This book is based around a collection of over 200 primary sources relating to the attitudes of the German soldiers on the Western Front of the First World War. The largest group of documents are letters from the front, but there are also newspaper articles, extracts from diaries, post-war leaflets, medical reports on the wounded and internal army reports. The editors also use the German army's reports on morale, themselves based on a wide examination of letters during the censorship process.
The overall theme of the book is the rise of disobedience in the German army as the war showed no signs of coming to an end, and the role that disobedience played in the final Allied victory. In the early sections of the book this theme is only indirectly present, although it is present in some accounts of the hostility between the rank and file and officers. Instead the early part of the book looks at the soldier's reaction to the outbreak of the war, and the way their attitudes changed as the war dragged on and trench warfare set in.
This is a serious piece of academic work, supported by a well thought out framework, which is explained clearly in the introduction. The extracts themselves will be of value to anyone with an interest in the German experiences in the trenches, while the supporting text gives the book a great deal of value to serious students of the subject.
I: Interpretations of the Front-line Experience
II: The German Army During the War
III: Principles of this Edition
1 - The War Begins
2 - The Realities of War
3 - Grievances
4 - Refusal and Disobedience
5 - The End
Editors: Bernd Ulrich and Benjamin Ziemann
Translator: Christine Brocks
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military