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Enduring the Great War: Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914-1918

(Cambridge Military Histories)

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  4 reviews
This book is an innovative comparative history of how German and British soldiers endured the horror of the First World War. Unlike existing literature, which emphasises the strength of societies or military institutions, this study argues that at the heart of armies' robustness lay natural human resilience. Drawing widely on contemporary letters and diaries of British and ...more
Paperback, 308 pages
Published November 12th 2009 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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Fidellithy
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very interesting comparative argument for the defeat of the German army - Watson attributes much agency to the individual's psyche rather than the coercion of institutions. I enjoyed the use of letters, diaries and psychiatric reports as main primary sources in contrast to the usual emphasis on the quantitative and official records. I first found out about this book through the New Books in Military History podcast, where Watson talks about how he had only been learning German for a few months ...more
Colin
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a thoroughly researched and informative analysis of the British and German forces on the Western Front. It addresses three questions: why they fought for so long; how they coped; and why did they stop fighting. The book draws extensively on primary sources such as letters, diaries, and medical reports.
T. Fowler
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is a detailed analysis of how the British and German armies managed to continue to be effective in combat throughout the first years of the First World War, and why the German armies collapsed in the final months. Watson digs deeply into primary sources, particularly many German archives where he does an excellent job of gathering together relevant personal letters, army directives, unit reports, etc. He is very thorough in building up his arguments, but this makes the reading a little ...more
Jur
Mar 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwi, own
Looking at the motivations of soldiers, their coping strategies and the role of junior officers. Very promising!
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Alexander Watson is Professor of History at Goldsmiths, University of London, in the UK. I specialise in the history of the First World War, especially in Central Europe and on the Eastern Front. My books have won some prestigious prizes, and my latest, Ring of Steel, was the 'Sunday Times History Book of the Year' for 2014.

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