Instrument of War: The German Army 1914-18 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Drawing on more than a half-century of research and teaching, Dennis Showalter presents a fresh perspective on the German Army during World War I. Showalter surveys an army at the heart of a national identity, driven by - yet also defeated by - warfare in the modern age, that struggled to capitalize on its victories, and ultimately forgot the lessons of its defeat.
Exploring the internal dynamics of the German Army, detailing how the soldiers coped with the many new forms of warfare, Showalter shows how the army's institutions responded and how Germany itself was changed by war. He goes on to detail the major campaigns on the Western and Eastern Fronts and the forgotten war fought in the Middle East and Africa, revealing operational strategy, the complexities of campaigns of movement versus static trench warfare, and the changes in warfare.
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|Listening Length||10 hours and 44 minutes|
|Author||Dennis E. Showalter|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||June 19, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #159,998 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#119 in Military Science
#142 in World War I History (Audible Books & Originals)
#260 in German History (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from the United States
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The theme of this book is the inward-looking nature of the officer corps, concentrating on tactics, weaponry, and operations, to the detriment of broader strategic and diplomatic/political policy, Thus the Army did not plot to begin WWI, if only because it couldn't think at such a high level of planning/plotting. Specialists will not be surprised at such a conclusion, nor at the idea that Ludendorff botched the political/diplomatic and strategic handling of the War's last two years. Rather than seeing Ludendorff as a sinister or mentally unbalanced tyrant, Showalter sees him as a product of the very nature of the Army's culture. The author is quite balanced and convincing in his arguments.
I recommend this book highly. Karl G. Larew, Professor Emeritus, Towson University
He also links the army's role to German society and political evolution over the period, and the book is brought to life buy many anecdotes and quotes from ordinary soldiers and generals alike.
I have read many books on WW1 and the German war effort, and this is really a superb 'sleeper'. Highly recommended.
I was hoping to read a history of the WWI German Army that was similar to Doughty's excellent history of the WWI French Army, "Phyrric Victory". Unfortunately, this book seems to entirely miss the point.
After reading about a third of the book, I find that the author appears to be writing about everything but the German Army itself. He seems to completely ignore the history of the initial thrust into France in 1914 in these initial pages, while only providing some basic but rather disjointed information about the issues with the two armies on the right flank of the initial invasion.
Once out of this period, the author spends a lot of time discussing sociology of the German nation and its responses to the war. However, even here, there are some things that do not appear to add up based on what we actually do know about the German Army at this time. For example, the author describes a nation on the verge of collapse by the middle of 1915. Yet, Germany goes on to summarily defeat the Allies by the winter of 1917. So though there were obviously hardships for the German nation such hardships did not preclude a collapse as Germany continued to fight through November 1918.
Another aspect I found quite disconcerting was the author's emphasis on the emerging field of psychology that seemed to brutalize its shell-shocked patients with torture-like techniques to get them to return to duty. As this may have been the case in some situations, I have a hard time believing that psychologists even back then did not track the results of their efforts only to find them relatively useless...
While the author presents a picture of an army that was lacking in serious cohesion, Stone's book demonstrates just the opposite was true as the army was very well prepared in terms of training and morale for initial phases of WWI.
And as another commenter found, I have also found the author's writing style overly complex and disjointed with his sentence structures, with quite a few not even making any grammatical sense.
Though I will finish this book merely to get a better understanding of the author's viewpoints, this is hardly a book I would recommend to anyone wanting to learn about the WWI Imperial German Army. David Stone's book even provided a much better detailed history on the German Army's training alone (something this book does not really touch upon all that well) in his initial pages in his work.
Top reviews from other countries
It is better than I expected, because I thought it would follow the usual narratives of the battles.