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World War I: A Short History

Tammy M. Proctor

ISBN: 978-1-118-95193-4 November 2017 Wiley-Blackwell 200 Pages



A lively, engaging history of The Great War written for a new generation of readers

In recent years, scholarship on World War I has turned from a fairly narrow focus on military tactics, weaponry, and diplomacy to incorporate considerations of empire, globalism, and social and cultural history. This concise history of the first modern, global war helps to further broaden the focus typically provided in World War I surveys by challenging popular myths and stereotypes to provide a new, engaging account of The Great War.

The conventional World War I narrative that has evolved over the past century is that of an inevitable but useless war, where men were needlessly slaughtered due to poor decisions by hidebound officers. This characterization developed out of a narrow focus on the Western Front promulgated mainly by British historians. In this book, Professor Proctor provides a broader, more multifaceted historical narrative including perspectives from other fronts and spheres of interest and a wider range of participants. She also draws on recent scholarship to consider the gendered aspect of war and the ways in which social class, religion, and cultural factors shaped experiences and memories of the war.

  • Structured chronologically to help convey a sense of how the conflict evolved
  • Each chapter considers a key interpretive question, encouraging readers to examine the extent to which the war was total, modern, and global
  • Challenges outdated stereotypes created through a focus on the Western Front
  • Considers the war in light of recent scholarship on empire, global history, gender, and culture
  • Explores ways in which the war and the terms of peace shaped the course of the 20th century

World War I: A Short History is sure to become required reading in undergraduate survey courses on WWI, as well as courses in military history, the 20th century world, or the era of the World Wars. 

List of Illustrations vii

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xix

1 Why and How Did War Break Out in Summer 1914? 1

2 1914. Was This War a Total War? 25

3 1915. How and Where Was the War Fought? 49

4 1916. Who Participated in the War and How? 69

5 1917. How Did War Affect the Societies and People Who Participated? 89

6 1918. What Circumstances Led to the End of the War? 113

7 1919. How Did the Peace Treaties Shape the Postwar World? 133

8 Postwar. How Was the War Remembered and Commemorated? 151

9 Postscript: World War I in Context 167

Index 173