Other First World War: The Blood-Soaked Russian Fronts 1914-1922

The History Press
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Winston Churchill called it ‘the unknown war’. Unlike the long stalemate of the Western Front, the conflict 1914–18 between the Russian Empire and the Central Powers was a war of movement spanning a continent – from the Arctic to the Adriatic, Black and Caspian seas and from the Baltic in the west to the Pacific Ocean.The appalling scale of casualties provoked strikes in Russia’s war industries and widespread mutinies at the front. As the whole fabric of society collapsed, German money brought the Bolsheviks to power in the greatest deniable dirty trick of the twentieth century, after which Russia stopped fighting, eight months before the Western Front armistice.The cost to Russia was 4 million men dead and as many held as POWs by the Central Powers. Wounded? No one has any idea how many. All the belligerent powers of the Russian fronts were destroyed: the German, Austro–Hungarian and Russian empires gone forever and the Ottoman Empire so crippled that it finally collapsed in 1922.During four years of brutal civil war that followed, Trotsky’s Red Army fought the White armies, murdering and massacring millions of civilians, as British, American and other western soldiers of the interventionist forces fought and died from the frozen Arctic to the arid deserts of Iran. This is the story of that other First World War.
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About the author

Douglas Boyd was an RAF Russian linguist trained in language, culture, and history.
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Additional Information

Publisher
The History Press
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Published on
Sep 1, 2014
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9780750957861
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
History / Military / World War I
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Fought far from home, World War I was nonetheless a stirring American adventure. The achievements of the United States during that war, often underrated by military historians, were in fact remarkable, and they turned the tide of the conflict. So says John S. D. Eisenhower, one of today's most acclaimed military historians, in his sweeping history of the Great War and the men who won it: the Yanks of the American Expeditionary Force.
Their men dying in droves on the stalemated Western Front, British and French generals complained that America was giving too little, too late. John Eisenhower shows why they were wrong. The European Allies wished to plug the much-needed U.S. troops into their armies in order to fill the gaps in the line. But General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, the indomitable commander of the AEF, determined that its troops would fight together, as a whole, in a truly American army. Only this force, he argued -- not bolstered French or British units -- could convince Germany that it was hopeless to fight on.
Pershing's often-criticized decision led to the beginning of the end of World War I -- and the beginning of the U.S. Army as it is known today. The United States started the war with 200,000 troops, including the National Guard as well as regulars. They were men principally trained to fight Indians and Mexicans. Just nineteen months later the Army had mobilized, trained, and equipped four million men and shipped two million of them to France. It was the greatest mobilization of military forces the New World had yet seen.
For the men it was a baptism of fire. Throughout Yanks Eisenhower focuses on the small but expert cadre of officers who directed our effort: not only Pershing, but also the men who would win their lasting fame in a later war -- MacArthur, Patton, and Marshall. But the author has mined diaries, memoirs, and after-action reports to resurrect as well the doughboys in the trenches, the unknown soldiers who made every advance possible and suffered most for every defeat. He brings vividly to life those men who achieved prominence as the AEF and its allies drove the Germans back into their homeland -- the irreverent diarist Maury Maverick, Charles W. Whittlesey and his famous "lost battalion," the colorful Colonel Ulysses Grant McAlexander, and Sergeant Alvin C. York, who became an instant celebrity by singlehandedly taking 132 Germans as prisoners.
From outposts in dusty, inglorious American backwaters to the final bloody drive across Europe, Yanks illuminates America's Great War as though for the first time. In the AEF, General John J. Pershing created the Army that would make ours the American age; in Yanks that Army has at last found a storyteller worthy of its deeds.
Sir John French had been appointed Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS) in March 1912 and was promoted Field Marshal in June 1913. Following the Curragh incident in March 1914 he was forced to resign, nevertheless when war broke out he was given command of the BEF; he was nearly sixty-two years of age. Critics have argued that French's military experience, ability, acumen and temperament showed he was unfitted for such a command. Certainly his moods swung like a pendulum from over-optimism to deepest gloom. He was convinced during the retreat from Mons that disaster was inevitable, to the point that Kitchener had to come out and stiffen his resolve. In May 1915 he sacked Smith-Dorrien, commanding Second Army, among other things for making a stand at Le Cateau, (26/27 August 1914) having previously commended him for his action (see Despatch dated 7 Sep 1914). Following the unsuccessful attack on Aubers Ridge in May 1915, as a means of bringing pressure to bear on the government he revealed details of what he held to be the scandal of ammunition shortages to the military correspondent of The Times, and the ensuing article played a significant part in the decision to form a coalition government. The failure of the Loos offensive, the culmination of a year of failures, was the final nail in the coffin, especially as there was a sharp disagreement between French and Haig (commanding First Army which fought the battle) about the former's handling of the reserve. French claimed in his despatch dated 15 Oct 1915 that he had put the 21st and 24th Divisions from GHQ reserve at Haig's disposal at 0930 25th September and the Guards Division on the morning of the 26th. Haig formally protested that these statements were incorrect, that these divisions did not come under his command till later than stated and he wished that fact to be placed on record. In December 1915 This book contains eight despatches. The first, dated 7th Sep covers the arrival of the BEF in France, the Battle of Mons and the retreat to 28th Aug. The second takes the story on to 10th Sep describing the Battle of the Marne and the advance to the Aisne. The next despatch deals with the Battle of the Aisne and, of especial interest to medallists, is accompanied by the complete list, by regiments, of all Mentioned in Despatches since the beginning of the war. Subsequent despatches cover 1st Ypres, the Winter Campaign, Neuve Chapelle, 2nd Ypres (German gas attack) and Loos with three more lists of MiD awards totalling some 360 pages.
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