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World War One - Prelude

I1912 Imperial German Military Build-Up

The German View of the Next War (Literary Digest, 1912)

Attached is a short review of a book that turned many heads in the diplomatic circles of Europe in 1911: Germany And The Next War, written by Germany's General von Bernhardi (1849 1930):

"A very influential military writer in Germany declares that Germany must win her place as a world power through warfare".

The book sales in Germany were quite meager up until the first shot was fired in August of 1914, when they picked up considerably.


German Military Expansion (The Spectator, 1912)

This small piece from THE SPECTATOR magazine concerned the 1912 budget increase mandated by the Imperial German "Defense Bills" which called for a growth of the German army and navy. The expansion of the fleet was to include eight battleships and nine cruisers of various sizes and provide for further additions later. The German Army was to be furnished with two additional army corps.


The Crown Prince: Saber Rattler (Current Literature, 1912)

The son and heir of the German Kaiser, Crown Prince Wilhelm III (1882 - 1951) was known well throughout the pre-war era for demonstrating his dislike of the German Government's peaceful policies and especially for his belligerent, anti-British remarks, which caused tremendous embarrassment to the Imperial German Chancellor, while giving no end of pleasure to the "hot-heads" of Berlin.


The German Threat to Russia (Literary Digest, 1913)

"The German military maneuvers have aroused the attention of Europe to the splendid equipment and administration of the Army, not only in the fighting spirit, but in the commissariat and its medical service."

-so begins the attached article which referenced the overall sense of intimidation and uneasiness that was triggered by the display of bristling military might that was recently witnessed. The journalist mused about just what the Franco-Russian Alliance would mean in the face of such an advanced military force, touching upon the size of the German Army compared with other forces in Europe -openly stating that France could never stand up to an attack.


French Insecurity in the Face of German Might (Literary Digest, 1913)

Attached is a 1913 article from an American magazine in which the journalist reported on a strong sense of insecurity experienced by France as a result of Imperial German military hubris. The reporter illustrated the point with various quotes from French papers of the day and in a similar vein, sites a number of German papers that express an arrogant contempt for France.


The U.S. Army: Plagued by Deserters (Review of Reviews, 1910)

As a wise, old sage once remarked: "You don't go to war with the army that you want, you go to war with the army that you have" -no truer words were ever spoken; which brings us to this news piece from a popular American magazine published in 1910. The reader will be interested to know that just seven years prior to the American entry into World War One, the U.S. Army was lousy with deserters and it was a problem they were ill equipped to handle.

Click here to read some statistical data about the American Doughboys of the First World War.


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