Great War Bibliography

Poilus Small

Poilu by Gaston Pierre 1917

The following is a list of books, not exclusive used as sources for the Great War sections of this blog.

Purnell – History of the Twentieth Century, Vol 2 (1969)

Originally published a a magazine serial in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Started them when they first came out and I was 9 years old. My interest in The Great War started then.

Leon van der Essen – The Invasion and the War in Belgium (1917)

Detailed account of the German invasion and occupation of Belgium. At the same time an informative primary source for many mainstream histories yet also a piece of Entente propaganda written while the country was still occupied.

Malcolm Brown – The Imperial War Museum Book of 1914 (2004)

Malcolm Brown – The Imperial War Museum Book of the Somme (1996)

Terrible titles, great books !

Lyn Macdonald – Somme (1983)

The Pity of War – Niall Fergusson (1998)

Brilliant and controversial essays about the Great War, especially its economics

Max Arthur – Last Post (2005)

Eye witness accounts with the last few British survivors

Robert Doughty – Pyrrhic Victory (2005)

French strategy and tactics in The Great War

Alexander Watson – Ring of Steel (2014)

Germany and Austria-Hungary in the Great War

Prior and Wilson – Passchendaele (1996)

Alastair Horne – Verdun : The Price of Glory (1962)

Probably the best english language account of Verdun

Norman Stone – The Eastern Front 1914 – 1917 (1975)

Russia v Germany and Austria Hungary in the Great War

Quintin Barry – The War in the North Sea (2016)

The Royal Navy and The Kaiserlich Marine in the North Sea

Edwyn E Gray – The U-Boat War 1914 – 1918 (1972)

The U-Boat war, told from the point of view of the U-Boat crews

Robert K Massie – Castles of Steel (2003)

The Great War at sea

Savereo John 2017

 

 

 

Great War Statistics – The Cost of the Great War

1918isovereign2obv400

 

£m
Britain 7,852
France 5,392
USA 5,028
Russia 5,021
Italy 2,736
British Empire 999
Other Allies 881
Total 27,909

1 Direct Spending by Entente Governments 1914 – 1918 £m

£m
Germany 8,394
Austria-Hungary 4,583
Bulgaria and Ottomans 499
Total 13,476

2 Direct Spending by Central Powers Governments 1914 – 1918 £m

Pre-1914 Post-1918
Japan 20% 13%
France 13% 18%
Canada 11% 11%
Italy 11% 11%
Britain 9% 27%
Germany 8% 12%
Australia 8% 10%
USA 2% 8%

3 Changes in Personal Taxation between 1914 and 1918

 

Government Spending 41,385
Capitalised Value of Lost Lives 14,912
Loss of Production 10,000
Loss of Property 6,658
Loss of Merchant Ships 1,511
Loss to Neutrals 393
War Relief 1
Total 74,860

 

4 Global Cost of the Great War £m

£m
  From Britain From USA Total
Britain 959 959
France 482 634 1,116
Italy 459 354 813
Russia 631 42 673
Belgium 96 76 172
Serbia 20 6 26
Roumania 7 7
Greece 10 10
Cuba 2 2
Liberia 1 1
British Empire + Others 243 243
Total 1,931 2,091 4,022

5 Cash Advances and Loans made by Britain and USA to other Entente Powers £m

 

£m
USA +278.5
Japan +183.0
Spain +84.0
Argentina +49.0
Netherlands +41.0
Switzerland +12.5
Uruguay +10.0
Sweden +10.0
Denmark +9.0
Canada +9.0
Norway +4.5
Australia +1.0
Greece +0.5
New Zealand 0.0
South Africa -0.5
Finland -0.5
Bulgaria -1.0
Portugal -1.5
Belgium -4.0
Roumania -7.0
Italy -19.0
France -25.0
Britain -42.0
Austria-Hungary -55.0
Germany -123.0

6 Changes in Gold Reserves 1914 – 1918 £m

Sources for statistics

Savereo John 2017

 

 

