General Headquarters 1914-1916 and Its Critical Decisions

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Naval & Military Press Limited, 2005 - 309 pages
General Erich von Falkenhayn was Prussian Minister of War at the outbreak of the Great War, and was appointed to succeed Von Moltke as Chief of the General Staff - and hence Germany s effective Commander-in-Chief - after the latter s failure at the Battle of the Marne. Falkenhayn was at Germany s military helm during the crucial middle period of the war, the two years from September 1914 to September 1916, when he was replaced by those terrible twins, Hindenburg and Ludendorff, who presided over Germany s fate in 1917-18. Falkenhayn s memoirs, therefore, published in the immediate aftermath of the war in 1919, are one of the most important accounts from the German side. The remote and rather cold Falkenhayn will always be associated with the appalling Battle of Verdun, since it was his scheme for a battle of attrition to knock France out of the war, Operation Gericht , which went into effect in February 1916 and which ground to a halt in October of that year, just after Falkenhayn had been replaced. He was then transferred to the eastern front where he successfully commanded operations against the Russians. This book, however, covers only his period of command at GHQ, opening with the battles of the Yser, the First battle of Ypres, the beginning of trench warfare and the battle of Lodz in Poland. In 1915 it covers the German breakthrough in the east at Gorlice-Tarnow; Germany s controversial decision to begin unrestricted submarine warfare; Allied attempts to break through in the west in the autumn of 1915; and finally the battles of Verdun and the Somme in 1916. This book is a vital insight into the thinking behind German strategy in the watershed middle years of the war. Illustrated with 11 maps.

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