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The Great War

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In many ways, World War 1 is the more interesting of the wars compared to World War 2. Granted the latter has the benefit of combat war footage, color photography, a plethora of Hollywood movies and sexy looking weapons like the P-47, Panther and Sherman tanks, and whatnot.

But if you view World War 1 as a board game, it is so much more complicated than the Risk! style conquer everything style of combat of WW2.

You had massive diplomatic moves with Italy double crossing Germany and Ottoman Turkey turning it's back on Britain.The Balkans were a checker board of intrigue. The Eastern Front was quite fluid with major offensives. The role that minority populations living in the great empires was significant with the belligerents having to fight internal and external conflicts. And that's on top of the Colonial conflicts in Africa, the Naval war and espionage.

WW1 gets a lot of disservice with the sole focus being on the Western Front.

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Not many people realize but the battle of the Argonne was the largest battle in American military history as well as the deadliest.

 

 

 

 

 

I highly recommend this documentary:

 

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15 hours ago, Donward said:

In many ways, World War 1 is the more interesting of the wars compared to World War 2. Granted the latter has the benefit of combat war footage, color photography, a plethora of Hollywood movies and sexy looking weapons like the P-47, Panther and Sherman tanks, and whatnot.

But if you view World War 1 as a board game, it is so much more complicated than the Risk! style conquer everything style of combat of WW2.

You had massive diplomatic moves with Italy double crossing Germany and Ottoman Turkey turning it's back on Britain.The Balkans were a checker board of intrigue. The Eastern Front was quite fluid with major offensives. The role that minority populations living in the great empires was significant with the belligerents having to fight internal and external conflicts. And that's on top of the Colonial conflicts in Africa, the Naval war and espionage.

WW1 gets a lot of disservice with the sole focus being on the Western Front.

One of the other fascinating things about WWI is how much of an anomaly the actual combat was.

 

A great quote I heard somewhere is that if WWI had happened a few years earlier it would have been the last napoleonic-style war. A few years later and it would have been a WWII-style maneuver war.

 

This can be seen both at the beginning and end of the war, as well as the more mobile combat that occured on the eastern front.

 

Things had to turn out just so for trench warfare to occur.

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Knowing Peter Jackson, the subject matter of World War 1 isn't interesting enough to stand on its own, so he'll have to add Dune worms, a female wood elf, albino worg-riding German Hussars, and elaborate walking sequences where the protagonists have to destroy the Paris Gun.

 

Tom Bombadil won't be in this film either.

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1 hour ago, Donward said:

Knowing Peter Jackson, the subject matter of World War 1 isn't interesting enough to stand on its own, so he'll have to add Dune worms, a female wood elf, albino worg-riding German Hussars, and elaborate walking sequences where the protagonists have to destroy the Paris Gun.

 

Tom Bombadil won't be in this film either.

He'll have fun with some of the grotesque and gory special effects though.

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Recently I read a book by Max Hastings called Catastrophe: Europe Goes To War 1914. I must confess, first of all, that I didn't finish it due to a bit of a breakdown that may or may not have been related to its contents, so I'm steeling myself for an eventual re-read. Anyway, the parts I did read told a fascinating if bleak and miserable tale that flipped some of the stories I'd been told about the First World War on their head.

 

I got into reading Max Hastings' work when I decided on impulse to pick up one of the dictionary-sized history books in my friend's collection. Much of what I've read on the World Wars is by him, Antony Beevor or Max Arthur, but this was the first time I'd read a lengthy book about the lead-up to, and early days of, the First World War. I understand it's caused a bit of controversy, drawing fire not only for some elementary errors (which likely were missed due to it being sped along to meet that important 2014 release date) and also being seen as a Germanophobic "cash-in" (though it was, interestingly, a German historian named Fritz Fischer who originally caused uproar by arguing in Griff nach der Weltmacht that Germany's leaders bore much of the responsibility for the Great War).

 

I can personally level some criticism at Hastings for carelessly citing the no-doubt familiar memoir Death Traps in past work, along with all the inflammatory rhetoric that entails, but it's also become clear to me in the past few years that every account has at least a grain of historical truth in it, so it seems intellectually lazy to dismiss an entire work, the scope of which is enormous, over comparatively minor and perhaps inevitable mistakes; to do so would be to risk missing out on some real gems. I'd certainly never discard Antony Beevor's harrowing saga on the Second World War over his relative shortcomings in the Pacific theatre.

TL,DR: Since this seems about as historically well-read a forum as I've come across on the internet, I'm curious to know what the residents have to say about Catastrophe: Europe Goes To War 1914.

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Read it over Christmas. I’m not that knowledgeable on the Great War so I can’t say that I spotted any inaccuracies or strange interpretations of events. I have the same reservation for Hastings as you, but the book was like $5 so I picked it up.  

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