On the night of 7 November 1918, French troops at La Capelle, on the Western Front, noticed a soft halo develop in the fog over no man's land. They heard the rumble of cars, then perceived the vague form of a huge white flag: the Germans were crossing the line to seek peace. But who were these Germans and what exactly did they represent? By the time they had signed an armistice, four days later, not even they knew. The Kaiser's Reich had collapsed and Germany faced chaos, while the war in Eastern Europe continued. This book traces the transition from war to peace across Europe. It follows the movement of armies over the northern plains, their collapse, their demoblization, and the effect this had on the material life of people. In Russia there had already been a revolution. In Germany, there were attempts to overthrow the provisional republican government. In Poland new wars broke out. At the same time, there was celebration in the West at the announcement of the Armistice. And the United States entered European politics with a new part to play. Dallas follows these dramatic events from the perspective of five capitals: Berlin, Paris, London, Moscow and Washington.
In Berlin the cabarets and beer halls are open, while there is shooting in the streets. In the walled city of Paris, the peacemakers assemble to respond to the call for a League of Nations. Pantomime season opens in London, where Lloyd George holds elections and reorganizes his War Cabinet; John Maynard Keynes of the Treasury worries about debts. Contemporaries describe Moscow as a scene of desolation; but Lenin insists on setting up the Third International. Washington is divided between those who want to open America to the world, and those who would prefer the world to go away. The start of peace is more complex and fascinating than the start of war; it sets the habits and builds the patterns of life for generations to come. This book weaves politics, ideas, social life, fears, aspirations and harsh realities into a seamless reconstruction of life experienced at a great turning-point of history.
Buy 1918 book by Gregor Dallas from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(234mm x 156mm x 27mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
There have been countless histories of the First World War, examining the bloody horrors of the conflict itself as it unfolded, enveloped millions and eventually came to a conclusion. Gregor Dallas's ambitious work examines the twisting road to peace and the complexities of its aftermath. At the book's heart is a question that has long intrigued the author: 'How do wars end?' Dallas's exploration of this problem delivers an enthralling history which moves from the field of battle - 'the vast spaces of churned-up soil manured with the dead' - to Armistice Day and beyond. Dallas looks at the differing views on events from the major capitals involved: Berlin, Paris, London, Moscow and Washington. This provides a sense of the varied perspectives of each of the major players. We learn of the 'physical, almost erotic experience' of the Parisian peace celebrations, of bloody post-armistice atrocities in Eastern Europe, renewed conflict in Poland and the arrival of the USA as the new major player in global politics. This is truly history on a grand scale, with a narrative that offers both a broad overview and the most personal of insights. Readers are given a powerful sense of the vast scale of the war, and its intimate details - the political arguments, negotiations and compromises. An epic history of one of the defining periods of our age. (Kirkus UK)
» Have you read this book? We'd like to know what you think about it - write a review about 1918 book by Gregor Dallas and you'll earn 50c in Boomerang Bucks loyalty dollars (you must be a member - it's free to sign up!)
Author Biography - Gregor Dallas
Gregor Dallas was born in London, went to university in America (Berkeley and Rutgers), and now lives in France. He enjoys writing about both the famous and the unknown, and likes to put historical events in their physical place.