World War I

Battles on the Eastern Front 1914-18: Suicide of the Empires by Alan Clark

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By Alan Clark

At the outbreak of struggle in 1914, the armies of the western entrance quickly turned slowed down within the dust at Flanders. yet at the broad plains and forests of jap Europe the 3 nice Empires - Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary - grappled in a sequence of battles concerning hundreds of thousands of fellows and 1000s of miles of entrance. almost immediately after the outbreak of battle the Russian «steamroller» had lurched into Prussia simply to be hurled again amind the marshes of Tannenberg. For the subsequent 3 years the struggling with swung indeterminately backward and forward. This paintings describes the campaigns which provoked the downfall of 3 nice empires and left the realm replaced ceaselessly.

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Grey himself was concerned that such a positive British pledge might provoke the Russians and the French into action, and as we have seen he did not abandon hopes of trying to settle the conflict through diplomatic means until very late in July. There would have been little point in trying to bring pressure on the Russian government to resolve the crisis in talks with the Austrians, if at the same time Grey was pledging British military support. Besides, he could not be certain at this stage of full cabinet backing for such a positive British declaration of intent.

As late as 1968, East German historians were arguing that the First World War constituted ‘a quarrel among the imperialists for a new division of the world’. Monopoly capitalists and Junker agrarians, assisted by the military, unleashed the war which was inevitable owing to the ‘conflicts inherent to the capitalist social order’. However, there are several important aspects of such lines of argument which have been vigorously disputed by non-Marxist historians. The view that states with a capitalist mode of production are bound to become involved in wars because of internally generated conflicts and clashes with other powers over access to raw materials and territories is a very general proposition which does not fit very closely the particular circumstances of 1914.

Within a year, further military increases were put into effect, leading to the greatest peacetime addition in numbers in the army’s history. Its strength rose by 30 per cent to 665,000, with plans for further increases in numbers to over three quarters of a million in 1914. Not surprisingly, this German move provoked the entente powers into reviewing their own military strength. In 1913, the French government authorized the extension of military conscription from two to three years, the aim being to give France a force of about 700,000 men.

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