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NIALL FERGUSON THE PITY OF WAR PDF

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THE PITY OF WAR by Niall Ferguson. New York: Basic Books, pages, $ Reviewed by Lieutenant-Colonel Bernd Horn he simple title of Niall. PDF | Niall Ferguson and others published The Pity of Peace: The Origins of the Second World War Revisited. The pity of war by Niall Ferguson; 8 editions; First published in ; Subjects: World War, , Histoire, Weltkrieg (), Guerre mondiale.


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Read The Pity Of War PDF - Explaining World War I by Niall Ferguson Basic Books | From a bestselling historian, a daringly revisionist history. The Pity of War Printer-friendly version · PDF version. Book: The Pity of War Niall Ferguson London, Allen Lane: The Penguin Press, The Pity of War: Explaining World War I. By Niall Ferguson (New York,. Basic Books Germany started World War I but Britain caused it; English intervention.

Ferguson says it has little to do with this treaty concerning Belgium's neutrality. Ferguson contends that the liberal government in Britain is facing electoral defeat and the foreign secretary Sir Edward Grey and Winston Churchill are able to convince a majority that intervention is necessary. For instance, Edward Grey says he will resign if Britain does not interfere because he has given his word to the French that Britain will join the war effort. If Grey does resign, it could end up toppling the government.

So Ferguson argues that Britain entered the war so that its weak government can continue to stay in power -- to keep their jobs and keep the conservatives out of office. Finally, Ferguson's counterfactual arguments are very interesting to read and have certainly generated a fair share of controversy.

He believes that had Britain stayed out of the war, Germany would have won and Europe would be not very different than it is today, with a common market that is powered by a dominant German economy.

While some may scorn counterfactual history, Ferguson astutely builds his case, anchored on first-rate research and analysis. Ferguson has no sacred cows and takes no prisoners Hardcover Verified Purchase.

At over pages, it is not to be taken lightly, but for the history buff, it is well worth your time. Ferguson's grandfather served through the war w2ith a Highland regiment, and survived. Scotland had a higher casualty rate than every county except Serbia and Turkey.

This book is not so much about the fighting as about the political, economic and morale factors that went into it. His excellent research turns most of the conventional wisdom of WWI on its head.

He believes Germany went to war because they felt weak, not military strong, and thought the imbalance was growing. His review of the differing economic and financial power of the central powers versus the allies suggests the Allies should have won much sooner.

But Germany made better use of it's resources, and the Germans killed the allies at a much higher rate, meaning the French and British strategy of attrition worked against them.

He suggests that Germans were not starved into defeat by the blockade and that it wasn't war reparations but economic mismanagement that led to the collapse of the Weimar Republic leading to the Nazis. You cannot but help learn a great deal from this well-written volume. As a bonus for me, i discovered the poems of Ewart Alan Mackintosh, an officer in a Scottish regiment who was killed in Hall Author: The Coming Collapse of the American republic.

Clay Garner Top Contributor: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. But not only the German. There would be trumpets and shoutings and celestial phenomena, a battle of Armageddon and the Last Judgement. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven. Nevertheless, this prophecy does symbolically describe world events after Ferguson sees reason to connect this vision with what the world saw after Who can deny it? There are ten questions which I attempt to answer: Was the war, as is often asserted, really greeted with popular enthusiasm? Did propaganda, and especially the press, keep the war going, as Karl Kraus believed?

Why did the huge economic superiority of the British Empire not suffice to inflict defeat on the Central Powers more quickly and without American intervention?

Why did the military superiority of the German army fail to deliver victory over the British and French armies on the Western Front, as it delivered victory over Serbia, Rumania and Russia? Why did men keep fighting when, as the war poets tell us, conditions on the battlefield were so wretched? Why did men stop fighting? In fact, he is so detailed, so comprehensive, it can become redundant. Appears to be writing for scholars more than the general reader.

Charts, footnotes, references, other historians, poets, personal letters, etc.

Closer to a reference work than essay. Nevertheless, persuasive, clear, analytical and interesting.

I listened to the audible version and could follow the detailed presentation without irritation. Enjoyed the counter-cultural, different, other viewpoint. About one thousand notes linked on iPad Hundreds references in bibliography.

Exhaustive index with working links. Tremendous scholarship! See all 91 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. This item: Explaining World War I. Set up a giveaway. Customers who viewed this item also viewed.

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AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Amazon Inspire Digital Educational Resources. Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. DPReview Digital Photography. The first rules out much of the literature on the logistical impossibility of the Schlieffen plan, and on the surprising willingness of French conscripts to bleed for the Republic, and to die by the tens of thousands for it. The British Expeditionary Force did not stop the German invasion of France; it was a minor element in what was in largely a Franco-German bloodbath.

But these are minor quibbles. The problem is more fundamental: The second prediction tells us that had Britain stayed out of the war, then the European Community, dominated as it is today by Germany, would have been born at some stage in this century, and without the massive diminution of British power consequent on her losses, human and material, in the two world wars.

To simplify matters, the statement is in the form of two vectors: Fergusons case is that, without the First World War, the German arrow would ultimately arrive at the dominant position it holds in the world today, without Hitler and the devastation of his regime, but the British arrow would not be in the slough of despond to which it has been relegated by her squandering of her assets and manpower on an avoidable and pointless conflict.

