Book Review: The Month That Changed the World: July 1914 by Gordon Martel

[FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my copy of this book free from the author. I was not paid for this review and the opinion expressed is purely my own] Given that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I, there has been a virtual flood of new books and scholarship on the war in the past few years. A flood that I sincerely hope does not stop anytime soon as the renewed emphasis on the war is starting to change the traditional view of the war. One area that has gotten particular emphasis this year is the Origins Controversy, as in, what really caused the war and … More after the Jump…

Review – St. George Shoots the Dragon

To be baptized into the trenches, on film, requires historical knowledge, but also an expensive pyrotechnic arsenal. This can be done, but when it is overdone, the viewer is left with a dazzling shell shock that does less to educate than to confuse. St. George Shoots the Dragon, a Serbian film, brings to life the Balkans at a critical age. It does not shell shock the viewer, but also, fails to enlighten. Serbia, unlike most places in the world, has been at perpetual war for nearly a thousand years. It is therefore likely that an exposition of their participation in battle will accompany a Laconic wit that borders on gallows … More after the Jump…

Book Review: July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin

I have probably read 30-40 books exploring the origins of World War I in the past 5-6 years and I thought that just about everything relevant there was to be known about the events of the month leading up to the war were known and historians have just been stirring the ashes and finding trivia in trying to determine a more accurate chain of causation. July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin disabused me of that notion.  This work has made me aware of several things about the critical month between the Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of World War I that I am amazed have not … More after the Jump…

Battle of the Nations Monument – Leipzig, Germany

I had the opportunity to visit Leipzig this past weekend and while there stopped briefly by the monument to the 1813 Battle of the Nations from the Napoleonic Wars.  At the Battle of the Nations the Sixth Coalition consisting of Prussia, Britain, Russia, and Austria fought the French Army of Napoleon and over the course of three days defeated him and forced him to retreat back to France. I only had about 20 minutes at the monument and Leipzig is on my list of places to see again as one day was not enough to see all that I wanted to see.  The monument is currently undergoing renovation in preparation for events surrounding the 200th anniversary of the Battle next year. It is … More after the Jump…

145th Anniversary of the Battle of Königgrätz

Since I wrote my MA thesis on the Battle of Königgrätz I figured I would put up a post here noting that today is the 145th anniversary of the battle, which was fought on July 3rd. The battle was significant for many reasons but the most notable is that it marked the defeat of the Austro-Hungarian Empire against the Prussians and thus signified the start of undisputed Prussian leadership of what would become modern Germany. After Königgrätz all the German states had no choice but to fall in line behind the Prussian Confederation and conform to Prussian practices. It was the culminating battle of the second of the Wars of German Unification … More after the Jump…

The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 4

I was getting to the actual writing of a description of the fighting part of my thesis today when something hit me.  I was looking at casualty figures for the various actions and they are decidedly lopsided.   Most historians blame that on the Prussian possession of the Needle-Gun but I just don’t buy that, it’s too pat an explanation.   As I was thinking about it, it hit me that the Prussians and Austrians fought in completely different ways.

More after the Jump…The Actual Writing of a Thesis-Part 4