Great War Statistics – British Investment Overseas

railways

  World In Europe
Britain 44.0% 5.2%
France 19.8% 51.9%
Germany 12.8% 44.0%
USA 7.7% 20.0%

1 World Foreign Investment 1913

World = % all of foreign investment worldwide

In Europe = % of which in Europe

Eg. 44% of all foreign investment in the world originated in Britain, but only 5.3% of that was in Europe. France on the other hand contributed 19.8% of world investment, but 51.9% of it was in Europe

 

$m %
Anglo America 6,347 34.2%
Latin America 3,783 20.4%
Africa 2,262 12.2%
Australia and New Zealand 2,082 11.2%
India 1,894 10.2%
Asia – Other 1,329 7.2%
Europe 876 4.7%
Total 18,573

2 British Overseas Investments 1913 $ – By Geography

 

Sector $m %
Railways 7,605 40.9%
Government 5,535 29.8%
Heavy Industry, Mining, Oil 1,720 9.3%
Banking and Financial 1,587 8.5%
Utilities & Communications 501 2.7%
Transport inc seaborne 434 2.3%
Other Commercial and Industrial 1,192 6.4%
Total 18,573

3 British Overseas Investment 1913 $ – By Sector

Sources for statistics

Savereo John 2017

Great War Statistics – Economic

money

World % GDP $bn Per-Capita $
British 23.5% 561.2 1,258
Chinese 21.8% 241.4 582
Russian 9.3% 264.3 1,498
US 5.6% 522.2 4,917
French 5.2% 170.2 1,414
German 4.1% 258.4 3,227
Japanese 3.9% 92.8 1,251
Hapsburg 2.7% 122.4 1,986
Italian 2.0% 97.7 2,428
Ottoman 1.2% 25.3 1,100
Portuguese 0.8% 13.6 925

1 Global Empires in 1914

Columns –

World % – Percentage of world population

GDP $bn – Gross Domestic Product in $billion

Per-Capita Income – Average income in $

People GDP Per Capita Foreign Trade %GDP
millions $bn $ Imp Exp All Trade
Entente (1st Wave)
Britain 45.65 229.60 5,030 16.1% 13.5% 29.6%
Belgium 7.60 32.40 4,264 4.4% 3.6% 8.0%
France 39.77 129.04 3,245 8.0% 6.8% 14.8%
Russia 170.09 265.09 1,559 2.8% 4.0% 6.8%
Japan 55.10 76.50 1,388 1.8% 1.6% 3.4%
Serbia 3.03 3.20 1,060 (No Data)
Central Powers
Germany 66.98 280.00 4,180 12.7% 12.4% 25.1%
Austria-Hungary 47.51 122.39 2,576 3.4% 2.9% 6.3%
Ottoman Empire 23.00 18.30 1,408 (No Data)
Entente (2nd & 3rd Wave)
USA 97.61 517.38 5,300 9.1% 12.8% 21.9%
Italy 35.42 96.38 2,721 3.5% 2.5% 6.0%

2 Main Combatants Economic Balance (Home Territory Only) 1914

Columns –

People – Population in millions (excludes overseas territories)

GDP – Gross Domestic Product in $billions

Per-Capita – Average income = GDP / Population in $

Foreign Trade %GDP – Total Foreign Trade (Imports + Exports) as percentage of GDP

 

Per Capita Income $   Gross Domestic Product $bn
1 USA 5,300 USA 517.4
2 Britain (UK) 5,030 Germany 280.0
3 Belgium 4,264 Russia 265.1
4 Germany 4,180 China 243.7
5 France 3,496 Britain (UK) 229.6
6 Italy 2,721 Britain (India) 204.0
7 Austria-Hungary 2,576 France 129.0
8 Romania 1,708 Austria-Hungary 122.4
9 Russia 1,558 Italy 96.4
10 Greece 1,454 Japan 76.5
11 Bulgaria 1,450 Belgium 32.4
12 Turkey 1,407 Brazil 25.0
13 Japan 1,388 Turkey 18.3
14 Portugal 1,257 Romania 12.5
15 Brazil 1,232 Portugal 7.5
16 Serbia & Montenegro 1,056 Siam 7.0
17 Siam 833 Bulgaria 6.5
18 Britain (India) 753 Greece 4.0
19 China 552 Serbia & Montenegro 3.2

