5 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Terrific defense of the Reich, beating back the British Hun
, 30 Jun. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Pity of War (Hardcover)
There were no real "good guys" or "bad guys" in the Great War, but more than any other country, Germany is demonized for its role in starting the war, and among far too many uneducated American "patriots" is the notion that Britain and France heroically "beat back the HUN," some megalomaniacal beast that had consumed much of Europe and sought world domination. At least, in the past several years, many people have recognized that the Germans were in no way the monsters that they were initially made out to be, yet the Kaiser and the German war effort continue to be classified as destructive forces. This book is an excellently written revision of these misguided notions, and one the demands the attentions of any serious student of the great war.
I submit that, rather than Germany being the nightmarish state that it would later become in 1933, Germany was a nation plagued by the greatst conceivable historical calamities, and, once it had finally become a world power in 1870, sought merely (at least at first) to take an equal role with its European neighbors in wolrd governance, to find its place in the sun. Furthermore, Germany was by no means the most aggressively imperialistic nation of Europe, and did not proceed to annex what was left of the uncolonized third world to the extent that Britain and France did in the 1890s. So who can we point to as the true agressors in the Great War. Surely, it must be Britain. While many believe that Germany severed its friendship with Britain by building a grand navy, the truth is that Britains navy was far larger and more powerful than the German navy, and the British Empire always remained many times larger than the German Empire. Realistically, the British had nothing to fear from German naval ambitions. And when it became clear to the German High Command that war with both France and Russia was inevitable, Germany acitvely sought some sort of agreement with Britain. To be sure, this was masked by one German show of force after another, but what Germany wanted and needed more than anything else was the friendship of the British. The potential benefits of a German-British Alliance are too numerous to recount here, but suffice it to say that such an alliance would surely have brought enough glory and power to the British Empire to sustain for several centuries, to say nothing of the benefits for Germany. Yet Britain chose the ruinous path of strife with Germany, and although the British eventually succeeded in destroying the Reich (and thereby destroying the strongest land power on earth, a perfect counterbalace for British naval supremacy), the result of the Great War was the effective end of European imperialism and global domination. Furthemore, the bitterness of the post war years resulting from the Versailles peace brought about WWII, and the de facto end of the British Empire. Thus, Britain fought the Great War on the side of anti-imperialist forces, including British imperialism. If it can be any consolation to the Germans whose Empire was shattered and for whom the Great War was an unfathomable and undigestible loss, at least the British betrayal ruined "Britannia" as well as the Fatherland.
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