Published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great European War in 1914, Achievement is a guide to the war on which the future of Europe turned.
Ian Hall’s fascinating book examines the social, political and military circumstances of the previous 200 years, it considers the conditions that allowed one nation, Germany, to justify a war in continental Europe on a scale never before possible, sending more than eighty army divisions to invade its neighbours in what can be described as the first industrial war. Achievement also examines why Britain, at that time one of the world’s greatest industrial and Imperial powers, could send only six divisions to join the party and wonders at the accomplishment of expanding such a force to more than fifty divisions just four years later.
The book’s journey includes visiting the history of the nations of Britain and continental Europe, encouraging us to wonder at the empty splendour of European monarchies, allowing us to explore the foothills of the Industrial Revolution. It also makes one or two diversions into the by ways of history to remind us of events that have shaped Britain and its place in the world.
The British army, from its most senior commanders down, make appearances throughout. The decisions to be faced and examples of the courage of the fighting men and the casualties that resulted are all considered in this encompassing commentary on the Great War.