Great War, Total War: Combat and Mobilization on the Western by Roger Chickering, Stig Förster

By Roger Chickering, Stig Förster

This quantity analyzes the 1st international conflict in gentle of the idea that of "total war," relatively the systematic erosion of the excellence among the army and civilian spheres. major students from Europe and North the US discover the efforts of infantrymen and statesmen, industrialists and financiers, pros and civilian activists to regulate to the immense, pervasive pressures that the army stalemate at the western entrance imposed on belligerent and impartial societies.

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The civilian populations, having escaped many of war's direct effects, were instead implicated by way of economic mobilization. States, including those that saw themselves as liberal and constitutionalist, defined themselves in terms of their capacity to wage war. The consequences were politically totalitarian as well as militarily total, and in the long run it would then encourage postwar military theorists to seek methods by which civilian populations could be rendered directly vulnerable once again.

Planning decisions at every level required commitments and projections, none of which envisaged four-and-a-half years of conflict. The move toward a systematic resolution of these problems was thus faltering, in keeping with the decentralized structure of the British industrial economy, and by the departmental fragmentation at the top of a government that had, in any event, traditionally eschewed systematic intervention in the economy. "22 Negotiations began at the level of the individual firms that populated the list of the basic suppliers, which burgeoned despite the anxieties and resistance of the War Office.

Once the walls were breached, the civilians were more likely to suffer than the soldiers - with their property looted and the women raped. The effects, as Moltke knew from Paris in 1870—1, could be literally revolutionary. Mobile warfare, however, put the focus on the field army It ensured that warfare was a matter for professionals only. The apparent truism that armies reflect the societies of which they are a part may in reality be a deception, at least for Europe from 1861 to 1914. Although for the most part conscripted, their ethos was professional and regular; they emphatically rejected the ideas of the nation in arms, of citizen armies and militias.

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