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The First World War in 100 Objects
The First World War in 100 Objects The First World War in 100 Objects The First World War in 100 Objects The First World War in 100 Objects The First World War in 100 Objects The First World War in 100 Objects

* Book Type:


Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: by Colonel John Hughes-Wilson and Nigel Steel
Audience: Trade
Specs: 200 full-color and black-and-white photographs, maps, further reading, index, object source references
Pages: 448
Trim Size: 7 1/2" X 9 1/2" X 1 1/2"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20140601
Copyright Year: 2014
Price: Select Below

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The First World War in 100 Objects

A powerful narrative and visual treatment of the "war to end all wars."

A powerful visual and narrative treatment of the "war to end all wars".

The First World War in 100 Objects draws on the most interesting 100 items that describe the causes, progress and outcome of the First World War. From weapons that created carnage to affectionate letters home, these 100 objects are as extraordinary in their diversity and storytelling power as they are devastating in their poignancy. This is the stuff of war at its most horrible.

Here are a few of these objects:

  • military significance -- a Vickers machine gun
  • iconic power -- John Singer Sargent's painting, Gassed
  • personal sentiment -- a German button given to a British Tommy in the Christmas Truce of 1914
  • political importance -- President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points.

These and the other 96 objects are displayed in brief chapters describing the associated people and events and illustrated with full color. The book is carefully organized into distinctive periods of the war and includes these examples:

  • Imperialism, Nationalism and the Road to War (pre-1914): King George's Imperial Crown; Prussian Pickelhaube helmet; map showing Europe's alliances and animosities
  • The Shock of the New (1914): "Your Country Needs You" recruitment poster; German jackboots; "Ole Bill," a London double-decker bus used to ferry soldiers to Ypres
  • Theaters of War (1915 to 1916): Australian Battalion flag; Lusitania survivor's camisole; airdrop message streamer
  • Mud and Blood (1916 to 1917): Postcard from the Eastern Front; trench club; discipline and desertion charge sheet
  • From Near-Defeat to Victory (1918): British Mark V tank; "Hang the Kaiser" election sign; Toby jug
  • A New European Landscape (from 1919): Gun used by German prisoners to shoot seagulls; sketch of the Whitehall Cenotaph; the old Kaiser crown.

A History of the First World War in 100 Objects is a distinctive and original presentation of the military and human stories of this cataclysmic war that did indeed change the world.

Bio:

Colonel John Hughes-Wilson, a highly respected First World War historian, is president of the International Guild of Battlefield Guides and a commentator on intelligence and military subjects. He has been a frequent broadcaster on BBC television and radio.

Nigel Steel has been the UK's Imperial War Museum's principal historian since 1999. He is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Birmingham's Centre for War Studies.

Preface:

Introduction

Without a doubt the First World War changed everything. The years 1914-18 stand as a Rubicon over which all those who were involved in the war, directly and indirectly, were forced to cross. What seemed a gilded way of life of the late Edwardian era, imbued with wealth and empire and majesty, was lost as irretrievably as if a giant pair of iron gates had slammed shut across it.

Moreover, the seeds of so much discontent were sown in the war's immediate aftermath that they bore poisoned fruit over succeeding decades. The disillusionment that set in during the late 19205 led to appeasement in the face of aggressive dictators in the1930s, and to yet another world war in the 1940s as - in the view of many - the First World War's unfinished business exploded again. Later, Communist Russia, born in the chaos of l917, provided one side in a Cold War that framed world events from the 1950s to the 1980s, and which saw proxy "hot" wars in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In the 1990s and 2000s even renewed worries about Germany's power and the outbreak of Balkan violence returned, so familiar from 1914. In short, so much of what defines us and our world in the early 21st century can be traced back to "The Great War for Civilization".

The story of that war has been told many times, but this book offers a fresh approach. As its starting point it takes the material legacy of the war. Thousands of different objects and artefacts dating back to 1914-18 survive, ranging from the mundane to the extraordinary, from the terrifying to the humorous. Each has its own story to tell. Here, 100 of these micro-stories form a spine around which has been woven a comprehensive narrative relating what happened in the run up to the war, during the war itself and in its immediate aftermath.

As a result, this book offers a multi-track approach. For a straightforward, full narrative, readers can start at the beginning and move forward, following developments on a broadly chronological basis. They can trace events as they played out over several continents - events which led to the demise of our empires (German, Austro-Hungarian, Russian and Ottoman) and casualties in their millions, confirming that it was truly a war like no other ever experienced before.

Alternatively, readers can take a more thematic approach and, via the chapter headings and cross-references, pursue particular strands - for example, the Western Front year by year, or changes in the way of life for civilians back home; the arrival of aerial warfare, or the development of submarine warfare; the advent of poison gas and the tank, or the emergence of modern propaganda.

