Victory 1918

| March 13, 2014

cover

Victory 1918

Almost a century after the battles of the First World War ended, their consequences remain imprinted on the political maps of Europe and much of the Middle East.

Did events justify Lloyd George’s claim in 1914 that the Kaiser could fall `by knocking away the props’; isolating Germany by defeating her partners?

When Italy joined the Allies who was propping up whom?

Were sideshows in the Balkans, Iraq and Palestine integral to the war’s general strategy, or were they simply old imperial rivalries resumed by other means?

A hundred years on, that moment in November 1918 when the fighting ceased on the Western Front is still remembered across nations: that symbolic eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

‘Victory 1918’ examines the background to the Allied triumph and its aftermath. Might the Armistice in the forest of Compiegne have come sooner? Did American intervention have won the war and compromised the peace? How near did Germany come to denouncing the Armistice and resuming fighting in 1919?

But ‘Victory 1918’ is not only concerned with what happened in France and Flanders. There were four armistices that autumn. The Great War was a global conflict, with battlefronts on three continents. Retracing the path to Compiegne through the four-year struggle allows the reader to consider if a broader strategic vision might have brought an earlier victory.

‘Victory 1918’ is a masterful survey of one of history’s great turning points, and offers a fresh interpretation of the war which, more than any other, determined the character of the twentieth century.

‘Palmer’s style is as good as his judgement is daring’ – The Times

ALAN PALMER was Head of the History Department at Highgate School from 1953 to 1969, when he gave up his post to concentrate on historical writing and research. He has written some thirty narrative histories, historical reference books or biographies. In 1980 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent publisher of digital books.Images of World War I are usually dominated by the spectacle of romantic youth being mercilessly ground up in the mud of Ypres and the Somme. Even histories of the Great War tend to focus on the Western Front with, perhaps, a look at the massive battles on the Russian Front while declaring the Middle Eastern, African, and Balkan theaters to be mere “sideshows.” Distinguished historian Alan Palmer revises this received wisdom in his excellent book Victory 1918.

Historians have usually argued that the German Army exhausted itself in its final gambit, a titanic push toward Paris in the late months of 1918. Palmer disagrees, contending that Allied offensives in Italy, Greece, Mesopotamia, and France kicked the props out from under the German Empire in the early months of the war’s final year. A comprehensive survey of Allied military and diplomatic actions throughout the war, Victory 1918 reveals many global issues that weighed on the minds of British and French war planners. For instance, Field Marshal Earl Kitchner, England’s colonial enforcer, squelched a possible jihad throughout India, the Middle East, and Africa by appealing to Mecca’s spiritually powerful Sherif Hussein in 1914. This diplomatic coup severely reduced the impact of Sultan Mehmed V’s call to arms from Constantinople, meaning Britain could then field more divisions in Flanders. Lucid and entertaining, Victory 1918 is a fresh portrait of a conflict that established the political and military contours of the 20th century. –James HighfillAlmost a century after the battles of the First World War ended, their consequences remain imprinted on the political maps of Europe and much of the Middle East.

Did events justify Lloyd George’s claim in 1914 that the Kaiser could fall `by knocking away the props’; isolating Germany by defeating her partners?

When Italy joined the Allies who was propping up whom?

Were sideshows in the Balkans, Iraq and Palestine integral to the war’s general strategy, or were they simply old imperial rivalries resumed by other means?

A hundred years on, that moment in November 1918 when the fighting ceased on the Western Front is still remembered across nations: that symbolic eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

‘Victory 1918’ examines the background to the Allied triumph and its aftermath. Might the Armistice in the forest of Compiegne have come sooner? Did American intervention have won the war and compromised the peace? How near did Germany come to denouncing the Armistice and resuming fighting in 1919?

But ‘Victory 1918’ is not only concerned with what happened in France and Flanders. There were four armistices that autumn. The Great War was a global conflict, with battlefronts on three continents. Retracing the path to Compiegne through the four-year struggle allows the reader to consider if a broader strategic vision might have brought an earlier victory.

‘Victory 1918’ is a masterful survey of one of history’s great turning points, and offers a fresh interpretation of the war which, more than any other, determined the character of the twentieth century.

‘Palmer’s style is as good as his judgement is daring’ – The Times

ALAN PALMER was Head of the History Department at Highgate School from 1953 to 1969, when he gave up his post to concentrate on historical writing and research. He has written some thirty narrative histories, historical reference books or biographies. In 1980 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Endeavour Press is the UK’s leading independent publisher of digital books.

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