Germany in the Great War - The Opening Year, Joshua Bilton


Germany in the Great War - The Opening Year, Joshua Bilton

Over the last few years images of the First World War have become familiar to many of us, but the vast majority of those pictures come from British sources. This is the first in a series of books providing the German picture of the war, covering all of the many fronts being fought on at this early stage in the war.

The pictures are the main focus here - each one gets a caption, but they are fairly short - one or two sentences at most. Although there isn’t much detail, the author does include key details, such as identifying the exact type of artillery gun on display or unit identity. The Western Front pictures show largely familiar scenes, but with a slightly different twist - often as simple as different uniforms, but also including more sympathetic pictures of German troops than is normally the case.

The book covers all aspects of the war, so we get to see the full variety of battlefields that the Germans fought on in the first year of the war. In the west the period of open movement is followed by the first familiar pictures of the trenches, but in the east there is much more variety. One picture shows well build fortifications crossing an area of wetland, effectively floating above the water - in the west these would have been blown apart in minutes, but in the east they appear to have been entirely suited to the situation.

Some of these battlefields only really existed early in the war. We thus see pictures from the German colonial empire, most of which was lost in the first year of the war, and the German overseas cruiser squadrons, which after some early dramatic successes were all swept away by the Royal Navy and allies. 

This is an impressive collection of photographs, giving a new slant to an otherwise familiar topic.

1 - Mobilization - Austria and Germany
2 - Western Advance
3 - Advance in the East and Withdrawal
4 - The Pacific and African Theatres
5 - Turkey
6 - The Naval War
7 - The Home Front

Author: Joshua Bilton
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 96
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2017

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