Spain or the smaller countries of the Balkans. For many countries, the respective volumes produced for the Carnegie Endowment on Peace in the 1920s for its series on the economic and social history of the war are still the state of the art or at least the major source of core information. For Austria-Hungary, compare Hans Loewenfeld-Russ, Die Regelung der Volksernährung im Kriege (Vienna: Holder, 1926); for France, Michel Augé-Laribé and Pierre Pinot, Agriculture and Food Supply in France during the War (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1927); for Germany, Friedrich Aereboe, Der Einfluß des Krieges auf die landwirtschaftliche Produktion in Deutschland (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1927); and for Italy, Arrigo Serpieri, La guerra e le classi rurali italiane (Rome: Laterza, 1930).

The most notable exception from this poor state of historiographical debate is Russia, where peasants were part and parcel of a seminal regime transformation in 1917, and for which Anglo-Saxon historians have produced a number of excellent studies on wartime social change in the countryside. Peter Gatrell, Russia’s First World War. A Social and Economic History (Harlow: Longman, 2005) offers an accessible general account of economy and society in Russia during the war. A trailblazing study of the food economy in Russia is Lars T. Lih, Bread and Authority in Russia, 1914–1921 (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992). The three most important regional studies on social transformation in the countryside are Holquist, Making War, Forging Revolution; Aaron Retish, Russia’s Peasants in Revolution and Civil War. Citizenship, Identity, and the Creation of the Soviet State, 1914–1922 (Cambridge University Press, 2008); and Sarah Badcock, Politics and the People in Revolutionary Russia. A Provincial History (Cambridge University Press, 2007). Highly pertinent is also the forthcoming book-length study by Mark Baker on Kharkiv province, some aspects of which have been previously released in article form.

Germany is comparatively well covered by two regional studies in English. There is an emphasis on agrarian politics and the Catholic Centre Party in the study by Robert G. Moeller, German Peasants and Agrarian Politics, 1914–1924. The Rhineland and Westphalia (Chapel Hill, NC and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1986). A study of social relations for both peasants at the home front and rural soldiers in southern Bavaria is Ziemann, War Experiences in Rural Germany. Some primary evidence on German rural soldiers and their relatives is documented in the source collection by Bernd Ulrich and Benjamin Ziemann (eds.), The German Soldiers of the Great War. Letters and Eyewitness Accounts (Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books, 2010).

The French historians of the Annales school have produced trailblazing books on medieval and early modern village societies in the Hexagon, yet on the First World War we only have the older study by Henri Gerest, Les populations rurales du Montbrisonnais et la Grande Guerre (Saint Étienne: Centre d’Études Foréziennes, 1977). Key data are presented in the relevant sections of Michel Gervais, Marcel Jollivet and Yves Tavernier, La fin de la France paysanne, de 1914 à nos jours, vol. IV, Histoire de la France rurale (Paris: Seuil, 1976), pp. 44–55, 165–91, 531–42. The best English-language account of French society during the Great War, including chapters on popular sentiment, society and economy in the countryside, is still Jean-Jacques Becker, The Great War and the French People (Leamington Spa: Berg, 1985). For a fascinating study of the personal relationship between a French smallholder who served at the front and his wife, based on their war letters, see Martha Hanna, Your Death Would Be Mine. Paul and Marie Pireaud in the Great War (Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press, 2009). Changing social relations and social conflicts in the Italian countryside are covered in English language by two regional studies: Anthony L. Cardoza, Agrarian Elites and Italian Fascism. The Province of Bologna, 1901–1926 (Princeton University Press, 1982); and Frank M. Snowden, Violence and Great Estates in t