A study of war, vol.1 by Quincy Wright

By Quincy Wright

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Does not seem to understand arithmetic. Represented by Sir Henry Wilson’s fantastic memorandum. Obsessed with the North-West Frontier of India. Impossibility of trusting.  Lloyd George’s Memoirs fanned the flames of bitter controversy. Although Haig’s supporters, including two generals, Maurice and Gwynn, rallied to his defence, most reviewers favoured the former prime minister’s interpretation.  At the outset I mentioned Correlli Barnett’s charge that the anti-war literature of the late s had fatally undermined British confidence in the national achievement in the First World War, thereby contributing to a reluctance to rearm when confronted by the Nazi threat in the s, and leading ultimately to the ‘collapse of British power’.

The latter has five closely printed columns of entries in the index, nearly all of them uncomplimentary to say the least. Here is a sample: His reputation founded on cavalry exploits. Insists on premature use of tanks. His refusal to face unpleasant facts. His limited vision. Viciously resists Lloyd George’s attempts to get Unity of Command. His stubborn mind transfixed on the Somme. Prefers to gamble with men’s lives rather than to admit an error. Completely ignorant of the state of ground at Passchendaele.

The film was an immediate hit in New York, London and Paris. It was widely labelled ‘the greatest of all war films’, as demonstrating the madness of war and the futility of patriotism and materialism.  In Britain, however, it should be remembered that, throughout the inter-war period, as Michael Paris has shown, ‘films which portrayed the War in traditional and patriotic terms far outnumbered those that raised even some ambiguously phrased doubts about whether such sacrifice could ever be justified’.

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