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  • Writer's pictureMichael Baker

Unknown Warriors

Understanding The First World War

Until recently, most general histories of the First World War either were narrative accounts or told from a national perspective; few attempted to look at the war as a total phenomenon and analyse what motivated the combatant nations and drove the process of waging an unprecedented kind of war that ended with the outcomes of 1918. But one general history of the conflict (published in 2014) does just that: it's called Attrition: Fighting the First World War. Professor William Philpott examines the war as an organic whole, charting how the struggle changed during its course to become a total, existential war of survival for all sides, requiring huge efforts not just from the armies in the field but from the societies which supported those armies. A war, in fact, much more like the Second World War. Listen at This is an Understanding History podcast.

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