The First World War was too big to be grasped by its participants. In the retelling of their war in the competing memories of leaders and commanders, and the anguished fiction of its combatants, any sense of order and purpose, effort and achievement, was missing. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians and those managing the vast economy of industrialised warfare, Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new type of conflict born out of industrial society was fought as it was. It was the first mass war in which the resources of the fully-mobilised societies strained every sinew in a conflict over ideals - and the humblest and highest were all caught up in the national enterprise.
This lucidly written book is a comprehensive analysis of the overriding, and ultimately successful, tactic that the Allies used to wear down the German Empire in an unprecedented war of attrition. By the beginning of 1915, after six months of intense fighting, both sides realised that the Great War was going to be a costly conflict with no easy victories, and from this point onwards the scale of the fighting escalated inexorably, with the mobilization of the masses and the development of new weapons. Whichever side was to win would have to out-produce, outfight and outlast the other. The choice was simply Pyrrhic victory or complete collapse. As the author cogently argues, this could only be done by an acceptance of the concept of attrition at all levels of society, from the front-line soldier through the generals and the politicians, to the industrialists, trades union leaders, and the news-paper owners, as well as the journalists.
Publication date: 14/08/2014
Publisher: Little, Brown an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
|Publication date:||14th August 2014|
|Publisher:||Little, Brown an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group|
|Categories:||First World War, General & world history, 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000,|
Dr William Philpott is Professor of the History of Warfare in the Department of War Studies, King's College London. He is a specialist in the First World War, in particular British strategy and the history of the French army.More About William Philpott