The First World War saw little in the way of naval conflict and few casualties. The one big sea-battle, at Skagerrak in 1916, had little effect on the outcome of the war. Today that might strike us as fortunate for all involved, but at the time Europe was in the grips of a spirit of militant nationalistic fervour, and the inactivity caused great frustration – particularly among the naval officers. Not only were they unable to see themselves as heroes, they were also ridiculed on the home-front and felt profoundly humiliated. From this perspective, the seemingly ludicrous order that forced the German fleet to go to sea against England in 1918 seems more understandable, but coming at the war’s end it triggered a revolution, because the humble German sailors wanted no part in such madness.
A fascinating and perceptive analysis of an era, a time characterised by a vainglorious mindset that now appears alien to us. This book contributes substantially to our understanding of this period and its consequences – consequences that helped pave the way for the Third Reich.
A unique project marking the upcoming centenary of the day Germany declared war on Russia – August 1st, 1914, the day that saw the beginning of the First World War.