Thus, the Great War, Ferguson concludes, is not so much a tragedy as "the greatest error of modern history" p.

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These statements can never take the form of real predictions, since they do not specify the hundreds of intervening variables relevant to the prediction. Instead, they are projections, just as good as their underlying assumptions: Germany goes up; Britain goes down; Europe emerges in the form we know it today. These are true statements. They are indisputable, but they hardly contribute to an understanding of historical process and historical change.

The difficulty of this kind of reasoning appears in other parts of the book. Ferguson argues that in the war crisis of , the Liberal cabinet was split.

So far, so good. But he then takes his particular leap into the dark, by claiming that "in the end" the British Cabinet "agreed to support Grey partly for fear of being turned out of office and letting in the Tories" p.

This, he argues, is why Britain went to war, a decision which meant that "it was the British government which ultimately decided to turn the continental war into a world war" p. We cannot know, because we are not able to place one consideration not letting the Tories in alongside others: It is only when all the variables and factors are arrayed can we say that, yes, keeping the Tories out was the decisive issue.

But Ferguson does not do that. And that is because he cannot do it. History is too messy for real predictions to emerge from conflicting and incomplete evidence.

Historian claims Britain wrong to enter WWI

Other examples abound. On page , he argues that German war aims without British entry into the war would have been less grandiose than they rapidly became.

How can we be sure? On page , he states that "one reason so many men volunteered in the first weeks of the war [in Britain] was that unemployment soared because of the economic crisis the war had unleashed".

How does he know? This is almost certainly mistaken, and flies in the face of evidence about high rates of voluntary enlistment later in , when the disruption of trade occasioned by entry into war was damped down.

The first part of this statement is a prediction of an accurate kind: Once again, this is an historical statement about plausible outcomes based on insufficient data. Too many variables are unknown for us to accept these statements as useful.

As a computer once put it, "The best way to play this game is not to play it at all".

When not engaged in such speculative history, Ferguson offers us in this book some outstanding interpretations of vexed questions in the history of the First World War. His chapters on morale and the problem of surrendering are first-rate; his account of the myths of war enthusiasm commands respect; and his treatment of the press and propaganda go well beyond previous and mistaken accounts of propagandists as puppeteers and the reading public as puppets. Most useful to this reviewer are his discussions of the economic history of the war.

Here he presents a case which is at variance with that offered by many scholars including my own. Ferguson shows, with force and substantial subtlety that the German war economy was not as much of a mess as others have argued. He shows that the imbalance of resources was so great, and Allied expenditure so much higher than that of Germany that what requires explanation is why it took the Allies so long to win? This is a powerful argument, and one which requires a considered answer well beyond the scope of this review.

Suffice it to say, that the reasons one side wins in war may not be the same as the reasons the other side loses.

The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson (2000)

There is no straightforward economic balance here. On the Western front, where the war would be won or lost, Germany held defensive positions from mid to early The Allies engaged in a series of expensive and futile campaigns to dislodge the German army from its hold on the eastern quadrant of France and virtually all of Belgium.

Of course it was more expensive for the Allies to attack and to attack again. The German army was simply better at defensive warfare under these conditions. But when Ludendorff attacked in March , he showed that he too could not turn offensive warfare into victory. Though the Michael offensive was massively successful, it changed nothing. Tactical brilliance masked strategic blindness. What his soldiers came to see, and finally what Ludendorff came to see, was not so much that they had lost the war, but that they could not win it.

To make them see this essential point, the Allies paid a staggering price in manpower and in materiel, indeed a higher price than was paid by Germany, but the Allies finally drove the point home.

Ferguson agrees that at this critical moment of the war, it was not American firepower but the potential of the American presence in the war in , or beyond that made a key difference. This is the same point reinforced. By the summer of , German soldiers and their families at home knew that they could not win. That is why soldiers surrendered by the thousands -- in what Deist calls a "soldiers" strike -- and why the home front gave up the struggle.

Ferguson Niall. The Pity of War: Explaining World War I

Ferguson rightly returns to the critical question "what price victory? But that is not the same as saying that the war was not worth fighting, or that it could have been avoided. But perhaps he should attend to the widespread feeling stated in many of them and in their letters that many soldiers fought the war because they were convinced it was a defensive war not of their own making, and that what they were defending not only their comrades in the line, but also what they saw as a way of life.To simplify matters, the statement is in the form of two vectors: Weltkrieg Great Britain.

And yet, as Ferguson writes, while the war itself was a disastrous folly, the great majority of men who fought it did so with little reluctance and with some enthusiasm. Incidentally, I do not say that they would have been defeated in , as he seems to think, but rather later, perhaps in or There are ten questions which I attempt to answer: He cites the China — America dynamic which he refers to as Chimerica where an Asian " savings glut " helped create the subprime mortgage crisis with an influx of easy money.

Strategy, Tactics and the Net Body Count To simplify matters, the statement is in the form of two vectors: The only question is how bad does his [Trump's] flaming out affect candidates for the Senate, candidates for the House, further down on the ballot.

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