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The World Crisis, 1911-1918 Paperback – Abridged, October 6, 2005
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"The World Crisis is at once an outstandingly readable history of the First World War -- the seminal drama of modern times -- and an eyewitness account, especially of its opening years. Whether as a statesman or an author, Churchill was a giant; and The World Crisis towers over most other books about the Great War."
-- David Fromkin, author of A Peace to End All Peace
"Winston Churchill's personality suffuses The World Crisis, not only in its arguments but also in its masterful prose. The book, however, aspires to be even more than that -- a general history of the war that shaped the twentieth century as well as the attitudes of one of the century's most powerful personalities."
-- Hew Strachan, author of The First World War
"In this remarkable work, Churchill, as a maker and a writer of history, explores the confusions and complexities of World War I, eerily foreshadowing the later global struggle he would fight alongside Franklin Roosevelt. In a new century, the book remains essential reading, as fresh and compelling as ever, for the central issue it addresses -- how a free people should chart their way through a world of conflicting interests -- is always with us."
-- Jon Meacham, bestselling author of Franklin and Winston
Churchill's history of The Great War reaches 1915 - the year of stalemate on the Western Front and the first uses of tank and gas warfare on the battlefield, as well as Churchill's own involvement in the Gallipoli campaign. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The Churchill explains in detail the strategic rational as well as the implementation of the Dardenelles campaign. Plenty of self justification of course. Whether the operation could have succeeded if things had been done differently cannot be known. But its failure had consequences which Churchill discusses. He doesn't have much to say about what the costs of failure and the benefits of not making the attempt. He covers the details of the failure. When the navy wanted to force the issue the army held back and vice versa, political on again off again delays, waiting for instruction from London etc. He doesn't say anything the root of these problems. Lack of an adequate chain of command, disunity of command-the Navy and Army fought as if they were independent allies and lack of military professionalism-poor and nonexistent staff work. The history of the tank is more pleasant as Churchill can be justly proud to forcing it through the hidebound army bureaucracy.
In this book he describes the strategy and actions of the First World way using the turn of phrase and flair for the King's English in a way that only Churchill can.
This is one of the definitive books on the First World War written by one of the politicians-and soldiers of the conflict.
By; Winston S. Churchill
This book contains 840 small print pages. It, of course, is well written as only Churchill could do. Trying to absorb the contents and avoiding eye strain, it took over one month to finish reading. It was recommended reading by Marc Johnson, one of my favorite lecturers in my OLLI classes. It covers the years leading up to the First World War and the war years until it ended at the 11th hour of the11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
The difference between this conflict and the Second World War is that in the 1940’s significant advances had been achieved in the weaponry which was not available. Airplanes were mostly of the observation type and tanks were not introduced until the war was in its final stages. This was a brute force, savage waste of manpower, with one side or the other sending thousands across desolate landscape and being killed my machine guns, artillery and poison gas. All told over 20,000,000 casualties, either on the ground or in the sea. An incredible wastage of an entire generation of all countries involved.
In the years leading to the war Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty. His responsibility was to assure the British fleet was superior to that of Germany. In that he was eminently successful. The last years he became the Minister of Munitions with responsibility for supplying all necessary to support the military.
It is not my intent to record the events of these years, only a serious reading can accomplish that. This is not the first time I have read about this war but it was the most thorough. As one battle blends into another the sickening waste of lives is all pervasive. The Germans, until the end, had a favorable advantage in casualties of two to one. One short sentence by a German soldier says it all. He kept his machine gun sweeping the field cutting down scores of men. Wasting the lives so frivolously is a violation of the word civilization.
Jack B. Walters
May 14, 2016