A study of the influence of German Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke, 1906-1914.
This book explores the influence of Helmuth von Moltke, Germany's Chief of the General Staff between 1906 and 1914. Based largely on previously unknown primary sources, it analyses the General Staff's role in military decision-making and Moltke's relationship with Kaiser Wilhelm II, as well as the genesis of the Schlieffen Plan and Germany's military and political reactions to the many pre-war crises. Moltke's influence on Germany's political decision-making was decisive, helping to foster an increasingly confrontational mood. The book takes specific issue with the common perception of Moltke as an ineffectual and reluctant military leader, remembered primarily for the defeat at the Battle of the Marne and his alleged adulteration of the Schlieffen Plan. It concludes that he was both bellicose and ambitious, hoping for war 'the sooner the better' and playing a crucial role in the outbreak and early months of the First World War.
Introduction; 1. Military decision-making in Wilhelmine Germany; 2. Alfred von Schlieffen and Helmuth von Moltke: 'military genius' and 'reluctant military leader'; 3. From crisis to crisis: the international background to military planning in the pre-war years; 4. The July crisis and the outbreak of war: the German perspective; 5. The General Staff at war; Conclusion.
Focusing on Germany's Chief of Staff 1906-1914, this book offers a fresh analysis of the origins of the First World War. It gives a fundamental re-evaluation of the circumstances leading to the outbreak of war, showing Moltke for the first time to have been a persistent advocate of war.
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