WWI

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BEHIND THE IMAGE: The Unknown Warrior, 1920

On 11 November 1920, the largest funeral ever held in London took place – and yet the deceased was a man unknown to the hundreds of thousands of mourners who turned out in his honour. Described as the greatest outpouring of grief the country had ever known, the event was the burial of the Unknown […]

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The Hundred Days Offensive: did the British win it for the Allies?

While admitting that Haig was no genius, revisionist historians have argued that by 1918, he was able to co-ordinate successfully all elements of military force – artillery, armour, airpower, and infantry – to achieve a decisive victory in the series of operations known collectively as ‘The Hundred Days’. Does this argument stand up to critique? Chris Bambery tests the case.

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They Shall Not Grow Old

Taylor Downing reports on Peter Jackson’s new WWI centenary film. New Zealander Peter Jackson is known to cinema-goers for the lavish spectacles in which he specialises in breathtaking digital effects, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003) and The Hobbit trilogy (2012-14), both adapted from the novels of J R R Tolkien. He has now just released a remarkable […]

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Shell shock cover-up at Passchendaele

Taylor Downing reveals an official cover-up of mental illness in the later years of the war. It was not just the scale of the physical casualties that overwhelmed the British Army in the summer of 1916 on the Somme, terrible though these were – 38,000 wounded to be processed through medical facilities on the first day […]

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The Somme’s forgotten history

Film-maker Ross Barnwell is crowdfunding for a new documentary drama based on Geoffrey Malins, the cameraman who famously shot footage of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Here’s a sneak preview of the stories Barnwell uncovered while filming.

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Kaiserschlacht, Spring 1918

Could the Germans have won the First World War in 1918? Almost certainly. A quarter of a century later, the tide of war would turn irretrievably against Hitler’s Third Reich in 1942/1943. The massive industrial power of the Soviet Union and the United States combined – still rising towards a wartime peak –guaranteed eventual defeat. The outcome was far more open in 1917/1918.

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Pigeons at Passchendaele

Gervase Phillips reports on the vital role of the ‘pigeon post’ amid Passchendaele’s waterlogged crater-fields. For Major Alec Waley, the commanding officer of the British Expeditionary Force’s Carrier Pigeon Service, 31 July 1917 was a peculiarly tense day, but ultimately a very satisfying one. It was the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres […]

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