At the heart of the book lies the fundamental relationship between the "big picture" and the intimate insights offered by the 100 objects, the majority taken from the unparalleled collections of Britain's Imperial War Museum - an institution itself inaugurated in 1917 as a direct response to the war. Looking at history via objects is not a new idea. But rather than 100 purely generic or symbolic objects, those chosen here invariably have particular stories to tell - of their makers, of their user and of how they were discovered or preserved. By appreciating these dimensions, we are brought more starkly face to face with the human angle - the individuals connected with the objects. To really understand the First World War, it is as important to listen to the thoughts of an individual Tommy about his rations, or his wife's disgruntlement at food queues back home, as it is to grasp the grand strategy of battle or the horrifying statistics of casualties.

We live daily with the consequences of the First World War. Truly, it still shapes the world in which we live. Its bloody history sounds out as a warning to us all, and each one of these 100 objects echoes like a bell across the intervening passage of time.

John Hughes-Wilson
Nigel Steel

TOC:


INTRODUCTION

PART 1: IMPERIALISM, NATIONALISM AND THE ROAD TO WAR

    01 KING GEORGE'S IMPERIAL CROWN
    The Heyday of the British Empire
    02 THE PEN THAT SIGNED THE ULSTER COVENANT
    British Troubles and Irish Tensions
    03 A PRUSSIAN PICKELHAUBE
    Prussian Militarism and Germany's Rise
    04 SERGEANT MILLER'S RECRUITMENT SIGN
    Anglo-German Naval Rivalry
    05 A MAP OF EUROPEAN RIVALRY
    Europe's Alliances and Animosities
    06 THE ARCHDUKE'S BLOODSTAINED TUNIC
    Assassination and the Road to War

PART 2: THE SHOCK OF THE NEW
    07 THE NEW PAPER MONEY
    British War Measures and ''DORA''
    08 "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU"
    Lord Kitchener and the Recruitment Drive
    09 THE NEWCASTLE COMMERCIALS' DRUM
    Pals Battalions
    10 HMS LANCE'S 4-INCH GUN
    The Opening of Naval Hostilities
    11 GERMAN JACKBOOTS
    The Schlieffen Plan and German Invasion
    12 PANTALONS ROUGES - "A NATIONAL AFFAIR!"
    The Battle of the Frontiers
    13 AN ATROCITY POSTER
    German Atrocities and Schrecklichkeit
    14 PATTERN WEB EQUIPMENT
    The British Expeditionary Force Joins Battle
    15 B43 - A LONDON BUS AT THE FRONT
    The BEF and the First Battle of Ypres
    16 AN IRON CROSS FOR "BABY-KILLERS"
    German Bombardment and the Battle of Dogger Bank
    17 ERIC ROWDEN'S CHRISTMAS BUTTON
    The Christmas Truce
    18 AUSTRIAN COMMEMORATIVE RIBBONS
    Tannenberg and the Eastern Front
    19 BARNARDISTON'S SAMURAI SWORD
    Japan Enters the War
    20 THE IMPERIAL EAGLE IN AFRICA
    The War in Africa
    21 ADMIRAL SOUCHON'S MEDALS
    The Ottoman Empire Enters the War

PART 3: THEATRES OF WAR
    22 A PIG CALLED TIRPITZ
    War in the Pacific and South Atlantic
    23 MAJOR ANDERSON'S STICK
    The Mesopotamian Campaign
    24 AN AUSTRALIAN BATTALION'S FLAG
    The Gallipoli Campaign
    25 AN ITALIAN TRENCH HELMET
    Italy in the First World War
    26 THE HIGHLANDERS' BULGARIAN MAXIM
    Salonika and the Balkan Front
    27 A LUSITANIA SURVIVOR'S CAMISOLE
    Unrestricted Submarine Warfare
    28 A ZEPPELIN'S AMMUNITION BOX
    The Aerial Bombing of' Britain
    29 A TICKET COLLECTOR'S HAT
    Women's Work in Wartime Britain
    30 THE MUNITIONETTES' FIRST HEAVY SHELL
    The Struggle to Produce Munitions
    31 KAISER BILL TOILET ROLL
    Propaganda in the War
    32 NURSE CAVELL'S SECRET DIARY
    The Creation of an Icon
    33 CAPTAIN FRYATT'S WATCH
    Defying the U-Boats
    34 WILLIAM HARRISON'S NO-CONSCRIPTION FELLOWSHIP CARD
    Enlistment to Conscription
    35 THE "MOTHER" OF GUNS
    Artillery in the First World War
    36 THE VICKERS MACHINE GUN
    Machine Guns on the Western Front
    37 A MESSAGE STREAMER
    The Early Air War
    38 A TRENCH SHOVEL
    War in the Trenches
    39 A PETRIFIED GLOVE
    Gas Warfare and the Second Battle of Ypres
    40 CONWAY JACKSON'S PRAYER BOOK
    The Battle of Loos
    41 THE FULLERPHONE
    Communications in the War
    42 A DECEPTIVE TREE
    Camouflage in the War
    43 THE GEOPHONE
    Military Mining in the War
    44 CAPTAIN SHAW'S ESCAPE AIDS
    Prisoners of War
    45 "WAR DOG"
    Animals on the Frontline
    46 MAIRI CHISHOLM'S DECORATIONS
    Military Medals

