on 11 November 2001
Roger Chickering's book is essential reading for students of the war which, as Chickering points out, cast a shadow over Europe until the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989.
He shows that, for Germany, the failure of the opening offensive in France signalled a long war which, due to the British Navy's blockade, meant that shortages developed almost immediately, and attempts to cope with this situation led to layers of clumsy bureaucracy being imposed which fell hardest on the least well-off.
As the war continued, discontent grew, and with it support for the Social Democrats and their allies. The response of the military, with Ludendorff de facto in control, was to tighten controls. The political divide within Germany increased, and when Ludendorff realised the war could not be won, he was able to shift the blame for defeat onto his opponents, a fact which was fatally to undermine the chances of the Weimar Republic gaining long-term acceptance.
Thus, Chickering is able to show that the roots of Hitler's rise to power were much deeper than the recession of 1929.