3 All Combatants Ranked by National Income $ 1914

Column –

GDP – Gross Domestic Product in $billions

Per-Capita – Average income = GDP / Population in $

Coal Steel Iron Ore Industrial Output
m tons m tons m tons % world
USA 517 31 42 36%
Germany 154 19 17 16%
Britain 292 9 10 14%

4 Major Powers – Industrial Capacity

Sources for statistics

Savereo John 2017

 

 

Great War Statistics – Casualties

memorial-ww1

Combatant Deaths % Total % Pop
Germany 2,000,000 24.8% 3.0%
Russia 1,700,000 21.1% 1.0%
France 1,358,000 16.8% 3.4%
Austria-Hungary 1,100,000 13.6% 2.3%
Britain (UK Only) 761,000 9.4% 1.7%
Italy 400,000 5.0% 1.1%
Ottoman Empire 375,000 4.7% 1.6%
Britain (Empire) 252,000 3.1% 0.1%
USA 114,000 1.4% 0.1%
Total 8,060,000

1 Total Military Deaths by 1918

Columns –

Deaths

% Total – Percentage of total military deaths

% Pop – Percentage of pre-war population

At Sea / Air Raids 110,000
Belgium 30,000
Roumania 800,000
Germany 813,000
Austria & Serbia 1,000,000
Russia 2,000,000

2 Total Civilian Deaths by 1918

Napoleonic Wars 1790 – 1815 233
Taiping Rebellion 1851 – 1866 3,632
Crimean War 1854 – 1856 1,075
American Civil War 1861 – 1865 518
Prusso-Danish War 1864 22
Prusso-Austrian War 1866 1,125
Franco-Prussian War 1870 – 1871 876
Boer War 1899 – 1902 10
Russo-Japanese War 1904 – 1905 292
Balkan War 1912 – 1913 1,941
Great War 1914 – 1918 5,509

3 Ten Major Wars – Comparison of Losses per Day

Sources for statistics

Savereo John 2017

Great War Statistics – General Military

Military Balance

Military k Navy k Tons People m % Forces
France 3,700 665 39.8 9.3%
Britain 975 2,158 45.7 2.1%
Russia 5,970 271 170.1 3.5%
Japan 800 520 55.1 1.5%
Belgium 216 0 7.6 0.1%
Serbia 200 0 3.0 6.6%
Entente 1st Wave 11,861 3,614 321.3 3.7%
Germany 4,500 952 67.0 6.7%
Austria-Hungary 3,000 222 47.5 6.3%
Ottoman Empire 600 100 23.0 2.6%
Central Powers 8,100 1,274 137.5 5.9%
Italy 1,251 285 35,420 3.5%
USA 140 774 96,500 0.1%
Entente 2nd / 3rd Wave 1,391 1,059 131,920 1.1%

1 – First Wave Combatants – Military Balance in 1914

Columns –

Military k – Size of armed forces in 1,000’s

Navy k tons – Size of Navy by tonnage

People m – Population in millions (home territory only – excludes overseas possessions)

% Forces – Percentage of the population under arms (= Military / Population)

Battleships  / crusiers Cruisers Destroyers Sub’s k tons
Britain + Dominions 59 107 301 65 2,158
France 25 39 83 55 665
Japan 17 34 50 12 520
Russia 4 10 21 11 271
Entente 105 190 455 143 3,614
Germany 36 54 144 28 952
Austria-Hungary 12 13 25 6 222
Ottoman Empire 2 3 8 0 100
Central Powers 50 70 177 34 1,274
USA 31 25 51 30 774
Italy 12 15 36 19 285
Second / Third Wave 43 40 87 49 1,059