PART 4: MUD AND BLOOD
    47 PRIVATE BERENGER'S ADRIAN HELMET
    Helmets for the Troops
    48 WILLIAM SHORTS BRODIE HELMET
    The Road to the Somme
    49 HAROLD STARTIN'S TRENCH CLUB
    Trenches - a Day in the Life
    50 THE SOIXANTE-QUINZE FIELD GUN
    Assault on Verdun
    51 POSTCARD FROM THE EASTERN FRONT
    The Brusilov Offensive
    52 BILLIE NEVILL'S FOOTBALL
    The First Day of the Somme
    53 HAROLD COPE'S JACKET
    Continual ion of the Somme Campaign
    54 A FILM PROGRAMME
    Tanks and the End of the Somme
    55 ARMY RATIONS
    Food in the Trenches
    56 A DUMMY CALLED "DOUGLAS"
    Relaxation at the Front
    57 A FRENCH PHRASE BOOK
    The British Soldier Abroad
    58 TUBBY CLAYTON'S CHALICE
    Consolation and Human Contact
    59 A BODY DENSITY MAP
    Casualties on the Western Front
    60 A BAIRNSFATHER CARTOON
    Soldiers on Leave
    61 LAST REMAINS OF HMS INDEFATIGABLE
    The Battle of Jutland
    62 A U-BOATS WIRELESS RECEIVER
    Submarine Warfare After Jutland
    63 EDWARD THOMAS'S LAST WORDS
    A "Lost Generation"?
    64 THE EASTER REBELS' SURRENDER
    Ireland's Easter Rising
    65 MODEL PRIME MINISTERS
    A Change of Leadership
    66 THE STARS AND STRIPES
    America Enters the War
    67 A BOLSHEVIK BANNER
    Russia in Turmoil
    68 CULLEY'S SOPWITH CAMEL
    The Battle for the Skies
    69 A TRENCH MORTAR FROM VIMY
    The Battle of Arras and Nivelle's Offensive
    70 A TOY SOLDIER
    Mutinies in the French Army
    71 A GERMAN OFFICER'S CAP
    The Third Battle of Ypres - "Passchendaele"
    72 GORDON HASSELL'S TANK MASK
    The Battle of Cambrai
    73 A SIMPLEX TRENCH LOCOMOTIVE
    Logistics in the War
    74 THE "C TYPE" AERIAL CAMERA
    British Intelligence During the War
    75 PRIVATE HIGHGATE'S CHARGE SHEET
    Military Discipline and Deserters
    76 SIEGFRIED SASSOON'S REVOLVER
    Writers at War
    77 JOHN SINGER SARGENTS GASSED
    Artists' Responses to the War

PART 5: FROM NEAR-DEFEAT TO VICTORY
    80 THE FOOD QUEUE
    Shortages and Rationing In Britain
    81 A RATION OF EGGS
    Germany under the Blockade
    82 THE PRESIDENTS FOURTEEN POINTS
    US Peace Feeler and Russian Exit
    83 DAZZLE CAMOUFLAGE FOR SHIPS
    Convoys and "Q" Ships
    84 FIELD MARSHAL HAIG'S
    SPECIAL ORDER
    The German Spring Offensives - Kaiselschlacht
    85 A TOBY JUG FOR THE FIELD MARSHAL
    Generalship in the War
    86 THE RED BARON'S BROKEN ENGINE
    Fighter Aces and the Later Air War
    A BRITISH MARK V TANK
    The Black Day of the German Army
    88 CAPTURED GERMAN SHOULDER STRAPS
    The Last Hundred Days
    89 A WREATH FOR SALADIN
    The End of the Palestine Campaign
    90 AN ERSATZ NIGHTDRESS
    The Collapse of the Central Powers
    91 QUEEN MARY'S UNION JACK
    The Armistice
    92 "HANG THE KAISER"
    The Khaki Election

Part 6: A NEW EUROPEAN LANDSCAPE
    93 SIR WILLIAM ORPEN'S UNKNOWN BRITISH SOLDIER
    The Paris Peace Conference
    94 A GUN TO SHOOT SEAGULLS
    The End of the High Seas Fleet
    95 A NEW STAMP FOR A NEW COUNTRY
    The Birth of the League of Nations
    96 THE OLD KAISER'S CROWN
    Germany in Turmoil
    97 AUGUSTUS AGAR'S BOAT
    The Allies Versus the Bolsheviks
    98 THE FAMOUS NERY GUN
    The Creation of the Imperial War Museum
    99 GUNNER MILLER'S CROSS
    War Graves and Remembrance
    100 A SKETCH FOR THE CENOTAPH
    Enduring Symbols of the Great War

MAPS
FURTHER READING
INDEX
OBJECT SOURCE REFERENCES
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

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