Roger Chickering examines the comprehensive effects of the World War I on imperial Germany. The author is of the view that the war affected every person in society, irrespective of gender, age, educational background, race and religious affiliation. The book evaluates the role of the military in perpetuating the conflicts, the diplomatic aspects, governmental role, the politics, and the industrial sector.
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In particular, the author is more concerned with giving the effects of the war on the German people, unlike other authors who generalize the effects of the war. In this regard, the author reports that the persistent effect of the total war on the underprivileged and the rich was massive. It affected both male and female members of society, the elderly and the youth, farmers and the city-dwellers, Catholics, Protestants, and the Jews.
The book analyzes the role of the military in any war. It states that the war affected the socio-economic and political structures of Germany more than it did in other countries. The first chapter talks about the period in which the war started (The war begins). In the first chapter, the author gives the immediate cause of the war whereby he compares the war with the modern day terrorism that is sponsored by the state.
It started with the shooting of Francis Ferdinand when he had visited Serbia. The incident surprised many in Europe since the Serbia government had been accused of being involved in the death of the heir to throne.
In subsequent subsection, he talks about the spirit of 1914 whereby he notes that the drama and the extravagant expectations of war lent almost mystical status to the spirit of 1914 (Chickering 15). Under the plan section, the author notes that the war was well planned, with many soldiers believing that Germany was superior to other nations, having crashed the French troops in the 1870-71 war.
The second chapter (The war continues) talks about the dynamics of the war as it progressed to the dangerous zones. The author looks at the role of bureaucratic institutions and the industrial sector in propagating the war. From this chapter, it is established that the war could not have achieved its objectives at the start without the support the bureaucrats and the wealthy businesspersons.
The business community provided adequate funds for feeding and paying soldiers while the bureaucrats offered technical support, as well as morale. In the third chapter (The war grows total), the author reports that the war was no longer under the control of the Germany government since it had attracted the attention of other players in the international system.
In 1916, the land campaigns were instituted whereby other races were expected to surrender land to the Germans. This was made possible through Hindenburg policies. At the same time, German troops occupied various parts of Europe while some soldiers took the war to sea. The fourth chapter (The war embraces all), observes how other groups in society, including women and the elderly, were forced to join the war.
At this stage, even the owners of the means of production felt the effects of the war. The fifth chapter (The War breeds discord) proves that the war had become so expensive and costly to an extent that many people were in the process of surrendering. The sixth chapter (The war ends) reports that the German populace could no longer sustain the war hence they embraced peace.
Effects of the War on Germany at Mid War
The author observes that the German empire is one of the empires that lost terribly in the First World War. Germany engaged in the conflict by declaring war on Serbia following the killing of the Austria-Hungary prince. German troops engaged the enemies on both eastern and western. However, the German territory was safe at start of the war.
At some point in 1914, the eastern part was invaded, but the enemies were defeated and the country continued to enjoy peace, even though its troops were at war abroad. Things changed in the winter of 1916-1917 when the British troops attacked several cities in Germany. Germany was faced with severe food shortages since the infrastructure was badly destroyed.
The 1916-1917 winter, also referred to as turnip winter, was the trying moment for the people of Germany since many individuals went for days without food. In 1916, there were two major battles on the western front, which weakened the capability of Germany. The battle at Verdun and Somme had tremendous effects to the Germany since it lost many soldiers and resources fighting the war that it never succeeded.
Germany lost an approximated two-hundred and eighty thousand soldiers at Verdun while an approximated six-hundred thousand soldiers lost their lives at Somme. The loss of soldiers at the two battlefronts demoralized the German people and solders.
In 1917, the German morale was declining since the number of solders lost could not be explained. The country suffered from inadequate work force since few people were willing to engage in war after realizing that it could not be won. At the home front, the war was unsustainable since enemies were attacking from all fronts.
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In the same year, Ludendorff claimed that Germany would launch a peace offensive in the west, but the plan was cut short since the allies were very strong. In 1916, the Hindenburg program encouraged people to contribute financially since the country was facing serious financial shortages.
Farmers were forced to give their horses to the military since the supplies from Russia and Austria could not reach the country. In the middle of the war, the British launched an offensive that incapacitated Germany in terms of food supply. The economy of the country went down to an extent that it simply depended on the wealthy for the production of weapons.
With time, church materials were ripped out and would be melted to produce weapons. So many farmers and workers in various industries were transferred to the military, which affected the country’s food supply. The government was forced to come up with a feeding program that would help the poor who could not afford the basic needs.
In Europe, a number of countries faced challenges, as the war progressed since the number of soldiers killed was shocking. Each country, including France, Britain and Russia, lost troops in large numbers.
The war could no longer be sustained and many countries were of the view that the conflict had to be resolved peacefully. Just like in Germany, the populace in other countries was in strong opposition of the war since it affected their normal lives.
Chickering, Roger. Imperial Germany and the Great War: 1914 – 1918. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Print.