Convinced that both God and the Kaiser were on their side, the officers and men of the Imperial German Army went to war in 1914, supremely confident that they were destined for a swift and crushing victory in the West. The much vaunted "Schlieffen Plan" on which the anticipated German victory was based provided for an equally decisive victory on the Eastern Front. But it was not to be. From the winter of 1914 until the early months of 1918, the war on the Western Front was characterized by trench warfare. But the popular perception of the war takes little account of the reality of life "across the wire" in the German front line. A re-examination of the strategy and tactics of the German Army throughout the war, this book also assesses the implications of the Allied naval blockade on the German home front, the increasing problems of food and fuel shortages and the spectres of nationwide disease, hunger and then widespread starvation in Germany. Drawing from diaries, letters, memoirs and regimental records, Ian Passingham provides an illustrated insight into the daily life of the German troops facing the British and French between 1914 and 1918.
Ian Passingham was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and Keele University, serving in the British Army for 18 years before leaving as a major to pursue a career as a professional historian and defence analyst. The author of Pillars of fire (Sutton, 1998), he leads battlefield tours to the Western Front for the celebrated 'Holt's Tours'. Ian lives in Shepperton, Middlesex.