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German War Planning, 1891-1914: Sources and Interpretations (Warfare in History) Hardcover – 30 Nov 2004

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A most important contribution to the Schlieffen Plan debate. HISTORYDoes scholars a considerable service by making more widely accessible this occasionally forbidding but always thought-provoking body of material. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEWA very informative read. ARMCHAIR AUCTIONS

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Translations of key documents 18 Nov. 2013
By W. D ONEIL - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former professional war planner I feel a certain pang whenever I encounter someone who thinks war planning must be delightful imaginative fun. Imagined war can be entertaining to read about or watch on the screen, and real war is sometimes exciting to experience. But planning and directing war is grinding hard work, and any realistic account of the process is bound to seem pretty cheerless.

Nothing I know of the author of this volume, Terrence Zuber, suggests that he ever was a war plans professional, but he certainly knows a great deal about the grinding hard work of archival research, including research on war plans, his specialty. This book represents a generous sharing of the fruits of his labors, making a great volume of important German documents relating to Germany planning prior to 1914 conveniently available in English translation.

He doesn't say how it all came about. Surely it's not something anyone does for fun. Perhaps he had translated these for his own research and then decided to publish them. In any event, they should be very welcome for anyone who has a serious interest in their subject.

There's a lot packed into 300 pages. A summary by Helmuth Greiner (Reichsarchiv) of the evolution of the German intelligence estimates in the west up to the eve of the war. An extended summary of the documentary background to the Schlieffen Plan written by a Reichsarchiv historian, Wilhelm Dieckmann. Exercise summaries for five of Schlieffen's staff rides, as well as his great 1905 war game. The "Schlieffen Plan" memorandum itself. A summary of one of Moltke the Younger's staff rides. Four important high-level planning documents from 1914 that bear directly on the actual plans for war. Critical comments by Generalleutnant Wilhelm Groener on a Reichsarchiv working paper relating to the development of German war planning. Articles by Prof. Hans Delbrück criticizing German war planning generally, and the Schlieffen Plan (as he understood it). Article by Generalleutnant Hermann von Kuhl which was the first public discussion of the Schlieffen Plan and defended Kuhl's performance by blaming failings on Moltke's failure to follow it. Excerpt of book by Reichsarchiv historian Wolfgang Foerster defending the Schlieffen Plan. Excerpt from article by Groener on the Schlieffen Plan and another from his book on the subject. Article from a book by General der Infanterie Erich Ludendorff addressing the Schlieffen Plan. To get so much into the book Zuber prunes and compresses a great deal. Hopefully he's done this with discretion--I've seen nothing to indicate otherwise.

This is scarcely the place to begin a study of German war planning. But someone already familiar with its outlines will find a great deal of valuable material here.

As Zuber observes, this book largely complements Alfred Von Schlieffen's Military Writings (Military History and Policy).
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what you'd call a ripping great read... 17 Sept. 2013
By Jonathan Baum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You wouldn't think that a book about German war planning in the pre-World War I era could be a dull read, but there you have it. This book is a translation of a series of situation reports, staff ride summations and strategic estimates from the period when Schlieffen and Moltke the younger were the CGS and had to cope with the conundrums and difficulties of planning a 2-front war with an army that was of high quality but was outnumbered on both fronts. The book provides the documentary basis of Zuber's controversial "Inventing The Schlieffen Plan." It concludes with some post war commentaries on the pre-war planning by Delbruck and others. While I feel that I did learned a lot about the problems that confronted the war planners of this period, the book itself is a slog and not what you would call a fun read. Only to be read if you are truly and deeply concerned with the subject; you could skip right to Zuber's work mentioned above.
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