Imperial Germany and War, 1871-1918
Daniel J. Hughes and Richard L. DiNardo
An in-depth, finely detailed portrait of the German Army from its greatest victory in 1871 to its final collapse in 1918, this volume offers the most comprehensive account ever given of one of the critical pillars of the German Empire—and a chief architect of the military and political realities of late nineteenth-century Europe.
Written by two of the world’s leading authorities on the subject, Imperial Germany and War, 1871–1918 examines the most essential components of the imperial German military system, with an emphasis on such foundational areas as theory, doctrine, institutional structures, training, and the officer corps. In the period between 1871 and 1918, rapid technological development demanded considerable adaptation and change in military doctrine and planning. Consequently, the authors focus on theory and practice leading up to World War I and upon the variety of adaptations that became necessary as the war progressed—with unique insights into military theorists from Clausewitz to Moltke the Elder, Moltke the Younger, Schlichting, and Schlieffen. Ranging over the entire history of the German Empire, Imperial Germany and War, 1871–1918 presents a picture of unprecedented scope and depth of one of the most widely studied, criticized, and imitated organizations in the modern world. The book will prove indispensable to an understanding of the Imperial German Army.
“Hughes and DiNardo provide a fine-grain portrait of the Imperial German Army from its greatest victory in 1871 to its final collapse in 1918. Written by two of the scholarly world’s leading authorities, it offers in-depth research into the German sources, judicious verdicts on men and events, and a breadth of vision greater than any previous work. It is an indispensable book that will dominate the narrative on the German Army for decades.”
—Robert M. Citino, author of The Wehrmacht’s Last Stand: The German Campaigns of 1944–1945
“Few institutions were more important to European history between 1871 and 1918 than the German army. This study provides a detailed analysis of how it responded to the rapid societal and political changes around it. No student of this period of Germany will want to miss it.”
—Michael S. Neiberg, author of Dance of the Furies: Europe and the Outbreak of World War I
“The Prussian/German army failed its ultimate test: preparing for and waging the Great War of 1914–1918. This major contribution to institutional military history convincingly establishes that failure as the consequence of a fundamental and enduring tension between efforts to adjust to the requirements of mass-industrial warfare and pressures seeking to limit the consequences of the French and Marxist revolutions. Essential for all students of the subject.”
—Dennis Showalter, author of Instrument of War: The German Army 1914–1918
“A formal people, the Germans were disastrously informal about war. Clausewitz set the tone with his emphasis on friction, human error, and improvised genius. That strand connected Moltke the Elder’s unorthodox invasions of Austria and France with the thrusting, decentralized combat of generals given a broad mission and the flexibility to accomplish it by Schlieffen and his successors. Ultimately this can-do attitude was the Prussian-German army’s ‘secret sauce.’ It defeated bureaucracy and ensured rapid action yet—as Hughes and DiNardo reveal in this splendid, lucid work—it made German leaders dismissive of policy, grand strategy, and their iron constraints. A Germany dominated by the uniformed military came to view battle as the solution to every problem, ensuring Germany’s defeat in 1918.”
—Geoffrey Wawro, author of A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg EmpireSee fewer reviews...