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Tag: World War One (page 1 of 2)

The Official Histories of New Zealand in the First World War

No full official account of New Zealand’s participation in the First World War was ever published. Only four official volumes were published (1919-1923), and they were written by senior officers who had fought in the campaigns (Gallipoli, Sinai/Palestine, Western Front) but who generally had no training as historians. A useful summary on the genesis of the offical history can be found at Wikipedia.

Although providing detailed accounts of the fighting on the battlefields itself, they did not describe New Zealand during the war, its economy, politics or society, and the home-defence and patriotic efforts, New Zealanders in the naval or air war, and those serving with other British or Australian forces are not included. Despite this, the four official histories became accepted sources for New Zealand’s military effort in the Great War, and have never been updated or superseded.

The official history of the New Zealand Forces was written up in four volumes.


Additionally, the following volumes can be found at the New Zealand Electronic Text Foundation as official histories, which I presume constitutes some kind of endorsement as “official” works.

The Italian Official History of World War One

The Italian Army published its official history between 1927 and 1988 – interrupted by the Second World War – under the title of “L’Esercito Italiano nella Grande Guerra 1915-1918” (“The Italian Army in the Great War 1915-1918”). The history stretches over seven volumes divided into 37 books and is accompanied by panoramic sketches, topographical maps and task orders, comprising about 17,000 pages. Of particular interest to researchers and scholars is a synthesis of combat unit diaries written during the war.

The first three volumes are availabe at the Italian Ministry of Defense’s website, unfortunately only as a page viewer and not as a PDF:

Le Forze Belligeranti – vol.I – covers belligerent forces

Le Forze Belligeranti​ – vol. I-bis

Le Operzioni del 1915 – vol. II-1 – The 1915 operations

Le Operazioni del 1915 – vol. II-2

Le Operzioni del 1916 – vol. III book 1-1 – The 1916 Operations

Le Operazioni del 1916 – vol. III book 1-2

Le Operazioni del 1916 – vol. III book 2-1

Le Operazioni del 1916 – vol. III book 2-2

Le Operazioni del 1916 – vol. III book 3-1

Le operazioni del 1916 – vol. III book 3-2

Volume IV:  The war in 1917

Volume V: The war in 1918.

Volume VI: Instructions of tactics

Volume VII: Operations outside the national territory: Albania, Macedonia and the Middle East.

The Official British History of World War One

Note: The earlier volumes of this work are available on archive org, we will ad the links as as time permits, and as the volumes become available online.


Military Operations

The volumes of the British Official History: Military Operations are as follows:

Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1914

Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1915

Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1916

Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1917

Military Operations: France and Belgium, 1918

Military Operations: Gallipoli

Military Operations: Italy, 1915-1919, Brigadier-General Sir James E. Edmonds and H.R. Davies, 1949

Military Operations: East Africa, 1914-1916

  • Volume I, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Nordern, 1941
  • Volume II, unpublished

Military Operations: Togoland and the Cameroons, 1914-1916, Brigadier-General F.J. Moberly, 1931

Military Operations: Macedonia

  • Volume I: From the Outbreak of War to the Spring of 1917, Captain Cyril Falls, 1933
  • Volume II: From the Spring of 1917 to the End of the War, Captain Cyril Falls, 1935

Military Operations: Egypt and Palestine

Military Operations: Mesopotamia

Naval Operations

Five volumes by the official Royal Navy historian Sir Julian S. Corbett (1854-1922). Sir Julian died when he was completing Volume III and before he had agree to the corrections to this volume. The remaining works were completed by the writer and poet Sir Henry J Newbolt (1862-1938).

  • Naval Operations Volume I: The events leading up to war, organization of three fleets in Home Waters, coastal Destroyer Flotillas, opening movements on the outbreak of war in Home Waters and the Mediterranean, the passage of the British Expeditionary Force to France, Heligoland Bight action, operations off the Belgian coast October 1914,. Cameroons Expedition, Far East, Battle of Coronel and the Falklands. By Sir Julian S. Corbett, April 1920
  • Naval Operations Volume I: Maps
  • Naval Operations Volume II: Dardanelles Campaign, German raid on Yorkshsire coast December 1914, Dogger Bank action, by Sir Julian S.Corbett, November 1921
  • Naval Operations Volume III: Spring 1915 to the Battle of Jutland 31 May/1 June 1916, events in Home Waters, the Dardanelles, Salonika, Mesopotamia (to November 1915), the destruction of the Koenigsberg, the Battle of Jutland. By Sir Julian S. Corbett, 1923
  • Naval Operations Volume III: Maps
  • Naval Operations Volume IV: From Jutland to February 1917 – Home Waters, East Africa, Cameroons, Mesopotamia, the Baltic, Salonika campaign (January – June 1916 and January 1917), German introduction of unrestricted submarine warfare. By Henry Newbolt.
  • Naval Operations Volume IV: Maps
  • Naval Operations Volume V: Early 1917 to the end of the war, German submarine campaign in Home Waters, the Mediterranean and off the American coast, the convoy system, blocking Zeebrugge and Ostend. By Henry Newbolt.
  • Naval Operations Volume V Maps

