US Entry into WWI

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MG1918
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US Entry into WWI

Post by MG1918 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:20 pm

Hopefully not too sensitive, and I think I am reasonably knowledgable on British/Commonwealth WWI Battle history, but, I have read somewhere that some US Commanders after WWI were legally prosecuted for their unnecessary combat actions towards the end of the war. Is this correct or just an 'old wives tale'?

I know there is much written about some US unwillingness to learn from previous Allied mistakes, thus costing many US casualties, but I am trying to learn about the ''last minute efforts for glory' - Did this really happen?

Mark
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by Gustaf » Sun Aug 02, 2015 12:09 am

My understanding was that nearly every artilleryman wanted to be the one to fire that last shot of the war, and a great number of cannons were fired a 10:59, and that there were places where pushes were made to gain better positions. You have to remember the war did not end for another 6 months. The Armistice was only a cease fire and there was no guarantee that it would hold.
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by joerookery » Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:01 am

Image
November 11, 1918. The final hours pulsate with tension as every man in the trenches hopes to escape the melancholy distinction of being the last to die in World War I. The Allied generals knew the fighting would end precisely at 11:00 A.M, yet in the final hours they flung men against an already beaten Germany. The result? Eleven thousand casualties suffered–more than during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. Why? Allied commanders wanted to punish the enemy to the very last moment and career officers saw a fast-fading chance for glory and promotion.

Joseph E. Persico puts the reader in the trenches with the forgotten and the famous–among the latter, Corporal Adolf Hitler, Captain Harry Truman, and Colonels Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. Mainly, he follows ordinary soldiers’ lives, illuminating their fate as the end approaches. Persico sets the last day of the war in historic context with a gripping reprise of all that led up to it, from the 1914 assassination of the Austrian archduke, Franz Ferdinand, which ignited the war, to the raw racism black doughboys endured except when ordered to advance and die in the war’s last hour. Persico recounts the war’s bloody climax in a cinematic style that evokes All Quiet on the Western Front, Grand Illusion, and Paths of Glory.

The pointless fighting on the last day of the war is the perfect metaphor for the four years that preceded it, years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes. This book is sure to become the definitive history of the end of a conflict Winston Churchill called “the hardest, cruelest, and least-rewarded of all the wars that have been fought.”
http://www.amazon.com/Eleventh-Month-Da ... orld+War+I" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have not read it. However, I think the questions you seek are addressed here.
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
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answers - and these can never be fixed.

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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by MG1918 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:37 pm

Thank you. this initially seemed like a good balanced book until I read "years of senseless slaughter for hollow purposes". The originator of these comments clearly has no idea nor proper awareness of the situation 'at that time'. Too many people criticise decisions made in both world wars yet had they not occurred, would we be talking now?
Anyway back to the point. Thanks for the pointers and perhaps it will confirm or deny that some US Commanders were disciplined or punished, for combat in the last moments, that was motivated for non-combat reasons.
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by joerookery » Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:49 pm

Sometimes publishers put in little snippets that the authors don't even know about. All that is said to help sales.
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by MG1918 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 1:41 am

Sir I am sure you are right but even schools, in many countries, continue to distort the facts or are even 'economical' and 'selective' with what they teach. This reinforces error, which as we know was a theme in WWI, but one we only know with comfortable hindsight.

I would imagine this British chap, along with thousands and thousands of others like him, would be pretty unhappy if people today thought it was all for nothing.
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by joerookery » Sat Aug 08, 2015 7:45 am

Those who speak only English language are very guilty of repeating those educational errors. as we do research we can trace much of the English language misconceptions back to the British official history by Edmonds. Seems like that has been repeated for a century. We have tried to lay some truths bare The Great War Dawning. Very unfortunately as Zuber spread his English-language books so widely there is a lot to overcome there also.
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by chinstrap » Mon Aug 10, 2015 5:35 am

Joe, can you expand on your comments about Edmonds, please? I ask because a few years ago I wrote a dissertation on Capt. G C Wynne, who worked on the Official Histories with Edmonds but disagreed with him strongly on many topics, in particular Haig's responsibility for Passchendaele. Wynne refused to have his name included as one of the authors of the volume relating to this battle.

In the 1930's Wynne also wrote ' If Germany attacks', an analysis of the evolution of German tactics in WW1 which passionately criticised the corresponding British failure to learn and adapt despite incredibly costly attacks. This didn't earn him too many friends in the military establishment ! I imagine you'll have read it?

Finally, Wynne, who was a Lieutenant in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, also wrote a diary covering the time from the outbreak of the war until his capture at Le Cateau. Apart from including some superb observations on events in August 1914 , this too contains some fairly caustic comments about British generalship. It wasn't published , but I read the original in the Liddell Hart library in London and quoted it extensively in the dissertation.

This reminds me - I need a good research project for the winter months!

Patrick

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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by joerookery » Mon Aug 10, 2015 7:22 am

Patrick,

I guess I should be embarrassed by the limited amount of British works that I have read. I really focus on the German side – almost in a vacuum. So unfortunately I have not read that. Liaison 1914 was a tough enough go! There are a ton of comments on Edmonds. There are many diehards who seem to be very pro-BOH. however I think that the modern interpretations are pretty much pro-Haig. few authors trace their information from somewhere other than the BOH. in fact, when I look at the majority of his histories and particularly the footnotes you could see the same citations being used from author to author. At first this made some sense, but then we started discovering certain abnormalities. For instance – the size of the German armies – the macro numbers. Where did they come from? They are wrong and cannot be substantiated. However, they came from British authors. One after another they can be traced back to Edmonds however, those numbers have stuck and are used in source after source including the instruction when I was there at the Army war College. If you think about it for minutes how was the German first Army supposedly bigger by far than the second Army?

We have plenty of ideas on the German side for a summer research project!
VR/Joe
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by Gustaf » Mon Aug 10, 2015 11:44 am

joerookery wrote:Sometimes publishers put in little snippets that the authors don't even know about. All that is said to help sales.
I did not have any problems with my publisher
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Re: US Entry into WWI

Post by chinstrap » Mon Aug 10, 2015 3:20 pm

Joe, Wynne spent time in Germany before the War and was fluent in the language. Most of the sources he drew upon were German regimental histories, memoirs, doctrine etc. and hence he had a very different perspective on events to most British military men and historians. He wrote a series of articles in the Army Quarterly before WW2 which formed the basis of his book, but the book itself was expurgated because it was so critical that it was thought it would damage confidence in the British High Command.

He's been a lot more appreciated since WW2, particularly in the U.S. Lupfer, Samuels and Gudmunsson all draw on his work. The book, especially the unexpurgated version , published by Tom Donovan several years ago, is worth a read. The title, 'If Germany Attacks' is an example of your comment about the line publishers take. The book is primarily about German defensive tactics and doctrine but as the book was being published in 1940 the publishers decided a 'sexier' title was needed to attract interest!

Patrick

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