Who's Who in World War One

Who's Who in World War One

Who's Who in World War One

Who's Who in World War One

Excerpt

The First World War was one of the seminal events of the twentieth century. It was global in scale. Major land fighting took place in France and Belgium, eastern Europe, Italy, the Balkans, the Caucasus, Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia (modern Iraq), East and South West Africa and on the Gallipoli peninsula. Surface fleets and submarines contested naval supremacy in the North Sea, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, the Mediterranean, the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea. In all theatres air power became an increasing factor in the successful conduct of military operations. Armies were counted in millions and so were their losses. Nearly 8M service men were killed and more than 21M wounded. The war cast a shadow of grief, bereavement and pain that still darkens many lives. The insatiable demands of war extended far beyond the battlefields, not only to the factories and farms of the belligerents but also to those of neutral countries and colonies. Great Britain and France were imperial powers with access to global resources of manpower, raw materials and food. The 'British' army eventually recruited 1.6M Indians, 630,000 Canadians, 412,000 Australians, 136,000 South Africans, 130,000 New Zealanders and around 50,000 Africans, as well as several hundred thousand Chinese 'coolies'. The 'French' army recruited 600,000 North and West Africans as combat troops and a further 200,000 as labourers. The political and economic impact of this global mobilisation was immense. The map of the world, and especially of Europe, was redrawn. Monarchical authoritarianism suffered an historic and irreversible defeat. 'Third World' nationalism began to stir, encouraged by the emergence of the first workers' state in the Soviet Union. Few who lived through the era doubted that the world had changed for ever.

This Who's Who contains almost a thousand biographies. The leading political and military figures of the major belligerent powers are naturally represented: heads of state; commanders-in-chief; senior army and navy commanders. But a biographical dictionary restricted to them would do scant justice to the individual human impact of the war and to the importance of individual human agency. A conscious attempt has been made to include 'lesser' figures who nevertheless made important contributions to the prosecution of the war, not only as soldiers,

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