Merchant Navy

  • The Merchant Navy, Volume I, by Sir Archibald Hurd, London 1921
  • The Merchant Navy, Volume II, by Sir Archibald Hurd, London 1924
  • The Merchant Navy, Volume III,by Sir Archibald Hurd, London 1927
  • Seaborne Trade, Volume I – The Cruiser Period, by C. Ernest Fayle
    The Cruiser Period covers from the outbreak of the War in 1914 through to about February 1915. It chronicles the operations of German surface raiders and submarines in European waters, the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Pacific. There is a heavy emphasis on naval operations and how they affected merchant ships.
  • Seaborne Trade, Maps
  • Seaborne Trade, Volume II – Submarine Campaign (from the Opening of the Campaign to the Appointment of a Shipping Controller) by C. Ernest Fayle.
    Covers the early period of the German submarine campaign from Feb. 1915 to Dec. 1916. It covers the impact of increased German submarine operations, the higher demands made for food and material, not only in the United Kingdom, but for France and the Allies and in support of overseas operations.
  • Seaborne Trade, Volume III, – The Period of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare by C. Ernest Fayle.
    This final volume covers the period from January 1917 to the end of the war in November 1918, a period which saw the onslaught of unrestricted submarine warfare by the Imperial German Navy.

Air Operations

Six volumes of The War in the Air. Volume I was written by Walter Raleigh, who died after its completion. H A Jones wrote the next six volumes.

  • Volume I: Air operations of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign; the Western Front in 1915/1916; naval air operations. By Walter Raleigh.
  • Volume II: Gallipoli Campaign in 1915; the Western Front from the winter of 1914-15 to the end of the Battle of the Somme in November 1916; naval operations in Home Waters to the end of 1916; naval air operations from Dunkirk in 1915 and 1916 and bombing operations from Luxeuil in the latter part of 1916. By H A Jones, 1928.
  • Volume III by H A Jones
  • Volume III Maps
  • Volume IV: Naval air operations in 1917 and early 1918, Western Front from June 1917 (Battle of Messines) to German Spring offensives in March 1918. By H A Jones
  • Volume V: German air attacks on Britain in 1917-1918. By H A Jones.
  • Volume V Maps
  • Volume VI: Events leading to the creation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) on 1st April, supply and manpower, the RAF in Palestine 1918, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Persia, Mesopotamia, russian Azerbaijan, Macedonia, Italy. Actions in India throughout the war, naval aircraft co-operation in 1918 in Home Waters and the Mediterranean, Allied offensives on the Western Front in 1918. By H A Jones
  • Volume VII: Appendices

Medical History of the War

The medical history of the First World War was written by the Colonel-Commandant of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) Major General Sir William Grant Macpherson KCMG, CB (1858 – October 1927).

The US Official History of World War One

The official history of the US Army in World War One is available as PDF as well as HTML. We´ve linked to the HTML versions, but you can easily access the PDF versions from the Center of Military History´s Website.

Order of Battle of the United States Land Forces in the World War

Volume 1: General Headquarters, Armies, Army Corps, Services of Supply, and Separate Forces,

Volume 2; Divisions

Volume 3, part 1: Organization and Activities of the War Department

Volume 3, part 2: Territorial Departments, Tactical Divisions Organized in 1918, and Posts, Camps, and Stations

Volume 3, part 3: Directory of Troops

United States Army in the World War, 1917-1919

Volume 1: Organization of the American Expeditionary Forces
Narrative account of the AEF’s participation in major operations

Volume 2: Policy-forming Documents of the American Expeditionary Forces

Volume 3: Training and Use of American Units With the British and French

Volume 4: Early Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Cambrai Nov 20 – Dec 4 1917, Somme Defensive Mar 21 – Apr 6 1918, Lys Apr 9 – Apr 27 1918, Aisne Defensive May 27 – Jun 5 1918, Cantigny Apr 12 – Jun 2 1918, Château-Thierry Jun 6 – Jul 5 1918 (Belleau Wood Jun 6 – 25 1918, Vaux Jun 26 – Jul 3 1918), Montdidier-Noyon June 9-13 1918