2 – Comparative Naval Strengths 1914

Columns –

Battleships / Cruisers – Battleships and Battlecruisers of all types, including pre-Dreadnaught

Cruisers – Types including Light, Armored and Protected

Destroyers

Submarines

k Tons – Tonnage in 1,000’s

Sources for statistics

Savereo John 2017

 

Great War Statistics – U-Boat and Merchant Shipping

U-Boat

Great War - Shipping Losses

1 British and Neutral Merchant Tonnage Sunk (1,000 tons) – by Cause

Britain 7,760
Norway 1,177
France 889
Italy 846
USA 395
Other Countries 1,785
Total 12,852

2 Entente and Neutral Merchant Tonnage Sunk (1,000 tons) – By Country

Germany 187
Turkey 62
Austria-Hungary 15
Total 264

3 Central Powers Merchant Tonnage Sunk (1,000 tons) – By Country

 

Great War - U Boat Losses

4 U-Boat Losses 1914-1918

 

Rank Name 1,000 tons
KK Lothar von Arnauld de la Periere 400
KL Walther Forstmann 380
KK Max Valentiner 300
KL Hans Rose 210
KL Otto Streinbrink 210
KL Waldemar Kophamel 190
KL Walther Schweiger 190
KL Hans von Mellenthin 170
KL Claus Rücker 170
KL Otto Wünsche 160
OL Reinhold Salzwedel 150
OL Wolfgang Steinbauer 140
KL Konrad Gansser 140
KL Robert Moraht 130
KL Willhelm Werner 130
KL Leo Hillebrand 130
KL Otto Schultze 130
KL Rudolf Schneider 130
KL Ernst Hashagen 130
KL Kurt Hartwig 130

5 Top Twenty U-Boat Aces 1914-1918

Sources used for statistics

Savereo John 2017

 

The Battle of Heligoland Bight (1914)

churchill and tirpitz 2

Alfred von Tirpitz and Winston Churchill

Map

Battle of Heligoland Bight (28th Aug 1914)

Entente – 5 battlecruisers, 8 light cruisers, 33 destroyers, 8 submarines

Central Powers – 6 light cruisers, 19 torpedo boats, 12 minesweepers

Result – Entente victory

Losses

Entente – 1 light cruiser and 3 destroyers damaged. 35 dead, 45 wounded

Central Powers – 3 light cruisers, 1 destroyer, 2 torpedo boats sunk and 3 light cruisers, 3 destroyers damaged. 715 dead, 149 wounded, 338 POW.

This was the first full-scale naval battle of the Great War.

By the end of Aug 1914, the war on land for the Entente looked grim. On the western front, the Germans had overrun Belgium, and in the east, they had turned inflicted such a defeat at the battle of Tannenberg that the Russian commander, Gen Alexander Samsonov, shot himself.

The war at sea was a different story. As soon as war was declared all the telegraph cables between Germany and the outside world were cut. A minefield was laid across the Straits of Dover with lanes patrolled by submarines and airships. The North Sea was declared a war zone patrolled by destroyers, submarines and weaponised trawlers. A blockade was imposed on all goods, even food and medicine. Germany’s GDP was the 2nd highest in the world in 1914, but the blockade ended the multi-billion dollar trade with the Americas and crippled the economy.

To counter bad news from France, First Sea Lord Winston Churchill a ordered a flotilla from Harwich to ambush a regular patrol north of the main German base at Willhelshaven.

Attacking in patchy fog, they achieved complete surprise and despite poor visibility, sheer weight of numbers won out and the Germans took heavy losses. In the final action, two German cruisers, SMS Arethusa and the flagship Cöln, were caught by the flagship of Grand Fleet, the 26,000 ton HMS Lion and sunk, with the dead including the German Commander Rear Admiral Leberecht Maas. The British picked up over 300 German survivors before withdrawing, including Wolfgang von Tirpitz, son of Winston Churchill’s opposite number in the Kreigsmarine – Großadmiral Alfred von Tirpitz.

