From the acclaimed military historian, a new history of the
outbreak of World War I—from the breakdown of diplomacy to the dramatic battles
that occurred before the war bogged down in the trenches
World War I immediately evokes images of the trenches—grinding, halting battles that sacrificed millions of lives for no territory or
visible gain. Yet the first months of the war, from the German invasion of
Belgium to the Marne to Ypres, were utterly different—full of advances and
retreats, tactical maneuvering, and significant gains and losses. In Catastrophe 1914, Max Hastings re-creates
this dramatic year, from the diplomatic crisis to the fighting in Belgium and
France on the western front and Serbia and Galicia to the east. He gives vivid
accounts of the battles and frank assessments of generals and political
leaders, and shows why it was inevitable that this first war among modern
industrial nations could not produce a decisive victory, resulting in a war of
attrition. Throughout we encounter high officials and average soldiers, as well
as civilians on the home front, giving us a vivid portrait of how a continent
became embroiled in a war that would change everything.
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