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The Final Battle
Soldiers of the Western Front and the German Revolution of 1918

£23.99

Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Author: Scott Stephenson, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Kansas
  • Date Published: August 2013
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107632363

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  • In many ways the German soldiers who marched back from the Western Front at the end of World War I held the key to the future of the newly-created republic that replaced the Kaiser's collapsed monarchy. To the radical Left, the orderly columns of front-line troops appeared to be the forces of the counterrevolution while to the conservative elements of society they seemed to be the Fatherland's salvation. However, in their efforts to get home as soon as possible, most soldiers were indifferent to the political struggles within the Reich, while the remnant that remained under arms proved powerless to defend the republic from its enemies. This book considers why these soldiers' response to the revolution was so different from the rest of the army and the implications this would have for the course of the German Revolution and, ultimately, for the fate of the Weimar Republic itself.

    • Contributes to studies of the political failure of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis, by analysing the army's role in the early history of the German republic
    • Provides insights into the way the old officer corps retained control of the front-line army
    • Examination of the response of German soldiers in defeat and revolution overthrows common assumptions about soldiering and revolution
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Review of the hardback: 'Scholars will find much to engage with in this powerful book. Stephenson's descriptions of the German retreat following 11 November and his analysis of the soldiers' councils are among the book's strengths. His investigation of the conduct of German soldiers has implications beyond the rather unusual environment of 1918 and will speak to those interested in the behavior of veterans of all wars. The Final Battle is a worthy contribution to Cambridge University Press's prestigious Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare series and a valuable addition to our understanding of the critical year of 1918.' Michael Neiberg, Michigan War Studies Review

    Review of the hardback: '… a moving and often brilliant book that should serve as a model for the so-called 'new military history'.' Parameters

    Review of the hardback: 'No historian of the Imperial army or the Weimar Republic can afford to ignore this thought-provoking and, in many ways, provocative study.' English Historical Review

    Review of the hardback: 'This well crafted and thoroughly researched monograph is the first in many years to explore the return home of the defeated Imperial Army.' Stand To! The Journal of the Western Front Association

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2013
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107632363
    • length: 374 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 30 b/w illus. 4 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. The divided army
    2. The last ditch: German front-line soldiers in the last days of the First World War
    3. Caesar without legions: the field army and the abdication of the Kaiser, November 8–9, 1918
    4. Legions without Caesar: the German army's response to armistice and revolution, November 9–14, 1918
    5. The last march: the German Westheer's march to the Rhine, November–December, 1918
    6. Dissolution and conspiracy: the army's homecoming and demobilization, December 1918
    7. The last parade: the Guards return to Berlin, December 10–22, 1918
    8. The last battle: 'Bloody Christmas,' December 23–24, 1918
    9. From debacle to civil war: the aftermath of 'Bloody Christmas,' December 1918–January 1919
    10. Conclusion: Frontschweine and revolution.

  • Author

    Scott Stephenson, United States Army Command and General Staff College, Kansas
    Scott Stephenson is Associate Professor of Military History at the Department of Military History, US Army Command and General Staff College.

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