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The Sudden End to the First World War



HUNDRED DAYS (2014) by Nick Lloyd.

The book is a discussion of the final campaign of the first world war, the months that brought a surprisingly quick end to the mud-drenched trench warfare standstill that had defined the western front for years.

There are a lot of reasons why the war ended when it did. One reason: German troops were famished. The blockade was effective -- civilians of course were suffering most but Germany had lost the ability even to keep its troops decently fed.

Another reason -- the leadership at the top demanded rigidity in military tactics and strategy even when it was getting sound advice that flexibility was the urgent necessity of the day. And that is the gist of the quote I want to share. Here it is.

In the summer of 1918, "Crown Prince Wilhelm reported to [high command] that the front should be immediately withdrawn to the so-called Antwerp-Meuse position, which lay far behind the Hindenburg Line. This would give ... troops a breathing space, shoirten the front considerably, and free precious reserves. These concerns were eminently sensible and a valuable recognition of Germany's dangerously exposed position in the west, having gained large amounts of territory that was difficult to defend and strategically useless, but they would not be received well by the men who ran the German war effort: the Kaiser ... the Chief of the General Staff, Paul von Hiundenburg; and his right-hand man, General Erich von Ludendorff."

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