The victorious, all-powerful Allies of 1919, by founding the League of Nations with its prospects of open diplomacy and its machinery for negotiation, hoped to set up new standards of behaviour between sovereign states and eliminated war as a method of settling disputes. How were these good intentions thwarted? Why did a second catastrophe engulf Europe in 1939?
Mr Somervell ranges widely over world events of the inter-war years in his search for answers to these questions. He shows how in most countries democracy, that form of Government which the creators of the Versailles Treaty fervently hoped to secure in the world, seldom imposed a rational will on its statesmen; on the contrary, public opinion inclined to the extremes of apathy and hysteria. He also demonstrates how the discoverers of misapplied science offered tempting new weapons to fanatical dictators avid for world power.
We have just lived through the war that resulted from that epoch of muddle and drift; now is the moment for us to examine it critically as a chapter of history. Mr Somervill offers us valuable help in his detached and lucid survey.
Smith braved malaria and dengue fever in the Philippines, sailed through the backwaters of post-Manchu China, and fought in the earliest banana wars in Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. After World War I, he was the first Marine to attend the General Staff College at Langres, and from then on became am important member of 4th Marine Brigade Staff, and later on the staff of the army's I Corps. Here, he learned that war in the new century would be as much about planning, logistics, communications, and intelligence as it was about brute force. Upon his return to the United States, he attended both the Naval War College and the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. By 1940, he commanded the First Marine Division. His deliberately explosive behavior, however, would ultimately push him out of the circle of legendary World War II leaders.
Of interest to both students and nonexperts, the work tells the stories of soldiers who suffered in the trenches, U-boat and anti-U-boat personnel, German Americans in the United States, and women activists like Florence Jaffrey Harriman. Through the perspectives of commanders, captives, civilians, and social workers, readers will learn why British soldiers in the Netherlands were called "maiden robbers," how the YMCA set up huts to care for prisoners in POW camps, and how efforts to entertain U.S. troops led to the the largest theatrical enterprise in history.