The Royal Navy and the German Threat 1901-1914: Admiralty Plans to Protect British Trade in a War Against Germany
Nearly a century has passed since the outbreak of World War I, yet as military historian Hew Strachan argues in this brilliant and authoritative new book, the legacy of the “war to end all wars” is with us still. The First World War was a truly global conflict from the start, with many of the most decisive battles fought in or directly affecting the Balkans, Africa, and the Ottoman Empire. Even more than World War II, the First World War continues to shape the politics and international relations of our world, especially in hot spots like the Middle East and the Balkans.
Strachan has done a masterful job of reexamining the causes, the major campaigns, and the consequences of the First World War, compressing a lifetime of knowledge into a single definitive volume tailored for the general reader. Written in crisp, compelling prose and enlivened with extraordinarily vivid photographs and detailed maps, The First World War re-creates this world-altering conflict both on and off the battlefield—the clash of ideologies between the colonial powers at the center of the war, the social and economic unrest that swept Europe both before and after, the military strategies employed with stunning success and tragic failure in the various theaters of war, the terms of peace and why it didn’t last.
Drawing on material culled from many countries, Strachan offers a fresh, clear-sighted perspective on how the war not only redrew the map of the world but also set in motion the most dangerous conflicts of today. Deeply learned, powerfully written, and soon to be released with a new introduction that commemorates the hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the war, The First World War remains a landmark of contemporary history.
An objective and enthralling account of the sinking of the Lusitania, which unravels many of the myths and, for the first time, explains the true significance of that terrible disaster.The saga of the Lusitania is one of the most remarkable in the annals of maritime history. State-of-the-art when she went into service and the first express liner to be equipped with steam turbines, she outclassed all her rivals. She triumphantly restored British supremacy on the North Atlantic passenger routes and became an acknowledged commercial success; she was highly popular with her regular passengers. Her sinking in May 1915 by a German U-boat, with heavy loss of life, was at that time the most savage attack on civilians in the course of war, and was widely denounced in allied and neutral countries. From that day her loss has become encrusted with legends (including conspiracy theories), many of them created by German propaganda. In this new book David Ramsay has unraveled those myths and legends and tells a clear and compelling saga of terrible maritime disaster and clashes among three powerful nations. It is a story of potentates and presidents, ambassadors and ministers of state, bankers, shipping magnates, spies, and, not least, Captain William Turner, who had to defend himself against charges of incompetence and fight for his reputation. Based on detailed research, this new book almost certainly contains the most objective account of the history of the liner and the circumstances surrounding her sinking. The sinking of Lusitania, which took a mere eighteen minutes, led to a loss of life comparable with the Titanic disaster, and the ramifications were felt across Europe and America; this masterly telling of the story will intrigue the general reader as much as it does the historian and enthusiast.
The struggle between the primacy of international law and military expediency lasted for nearly two years, as the British tried to reconcile their pre-war stance as champion of neutral rights with measures necessary for a successful blockade. Not until 1916 did the operation have the potential to be a decisive factor in the defeat of Germany, when pressure from France, the Royal Navy, Parliament, British popular opinion, and the Admiralty forced the British government to abandon its defence of neutral rights over the interests of the state.
The arrival of the United States as an ally in April 1917 initiated the final evolution of the blockade. The Entente and the United States tightened the blockade with crushing effect on Germany, and by November 1918, it was evidently one of the chief factors behind the victory. This knowledge reinforced the decision to retain the blockade in the months following the armistice in order to force favourable terms from Germany. In both the war and in the peace, the economic blockade performed a critical role in World War I.
Abandoning American Neutrality: Woodrow Wilson and the Beginning of the Great War, August 1914 – December 1915
During the first twelve months of World War I President Woodrow Wilson had a sincere desire to maintain American neutrality. The president, however, soon found this position unsustainable. As Wilson sought to mediate an end to the European conflict he realized that the war presented an irresistible opportunity to strengthen the US economy though expanded trade with the Allies. As this carefully argued study shows, the contradiction between Wilson's idealistic and pragmatic aims ultimately drove him to abandon neutrality in late 1915 - helping to pave the way for America's entrance into the war.