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The German High Command At War: Hindenburg and Ludendorff and the First World War Paperback – 3 Nov 1994

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (3 Nov. 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751510386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751510386
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 4.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 189,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Robert Asprey is a former US Marine Corps captain who served in World War 2 and Korea. A Fulbright Scholar, he is a veteran of military history, internationally respected.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which I found to easily move from the minutiae of great detail to the broad brush strokes of sometimes crushing characterisation. Difficult to read in long sittings due to its intensity, would be my only criticism - this is a read on holiday, not read on the train type book. It is interesting to contrast the characterisation with David Sinclair's "Hall of Mirrors" (more respectful), Robert Massie's "Dreadnought" (more sympathetic on a human level) or John Keegan's "First World War" (less cutting, more "objective"). The impression given is that the two are war-mongers. Whether they had more blood on their hands than the politicians of the age is of course a good question. This book suggests they were much more than misguided patriots, but authority usurpers who wanted nothing less than to takeover the reich. I suspect the pursuit of the war led them to demand (and take) more power, rather than that being their central objective. I would be very interesting in other's opinions of the harshness of the charges laid against the two.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent book giving an great insight into what was going on in Germany during the war. Well written and fascinating insight into German (Prussian) military leadership. You can only end up feeling bitterly sorry for Germany and her people that they were led by such flawed characters.
As a Brit, my only complaint is that from reading it you might think that it was the US that won the war - with admittedly a bit of help from France.
A definite read for anyone who is interested in WW1 and wants to see things 'from the other side'.
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Format: Paperback
I read, and agreed, with "Reader from London's" review of this book.
More recently I have read and reviewed, Roger Chickering's "Imperial Germany and the Great War 1914-1918" which very much supports the contention that Ludendorff was to all intents and purposes a sort of military dictator, until his nerve cracked after the failures of 1918 offensives.
The meeting with the Kaiser on 29th September 1918 gave Ludendorff the opportunity, as both Chickering and Asprey show, to support a consitutional monarchy under which the Social Democrats would take the blame for defeat.
The seeds of Adolf Hitler's rise to power were born on that day.
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Format: Paperback
Very very poor condition even for a 2nd Hand book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars The devil is in the details 18 May 2015
By LD - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Asprey focuses on the planning for individual battles. He discusses the actions of individual commanders as well as the desires of the High Command. These were sometimes very different due to delay in communications or attempts by the local commander to exploit a situation. In the end there are a lot of missed opportunities but its hard to criticize when so many plans were unrealistic or the enemy failed to react in the expected manner.

There are basic maps that show the battles discussed and they are very helpful. Those for the Russian front are very informative as that is rarely detailed by most historians. Yet it was the stumbling victories of Ludendorff and the ineptness of the Russian command and army that led to his promotion to command the Western front. Asprey is very vocal in his criticism of Ludendorff.

The book makes clear that while the Germans had a plan for the war, but they underestimated the rapid Russian deployment, Belgian resistance, and the uselessness of their navy. Falkenhayn’s blunt appreciation brought home the inescapable fact that, once the Schlieffen plan had failed, once a quick victory had been denied, the German and Austro-Hungarian empires lacked a cohesive plan for continuing the war. The unpalatable situation has to be looked at from two viewpoints, civil and military, then as now in often self-defeating conflict.

The stalemate was broken by the starvation of Germany at home (primarily the British blockade). This led German leaders to grasping at Wilson’s 14 Points (not agreed to by the British and French) as a legitimate offer to just cancel the war. Only Austria was defeated on the battlefield. France was close to it.
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