The Great War by John Terraine

analytical Essay
670 words
670 words

The Great War by John Terraine The Great War by John Terraine traces the progress of World War One starting with the killing of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to the Armistice at 11 a.m. on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. On June 28, 1914, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, was visiting Sarajevo, capital of the recently annexed province of Bosnia. On his was to the town hall a bomb was thrown but missed him. On the way back, Gavrilo Princip threw a bomb and missed. He then pulled out a revolver and fired three shots; both the Archduke and his wife were killed instantly. The Austrian Government reacted quickly, blaming the neighboring kingdom of Serbia. Serbia had Russia’s support; therefore Austria invoked her ally, Germany. Russia turned to her ally France. Eventually the alliances formed were with Austria, Germany, and Italy and then with Great Britain, Russia and France. The hard military core of the Alliance was the French Army. This dictated the German war plans, which made the immediate crushing of France a necessity before all else must bow. The discrepancy of population made it impossible for France to match German numbers in the field. In August 1914 Germany possessed 384 military airplanes and a fleet of 30 airships. It was on the Western Front that the first fights took place; speed was an essential factor of the German plan, which allowed forty days to overthrow France. This was to be accomplished by a great wheel of three of their seven western armies, a mass of 34 infantry and 5 cavalry divisions, through Belgium and northwestern France, passing west of Paris and finally defeating the French armies. The whole point of the Schlieffen Plan, which had bro... ... middle of paper ... ...ld be a reckoning of human life. The final cost of the war will never be known; it has been estimated at 12,000,000 lives. The worst casualties were suffered by Russia. 1,700,000 dead and nearly 5,000,000 wounded. The British had sustained some 350,000 casualties, 188,700 prisoners, and 2,840 guns. The remaining Allies, France, America, and Belgium, took 196,700 prisoners and 3,775 guns. The German figures are uncertain. There was about 1,808,545 dead and 4,247,143 wounded. France had a total of 1,385,300 out of 5,000,000 dead or missing. The United sates sustained 325,876 casualties; 115,660 were dead and 205,690 were wounded, and 4,526 were prisoners or missing. Before I read this book I had very little knowledge on the First World War. Now that I read this book I understand more about the allies and alliances. The book was long, but was interesting.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how terraine traces the progress of world war one from the killing of the archduke franz ferdinand to the armistice at 11 a.m.
  • Explains that the hard military core of the alliance was the french army. the discrepancy of population made it impossible for france to match german numbers in the field.
  • Explains the schlieffen plan, which had brought the right wing of the german army from aachen to paris, was a vast flank march of nearly 200 miles as the crow flies.
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