Haig's Enemy Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's War on the Western Front

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-05-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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During the First World War, the British army's most consistent German opponent was Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria. Commanding more than a million men as a General, and then Field Marshal, in the Imperial German Army, he held off the attacks of the British Expeditionary Force under Sir John French and then Sir Douglas Haig for four long years. But Rupprecht was to lose not only the war, but his son and his throne.

In Haig's Enemy, Jonathan Boff explores the tragic tale of Rupprecht's war--the story of a man caught under the wheels of modern industrial warfare. Providing a fresh viewpoint on the history of the Western Front, Boff draws on extensive research in the German archives to offer a history of the First World War from the other side of the barbed wire. He revises conventional explanations of why the Germans lost with an in-depth analysis of the nature of command, and of the institutional development of the British, French, and German armies as modern warfare was born. Using Rupprecht's own diaries and letters, many of them never before published, Haig's Enemy views the Great War through the eyes of one of Germany's leading generals, shedding new light on many of the controversies of the Western Front.

The picture which emerges is far removed from the sterile stalemate of myth. Instead, Boff re-draws the Western Front as a highly dynamic battlespace, both physical and intellectual, where three armies struggled not only to out-fight, but also to out-think, their enemy. The consequences of falling behind in the race to adapt would be more terrible than ever imagined.

Author Biography

After studying at Merton College, Oxford, Jonathan Boff worked in finance for twenty years, much of the time in Tokyo and Singapore. Returning to academia at the Department of War Studies at King's College London, Jonathan joined the Department of History at the University of Birmingham, where he is a Senior Lecturer teaching courses on the First World War and on conflict from Homer to Helmand. His last book, Winning and Losing on the Western Front: The British Third Army and the Defeat of Germany in 1918 (CUP, 2012), was short-listed for the Templer Medal and for the British Army Book of the Year award.

Table of Contents

List of Maps
Part I: To War 1914
1. Rupprecht's Road to War
2. The Battle of the Frontiers
3. The End of the Campaign in Lorraine
4. The First Battle of the Somme
5. To Ypres
Part II: The Anvil 1915-16
6. A Difficult Winter
7. A Successful Spring
8. Further Victories
9. Verdun and the Road to the Somme
10. Early Days on the Somme
11. Rupprecht the General
Part III: Holding the Line 1916-17
12. Rupprecht takes Command
13. Autumn on the Somme
14. Scorched Earth
15. The Battle of Arras
16. The Battle for Flanders: Summer 1917
17. The Battle for Flanders: to Passchendaele
18. Cambrai
Part IV: Year of Defeats 1918
19. Planning the Spring Offensives
20. Operation MICHAEL
21. Operation GEORGETTE and Summer 1918
22. The Hundred Days
23. Rupprecht on the Run
Part V: Conclusions
24. Rupprecht the Field Marshal
25. Rupprecht and Politics
26. Last Words
Appendix: Note on Military Terminology

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