The Entente followed a containment policy in the North Sea from this point on and relied on the long term effect of the economic blockade to cause the most harm to the enemy. By the wars end, 400,000 German civilians would be dead from shortages of food and medicines; the biggest impact came from the end of imported fertilisers which caused agricultural yields to fall at a time when Germany needed to become self-sufficient in food.

The Germans for their part realised the futility of trying to match the British ship for ship. Instead they looked to attack commerce with surface raiders stationed in the oceans and the new naval weapon, and the one for which the Kriegsmarine would become famous – the U-Boat.

 

Copyright ©2017 Savereo John

Great War Statistics – Economic and Military

Military Balance – Population, Size of Military, Size of Navy

Casualties – Military and Civilian

The Economic Balance of the Combatants in 1914 – GDP, Per-Capita Income, Foreign Trade, Industrial Capacity

The Cost of the Great War – Government Spending, Loss of Production, Subsidies from Britain and USA to other Entente Powers

Britain the World’s Banker in 1913 – British Investments Overseas in 1913

Sources for statistics

 

Savereo John 2017

 

 

The First U-Boat Sinkings of the Great War.

Reuterdahl_-_HMS_Cressy_Sinking

The Battle of the Broad Fourteens (22 Sept 1914)

Entente : 3 cruisers
Central Powers : 1 U-Boat
Result : Central Powers victory

Losses :
Entente : 3 cruisers sunk, 1,459 dead
Central Powers : None

Known also as The Action of 22nd Sept 1914, it was fought about 25m northwest of Hoek van Holland over a submerged Doggerland plateau 14 fathoms below the surface. It appears on naval charts as a line of 14’s – hence The Broad Fourteens.

After the disastrous first patrol in the opening days of the war (2 boats lost, no Entente ships damaged), the U-Boats needed a success to prove their worth. It wasn’t long coming.

In early Sept 1914, U-21 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Hersing was sent on patrol to the North Sea between Scotland and Norway. His orders were to harass Entente shipping and gather intelligence on ships enforcing the blockade. U-21 was part of the latest class of diesel-powered submarines commissioned by the Kriegsmarine, more reliable and with a longer range; she had a crew of 29. On 5th Sep, U-21 encountered armoured cruiser HMS Pathfinder near the Isle of May in the mouth of the Forth Estuary, Scotland. The U-Boat attacked and the torpedo struck Pathfinder causing the magazine to detonate and the ship to explode; she capsized and sank within 5 minutes. Total British casualties – 261 dead. This was the first successful submarine attack of the conflict.

Two weeks later on the 22nd Sept, U-9 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Weddingen was making across the North Sea to attack troopships carrying British re-enforcements to the beleaguered Entente garrison in Ostend, Belgium when he encountered three obsolete pre-dreadnaught era cruisers, HMS Aboukir, Hogue and Cressy. Weddingen attacked and hit Aboukir from a range of 500 metres. Not seeing any submarines, the British thought they had struck a mine and the other ships stopped to help. Thirty minutes later as Aboukir was sinking, U-9 torpedoed HMS Hogue, which also began to sink. However, the inexperienced U-Boat crew had fired from too shallow a depth and as the torpedoes left, the sub briefly lifted out of the water where she was spotted by Cressy, who opened fire. U-9 submerged again and, 20 mins later torpedoed HMS Cressy as well. Total British dead 1,429.

During the battle Wenman Wykeham-Musgrave, a midshipman on HMS Aboukir, became the only man in history known to have been torpedoed three times on the same day. He swam away from Aboukir as it was sinking, was picked up by HMS Hogue and torpedoed a second time then swam to HMS Cressy and was torpedoed again. He was found later that day by a Dutch trawler, barely alive, clinging to a piece of driftwood. Dutch steamers and trawlers picked up about 400 survivors.

Weddingen returned to a heroes welcome in Germany, where he was awarded the Iron Cross. He was killed in Mar 1915 when in command of U-29, which was rammed by HMS Dreadnaught in the Pentland Firth between John O’Groats and Orkney killing all 29 men on board.

Copyright ©2017 Savereo John