100 books like The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918

By Rod Paschall,

Here are 100 books that The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918 fans have personally recommended if you like The Defeat of Imperial Germany, 1917-1918. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Haig's Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's War on the Western Front

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

Boff’s book, impressively researched with extensive use of rare primary sources, and winner of two impressive British book awards, examines the war life and times of Bavarian Crown Prince Rupprecht. In high command on the Western Front for the entire war, Rupprecht remained in position to witness the limitations of Prussian generalship, especially in 1914 and 1918; the growing preponderance of allied strength after U.S. entry in 1917; and divisive home front politics throughout Germany. He lost not only the war, but also a son, as well as his throne, which was swept away in the revolutionary upheaval at the war’s end. 

By Jonathan Boff,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Haig's Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

During the First World War, the British Army's most consistent German opponent was Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. Commanding more than a million men as a General, and then Field Marshal, in the Imperial German Army, he held off the attacks of the British Expeditionary Force under Sir John French and then Sir Douglas Haig for four long years. But Rupprecht was to lose not only the war, but his son and his throne.

Haig's Enemy by Jonathan Boff explores the tragic tale of Rupprecht's war-the story of a man caught under the wheels of modern industrial warfare. Providing a…


Book cover of The Schlieffen Plan: Critique of a Myth

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

Facing a two-front war against France, Britain, and Russia in 1914, Germany opted to strike west first against the French and English; win a quick victory by avoiding French fortresses with an outflanking push through Belgium; and then turn east against the Russians. This operational plan was the brainchild of former Chief of the General Staff Alfred von Schlieffen. In the 1920s, many German generals argued that the inept execution of Schlieffen’s plan explained their loss of the war. Ritter’s work is the classic critique of this argumentation, showing that in reality the flaws of the plan and Schlieffen’s narrow-minded militaristic mindset, not the lesser capabilities of his successors, led to a war of attrition Germany could not win.  

By Gerhard Ritter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Schlieffen Plan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Using a copy of the Schlieffen Plan unearthed in 1953, Ritter examines the man and his plan for the German campaign to France through Belgium in 1914.


Book cover of Tannenberg: Clash of Empires, 1914

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

In this beautifully written, well-researched book, Showalter explains how German generals won a spectacular victory on the eastern front. Although able to deploy only one army group – while seven were deployed in the west – they prevailed in the famous Battle of Tannenberg (1914) against two ineptly led and poorly armed Russian armies. Germany achieved the kind of success that eluded them in the west, but was unable to knock Russia out of the war – in fact, the victors had only bought time against enemy forces increasing in number. Not until the communist revolution three years later would Germany wriggle free of enemies in the east.

By Dennis E. Showalter,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tannenberg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The battle of Tannenberg (August 27-30, 1914) opened World War I with a decisive German victory over Russia-indeed the Kaiser's only clear-cut victory in a non-attritional battle during four years of war. In this first paperback edition of the classic work, historian Dennis Showalter analyzes this battle's causes, effects, and implications for subsequent German military policy. The author carefully guides the reader through what actually happened on the battlefield, from its grand strategy down to the level of improvised squad actions. Examining the battle in the context of contemporary diplomatic, political, and economic affairs, Showalter also reviews both armies' social…


Book cover of German Strategy and the Path to Verdun: Erich Von Falkenhayn and the Development of Attrition, 1870-1916

Eric Dorn Brose Author Of The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany During the Machine Age, 1870-1918

From my list on the German army in World War One.

Why am I passionate about this?

I retired from Drexel University in 2015 after thirty-six years as a professor of German and European History of the 19th and 20th Centuries. My sub-specialty in the History of Technology carried over into publications that over the years focused increasingly on the Prussian/German Army (The Politics of Technological Change in Prussia [1993] and The Kaiser’s Army [2001]) and naval conflict (Clash of the Capital Ships [2021]).  

Eric's book list on the German army in World War One

Eric Dorn Brose Why did Eric love this book?

Foley’s solid analysis of “the path to Verdun,” a horrible battle in 1916 that inflicted a million casualties, opens with an informative discussion of recent work on the Schlieffen Plan that brings Ritter’s book up to date. Next, he provides an in-depth look at General Staff Chief Erich von Falkenhayn’s attempt to win a sweeping victory on the Eastern Front in 1915. Like Tannenberg, however, extensive gains could not eliminate a vexing enemy. Thus Falkenhayn turned to the west with operational plans almost as ingenious as Schlieffen’s. He wanted to smash through the seemingly impregnable fortress zone of Verdun in a week or so, and then unleash additional forces held in reserve against the British farther north. But the French held; the British unleashed a preemptive offensive of their own astride the Somme River; and the Germans had to desperately hold onto their own lines.   

