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.
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 […]
William Kentridge’s The Head and the Load brings to light the experiences of 1.5 million African porters during the First World War. Seema Syeda reports. The past year has seen a whole raft of performance art, poignant memoir, and academic enquiry proliferate across the world stage in commemoration of the centenary of the end of the […]
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 […]
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.
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.
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 […]
As the years draw on, the events of the First World War slowly fade from living memory. Scattered across the globe, the battlefields – once witness to the carnage of industrialised slaughter – today rest in relative peace.
Why did the British fight the Third Battle of Ypres? MHM editor Neil Faulkner analyses the background to Haig’s offensive in Flanders in autumn 1917. The controversy has lasted a century. It will probably never be resolved. The Third Battle of Ypres – or ‘Passchendaele’ as it is popularly known – was bitterly contested at the […]
OCTOBER 1917 Patrick Mercer uses the first-hand account of a renowned junior officer to report on a grim regimental battle fought in the mud of Broodseinde a century ago. Along with Mons and the Somme, Passchendaele is one of the best-known battles of the First World War. The images of mud, blood, and gore are […]