Handbook of the War

By John C. De Wilde; David H. Popper et al. | Go to book overview

2. THE GEOGRAPHY OF LAND WAR

IF THE basic purpose of war is economic and political, the immediate purpose is simply the seizure of land. Land may be desirable only because it commands avenues of trade, like Constantinople, Gibraltar, and Suez. It may be valuable as defense like the Alpine passes. Land may be desired for its mineral wealth, like the Saar, or for its fertility, like the Hungarian plains. Indeed, land conquest may have no value except as a fillip to the pride of the victors. But the fact remains that the only object of a military offensive is a parcel of land.

For the offensive, the ideal theater of war is a broad fertile plain, serviced with standard-gauge railroad tracks. On the topographical map of Europe (see inside front cover) one such plain stretches from the Atlantic Ocean, through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and northern Germany. Back and forth over this damp terrain the aggressor armies have marched for hundreds of years. On this field the Continental ambitions of France, Germany, Britain, Spain, and Austria have at some time come to grief.


THE HIGHWAY OF THE AGGRESSORS

The Low Countries and northern France are the only flat highway for the east-west military traffic. They are also the jumping-off place for England and a landing-place for British expeditionary forces.

-15-

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Handbook of the War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Maps and Pictorial Charts v
  • Note vii
  • 1. What They Are Fighting For - A Rapid Glance at Europe Since Versailles 1
  • 2. the Geography of Land War 15
  • 3. Armed Men 33
  • 4. the War of Attrition 44
  • 5. the War of Annihilation 57
  • 6. Air: the New Dimension 69
  • 7. Ships and Strategy 89
  • 8. the Sea Front 109
  • 9. the Economic Front 135
  • 10. Can Germany Be Blockaded? 153
  • 11. Merchant Shipping 181
  • 12. Paying for the War 203
  • 13. Propaganda 215
  • 14. the Defense of America 227
  • Index 243
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