By Robert T. Foley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked German Strategy and the Path to Verdun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Almost 90 years since its conclusion, the battle of Verdun is still little understood. German Strategy and the Path to Verdun is a detailed examination of this seminal battle based on research conducted in archives long thought lost. Material returned to Germany from the former Soviet Union has allowed for a reinterpretation of Erich von Falkenhayn's overall strategy for the war and of the development of German operational and tactical concepts to fit this new strategy of attrition. By taking a long view of the development of German military ideas from the end of the Franco-German War in 1871, German…


Book cover of The Road Back

Richard Zimler Author Of The Incandescent Threads

From my list on survivors of a horrific trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m originally from New York but have lived in Portugal for the last 33 years. I write my novels in English and my children’s books in Portuguese. As anyone who reads my latest novel will discover, I have been greatly influenced the mythology and mystical traditions of various religions, especially Judaism (kabbalah). Happily, I discovered early on that I adore writing about people who have been systematically persecuted and silenced. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment to explore taboo subjects and topics that others would prefer to forget or conceal. When I’m not working on a book, I like to garden and travel. 

Richard's book list on survivors of a horrific trauma

Richard Zimler Why did Richard love this book?

World War I caused 20 million deaths and left 21 million wounded.

Soldiers who survived the gas attacks and trench warfare often returned to societies eager to forget the atrocities of the conflict and move on. Remarque’s insightfully written novel details the struggles of three German soldiers who return home only to discover that they may have no place in a nation that has learned almost nothing from what they regard as a senseless and immoral war.

In May of 1933, this novel and the rest of Remarque's writing were declared “unpatriotic” by the Nazi dictatorship and all his novels were banned.

By Erich Maria Remarque,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Road Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After surviving several horrifying years in the inferno of the Western Front, a young German soldier and his cohorts return home at the end of WW1. Their road back to life in civilian world is made arduous by their bitterness about what they find in post-war society. A captivating story, one of Remarque's best.


Book cover of Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars

Shannon Bontrager Author Of Death at the Edges of Empire: Fallen Soldiers, Cultural Memory, and the Making of an American Nation, 1863-1921

From my list on the memory of the war dead.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor who holds a Ph.D. in American history. I researched several archives in the United States and Paris, France to write this book and I am very proud of it. I was inspired to write this story mainly from listening to the friends of my parents, when I was younger, who went to war in Vietnam and came back broken yet committed to making the world a better place. The kindness they showed me belied the stories they shared of their harrowing experiences and I wanted to understand how this divergence happened in men that rarely spoke of their past.      

Shannon's book list on the memory of the war dead

Shannon Bontrager Why did Shannon love this book?

This may be the book that started it all. Mosse has many books that try to explain the rise of the Nazis in Germany who Mosse and his parents fled in the 1930s. Here Mosse describes how Nazis used the war dead from the First World War in an explicit attempt to harness the nationalism of Germans to support Nazi politics. Winter disagrees with Mosse and developed arguments that are probably more accepted by historians today but, for me, that doesn’t take away from the power of Mosse’s argument. Even though I don’t always agree with Mosse’s analysis, I can’t help but be engrossed by his writing, his passion, and his ability to describe how the war dead could be used as political weapons. 

By George L. Mosse,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fallen Soldiers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Millions were killed and maimed in the senseless brutality of the First World War, but once the armistice was signed the realities were cleansed of their horror by the nature of the burial and commemoration of the dead. In the interwar period, war monuments and cemeteries provided the public with places of worship and martyrs for the civic religion of nationalism. The cult of the fallen soldier blossomed in Germany and other European countries, and people seemed to
build war into their lives as a necessary and glorious event - a proof of manhood and loyalty to the flag. Ultimately…


Book cover of War of Attrition: Fighting the First World War

Tim Cook Author Of The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War

From my list on the Great War and why it haunts us.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum. Since 2002, he has curated the permanent First World War gallery of the CWM, which has been visited by an estimated 8 million people, and he has created many temporary, traveling, and digital exhibitions. He is also the author or editor of 13 books of Canadian military history. For his contributions to the study of Canadian history, he is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada. He has selected five books that cover the scope of the war, from its origins to the legacy.

Tim's book list on the Great War and why it haunts us

Tim Cook Why did Tim love this book?

This brilliant book pulls together many strands of the war, as presented through the lens of attrition. In his sweeping narrative, Philpott focuses on the land war – how it was fought and why, and how it evolved over 4 years – but War of Attrition also examines the politics and diplomacy of war, and the war at sea, in the air, and at home. Pound for pound, the best book yet written on the war-fighting years.

By William Philpott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War of Attrition as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Best Non-Fiction Book of 2014!The Great War of 1914-1918 was the first mass conflict to fully mobilize the resources of industrial powers against one another, resulting in a brutal, bloody, protracted war of attrition between the world's great economies. Now, one hundred years after the first guns of August rang out on the Western front, historian William Philpott reexamines the causes and lingering effects of the first truly modern war. Drawing on the experience of front line soldiers, munitions workers, politicians, and diplomats, War of Attrition explains for the first time why and how this new…


Book cover of Absolute Destruction: Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial Germany

Helmut Walser Smith Author Of Germany: A Nation in Its Time: Before, During, and After Nationalism, 1500-2000

From my list on Imperial Germany before World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of modern Germany at Vanderbilt University and have followed this field for more than thirty years. After a bit of respite, interest in Imperial Germany is suddenly chic again, as 2021 Germany looks back on the past 150 years of its unification in 1871. These five books, all published since 2000, are major recent contributions to the history of Imperial Germany’s prewar period; they also raise questions about the extent to which this conflict-ridden era represents a distant if imperfect mirror for our own contentious times.

