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Passchendaele: The Untold Story by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson - Book Report/Review Example

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Of most of the battles that the British armies fought in the First World War, none has excited controversy or has been used to symbolize that appalling character of the fights on the western front than the battle in Passchendaele. This battle is officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres. …
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Passchendaele: The Untold Story by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson
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Passchendaele: The Untold Story by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson

Download file to see previous pages... For instance, the behavior of Lloyd George is presented as unpardonable because of his belief from the outset that the proposed operation to clear the Belgian coast would be as unsuccessful as the previous attacks that had been carried out in the western front (123). The authors are of the opinion that he should have insisted that the British forces remained on the defensive until the American forces arrived, or he would have spurred Haig to come up with a modest plan that was within the ability of the army. The sharpest criticism is however reserved for Sir Douglass Haig, whose insistence launched the Flanders campaign and on whose persistence the British forces marched to their defeat (234). He believed that the German army was not as strong, and as such the British forces would be able to breach the enemy lines, sweep across the western side of Belgium and eventually capture Zeebrugge and Ostend. It is the contention of the authors that there was no justification or any signal that the German army was declining. As a consequence therefore, there was no reason, strategic or otherwise, for which he could have pushed the campaign with the knowledge that he had as of that time. Haig’s plans may have been good and glorious for the British Empire had they won. One thing that was clear throughout the campaign however was that they lacked the way, and as the campaign progressed, they lost their will too. The book clearly illustrates this. They also do not think as they state in the book, that the British army had the necessary means to enable them carry out the Haig’s grandiose plans. The book also questions the intentions of Haig’s judgment for him to allow the battle to continue...
It is worth noting that the thorough use of the original sources about the battle and a masterly account that is clearly supported by maps illustrated Sir Douglass Haig’s extremely harmful and dangerous campaign. For its perceptive account, the book not only manages to give a comprehensive history lesson, it also captures the agonizing pain of the soldiers and the measured undertones of politics in play and leads the reader to his own conclusions on the battle.
Through their writing, Prior and Wilson manage to present a monumental scholastic resource, with a solid grasp of the issues that were involved in the First World War. It is a good read for the policy makers, the civilian and the soldier who follows the commands of the higher ups. The history is well written, well researched and is probably a foundation for several historical debates that would take place over the several years that will unfold. This is helped by the fact that both the authors are good and distinguished historians and therefore their work in Passchendaele: The Untold Story is not only provocative but also very authoritative. It is my belief therefore that this would be a very good recommendation to any person. It is also my belief that the authors should be commended for their balanced convincing and balanced work that not only reveals the devastations of war, particularly the First World War but also the failure by political and military leaders to recognize such horrors. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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