Review: Germany’s Aims in the First World War (Fischer)

Germany’s Aims in the First World War.

This analysis of the truth about what Willy wanted (as formulated by his Imperial Chancellor) is only a fraction of its original size in the German language, but it’s still a massive effort. It examines in minute detail Germany’s evolving war aims from every possible angle, as the war progressed, and because of that approach it seems to be redundant, but invariably there will be different “Aha!” moments that make all those words worthwhile.

It’s slow going, because of the numerous names, dates and places involved in the structuring of the hegemony the German empire hoped to achieve, but Fischer is a good writer who knows how to bring all this information together into a readable whole. This book was written in the 1960s, but the reader can see the roots of the Second World War, and even the origin of much of the current political state of the world.

Post-war historical revisionism is always dangerous. Its proponents justify it on the basis of the popular belief that “history is written by the victors” (quote attributed to Winston Churchill), but it’s divisive, and it sets people up for future conflict. First World War revisionist history, as promulgated during the Wilhelmine Reich, the Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich, directly led to the Second World War, and it still makes up much of the teaching of history today. Fischer did everything he could to protect the world from revisionist thinking.

Many used copies of this book are available. It’s not for everybody (certainly not for the casual reader), but it’s a must for serious Great War researchers, who will recognize Fischer’s name in works by other authors, not all of whom agree with him.

Highly recommended.

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