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German military thinkers before the Great War. The writings of Carl von Clausewitz loom so large in the annals of military theory that they obscure the substantial contributions of those thinkers who came after him. This is especially true for those German theorists who wrote during the half century preceding First World War However, as Antulio Echevarria argues, although none of those thinkers approached Clausewitz's stature, they were nonetheless theorists of considerable vision. The Kaiser's theorists have long been portrayed as narrow-minded thinkers wedded to an outmoded way of war, little altered since Napoleon's time. According to this view, they ignored or simply failed to understand how industrialisation and modernisation had transformed the conduct of war. They seemed unaware of how numerous advances in technology and weaponry had so increased the power of the defensive that decisive victory had become virtually impossible. But Echevarria disputes this traditional view and convincingly shows that these theorists--Boguslawski, Goltz, Schlieffen, Hoenig, and their American and European counterparts--were not the architects of outmoded theories. In fact, they duly appreciated the implications of the vast advances in modern weaponry (as well as in transportation and communications) and set about finding solutions that would restore offensive maneuver to the battlefield. Among other things, they underscored the emerging need for synchronizing concentrated firepower with rapid troop movements, as well as the need for a decentralised command scheme in order to cope with the greater tempo, lethality, and scope of modern warfare. In effect, they redefined the essential relations among the combined arms of infantry, artillery, and cavalry. Echevarria goes on to suggest that attempts to apply new military theories and doctrine were uneven due to deficiencies in training and an overall lack of interest in theory among younger officers. It is this failure of application, more than the theories themselves, that are responsible for the ruinous slaughter of World War I "A tour de force. Compels the reader to rethink long-cherished notions about the 'German way of war.'" -Holger Herwig, author of The Outbreak of World War I "Demolishes the conventional view that Germany's and Europe's soldiers of the period willfully and culpably ignored material and intellectual developments in the craft of war." - Dennis Showalter, author of Tannenberg: Clash of Empires "A major addition to the history of military theory and doctrine in the Twentieth Century and a must read for those interested in German history, World War I, and military thought." -James Corum, author of The Roots of Blitzkrieg and The Luftwaffe "An indispensable work, not only for experts on the Prussian-German army, but also for scholars working in the general field of military affairs." - Arden Bucholz, author of Moltke and the German Wars, 1864–1871.

  • AUTHOR: Echevarria, A
  • FORMAT: 346pp 235x155 Hb
  • Code: 26129

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