Helmut's book list on Imperial Germany before World War I

Helmut Walser Smith Why did Helmut love this book?

No one has dissected the military culture of the German Army with such a sharp analytical scalpel as Isabel Hull. This book, “a study in institutional extremism,” takes us deep into the mind of the German military. Hull argues that since the Franco-German War of 1870, German military leaders began to conceive of war as not over until complete military victory was obtained. This insight led her to the controversial contention that Germany’s large-scale slaughter of the Herero and Nama in Southwest Africa was not primarily a result of racism or of genocidal impulses in German culture generally, but of operational doctrine.

By Isabel V. Hull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Absolute Destruction as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a book that is at once a major contribution to modern European history and a cautionary tale for today, Isabel V. Hull argues that the routines and practices of the Imperial German Army, unchecked by effective civilian institutions, increasingly sought the absolute destruction of its enemies as the only guarantee of the nation's security. So deeply embedded were the assumptions and procedures of this distinctively German military culture that the Army, in its drive to annihilate the enemy military, did not shrink from the utter destruction of civilian property and lives. Carried to its extreme, the logic of "military…


Book cover of All Quiet on the Western Front

Anne Montgomery Author Of Your Forgotten Sons

From my list on depicting war without glorifying it.

Why am I passionate about this?

The night before my dear friend Gina faced a delicate surgery that could have left her paralyzed from the waist down, she handed me a ziplock bag containing yellowed letters dating back to World War II. “No matter what happens to me, I want you to tell Bud’s story,” she said. “Promise me!” And so I did. What followed was a deep dive into what had happened to Gina’s uncle, Sergeant Bud Richardville, a young man drafted into the Army as the U.S. prepared to enter the war in Europe. 

Anne's book list on depicting war without glorifying it

Anne Montgomery Why did Anne love this book?

Once upon a time, war was portrayed as glorious. Smartly-dressed soldiers strutted off to battle as admiring crowds cheered their departure. But then came Erich Maria Remarque’s stunning semi-autographical rebuke. Remarque was conscripted into the Imperial German Army at 18 and was wounded in the poisonous trenches of World War I. While he survived, like many, he did not return home unscathed.  

This book centers around young Paul Bäumer, an idealistic German boy raised in a picturesque village where patriotic speeches in school romanticize war and urge young men to sign up and fight for the Fatherland. He and his friends do just that and soon find themselves mired in the horrific conditions of trench warfare, a new kind of battle where little ground is ever made, and men die in all sorts of miserable ways.

As Paul and his peers struggle to do their duty, they succumb physically and…

By Erich Maria Remarque, Arthur Wesley Wheen (translator),

Why should I read it?

12 authors picked All Quiet on the Western Front as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story is told by a young 'unknown soldier' in the trenches of Flanders during the First World War. Through his eyes we see all the realities of war; under fire, on patrol, waiting in the trenches, at home on leave, and in hospitals and dressing stations. Although there are vividly described incidents which remain in mind, there is no sense of adventure here, only the feeling of youth betrayed and a deceptively simple indictment of war - of any war - told for a whole generation of victims.


Book cover of Advertising Empire: Race and Visual Culture in Imperial Germany

Helmut Walser Smith Author Of Germany: A Nation in Its Time: Before, During, and After Nationalism, 1500-2000

From my list on Imperial Germany before World War I.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian of modern Germany at Vanderbilt University and have followed this field for more than thirty years. After a bit of respite, interest in Imperial Germany is suddenly chic again, as 2021 Germany looks back on the past 150 years of its unification in 1871. These five books, all published since 2000, are major recent contributions to the history of Imperial Germany’s prewar period; they also raise questions about the extent to which this conflict-ridden era represents a distant if imperfect mirror for our own contentious times.

Helmut's book list on Imperial Germany before World War I

Helmut Walser Smith Why did Helmut love this book?

Full with arresting interpretations of visual material, this book shows how modern advertising subtly influenced racist templates. The prose is carefully-wrought and elegant. The dissection of racist images is done with patience and subtlety. And in the process, we learn how,  in the age of high imperialism, advertising reinforced ordinary racism and white supremacy became a default position.

By David Ciarlo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Advertising Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany turned toward colonialism, establishing protectorates in Africa, and toward a mass consumer society, mapping the meaning of commodities through advertising. These developments, distinct in the world of political economy, were intertwined in the world of visual culture.

David Ciarlo offers an innovative visual history of each of these transformations. Tracing commercial imagery across different products and media, Ciarlo shows how and why the "African native" had emerged by 1900 to become a familiar figure in the German landscape, selling everything from soap to shirts to coffee. The racialization of black figures, first…


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