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Germany's aims in the First World War Hardcover – 1 Jan 1967

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 652 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (1967)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0000CNMYH
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 16.5 x 4.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 780,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

A scholarly interpretation of Germany's policies and attitudes during the first World War and their profound effect on subsequent world events. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Fischer is an assistant professor of history and history education at the University of Colorado.

Hajo Holborn was Sterling Professor of History at Yale University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fischer's work is considered by many to be the finest in German historiography since 1945. Fischer provides a clear description of the evolution of German war aims in the period 1914-1918 and should disabuse anyone of the notion that Imperial Germany would have treated the Allies with any leniency should the Kaiser have emerged victorious in 1918.

Fischer should, ideally, be read in conjunction with another post-1945 German clasic - Sebastian Haffner's 'Von Bismarck zu Hitler' which has yet to be translated into English. Haffner gives also a clear depiction of the lack of proportion in German strategic and geopolitical planning in the same era.

An historical milestone.
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Format: Paperback
This is a controversial book from the 1960s that described Germany's war aims in World War 1 as expansive and imperialist in nature. The stress is on territorial aims, which included relations with the ports of the Low countries in the West, expansion into territories that were until recently under Soviet influence in the East and the idea of Mittelafrika (middle Africa) under which German colonies in East and West Africa (Tanzania, Cameroon, Namibia) would be united by takeover of the Belgian Congo and neighboring countries. The result is to present Germany's foreign policy as outside international norms in its expansionism.

This gave rise to a controversy that should probably be studied by anyone wanting a balanced view of the subject. It was the spirit of the times that the book itself made it into English and its views were widely accepted, prior to scholarly attention moving to World War 2. German domestic politics are also not addressed in the book save as they impinge on foreign policy. It gives an insight into German war aims, but possibly confuses speculative plans when victory was hoped for with actual negotiations. On the whole I found it readable and absorbing. The very scope of the thinking sometimes seems to belong to a bygone age of European ambitions.
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No-body just stumbled into The Great War and Fritz Fischer's book explains as clearly as anybody can why not. Highly recommended for historians, amateur and professional alike.
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Fritz Fischer's 1961 masterpiece is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important history books of the twentieth century. Fischer was the first historian to examine the Imperial German government archives in their entirety and from the documents he found there he concluded that Germany had deliberately instigated the First World War in an attempt to become both the dominant continental power in Europe and a global power to rival Great Britain and the United States. His theory that Germany was responsible for the First World War became known as "The Fischer Thesis". More controversially, Fischer's findings clearly showed that there was a definite continuity in German foreign policy from 1871-1945 and thus implied that Germany was responsible for *both* world wars. Fischer's discovery of Imperial German government documents advocating as a war aim the ethnic cleansing of Russian Poland and subsequent German colonization of the east led many to argue that similar schemes pursued by the Nazis in World War II were not due solely to Adolf Hitler's crack-pot ideas but rather reflected widely held German aspirations that long pre-dated the Fuhrer.

This brick of a book, an English translation of the German original, Griff nach der Weltmacht: Die Kriegszielpolitik des kaiserlichen Deutschland 1914/18, certainly isn't an easy read and it took me a few weeks to plough through it.
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Not an easy book to read but, nevertheless, a veritable mine of information. The world would have been a vastly different place had the Central poweers won the war. Mr.Paul Keeting please note.
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Fischer's work is very controversial, but was instrumental [my opinion] in making historiography a less "dusty" academic sphere of study. Along with Taylor's writings it has enabled historians to become less blinkered and enabled them to see the point of view of an argument from all sides and not accept the fashionable view of a subject.
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