Volume 5: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Champagne-Marne July 15 – 18 1918, Aisne-Marne July 18 – Aug 6 1918

Volume 6: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Oise-Aisne Aug 7 – Nov 11 1918, Ypres-Lys Aug 19 – Nov 11 1918, Vittorio-Veneto Oct 24 – Nov 4 1918

Volume 7: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Somme Offensive Aug 8 – Nov 11 1918

Volume 8: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
St-Mihiel Sept 12 – 16 1918, Meuse-Argonne Sept 26 – Nov 11 1918

Volume 9: Military Operations of the American Expeditionary Forces
Meuse-Argonne Sept 26 – Nov 11 1918

Volume 10-1: The Armistice Agreement and Related Documents

Volume 10-2: The Armistice Agreement and Related Documents

Volume 11:  American Occupation of Germany
Nov 1918 – July 1919;  German Campaign Plans Oct 29 – Nov 11 1918

Volume 12: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services

Volume 13: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services

Volume 14: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services

Volume 15: Reports of the Commander-in-Chief, AEF, Staff Sections and Services

Volume 16: General Orders, GHQ, AEF

Volume 17: Bulletins, GHQ, AEF

The Official German History of World War One

Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918

Published as “Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918. Im Auftrage des Oberkommandos des Heeres bearbeitet und herausgegeben von der Kriegsgeschichtlichen Forschungsanstalt des Heeres. Die militärischen Operationen zu Lande. Berlin: E. S. Mittler 1925-1944”. The work consist of 15 volumes, each supplied with maps, and three supplements, two of which have not been scanned yet.

Note: Even though each of the supplements was named “volume 1”, no second volume was ever produced.


Table of Contents

Vol 1: Die Grenzschlachten im Westen (1925)

Vol 2: Die Befreiung Ostpreußens (1925)

Vol 3: Der Marne-Feldzug 1: Von der Sambre zur Marne (1926)

Vol 4: Der Marne-Feldzug  2 : Die Schlacht (1926)

Vol 5: Der Herbst-Feldzug 1914 1: Im Westen bis zum Stellungskrieg, im Osten bis zum Rückzug (1929)

Vol 6: Der Herbst-Feldzug 1914 2: Der Abschluß der Operationen im Westen und Osten (1929)

Vol 7: Die Operationen des Jahres 1915 1: Die Ereignisse im Winter und Frühjahr (1931)

Vol 8: Die Operationen des Jahres 1915 2: Die Ereignisse im Westen im Frühjahr und Sommer, im Osten vom Frühjahr bis zum Jahresschluß (1932)

Vol 9: Die Operationen des Jahres 1915 3: Die Ereignisse im Westen und auf dem Balkan vom Sommer bis zum Jahresschluß (1933)

Vol 10: Die Operationen des Jahres 1916 : bis zum Wechsel in der Obersten Heeresleitung (1936)

Vol 11: Die Kriegsführung im Herbst 1916 und im Winter 1916/17 : vom Wechsel in der Obersten Heeresleitung bis zum Entschluß zum Rückzug in die Siegfried-Stellung (1938)

Vol 12: Die Kriegsführung im Frühjahr 1917 (1939)

Vol 13: Die Kriegführung im Sommer und Herbst 1917. Die Ereignisse außerhalb der Westfront bis November 1918. (1942)

Vol 14: Der Weltkrieg 1914 bis 1918. Die militärischen Operationen zu Lande. 14,1 Die Kriegführung an der Westfront im Jahre 1918. (1944)

Vol 15: Die Kriegführung an der Westfront im Jahre 1918 (1944)

Supplement 1: Das deutsche Feldeisenbahnwesen 1: Die Eisenbahnen zu Kriegsbeginn (1928)

Supplement 2: Kriegsrüstung und Kriegswirtschaft 1 (1930)

Supplement 2: Kriegsrüstung und Kriegswirtschaft 1 Supplements (1930)

Schlachten des Weltkrieges

A second work of more popular character is “Schlachten des Weltkrieges” (“Battles of the World War”) which drops a coherrent narrative in order to focus on key battles of the First World War. The volumes are generally short, their writing style aimed at the general populace. Nevertheless, they were published by the Reichsarchiv and can be considered as official publications.

The Österreichische Landesbibliothek has put these volumes online for viewing and download:


Karpathen- und Dnester-Schlacht 1915

Antwerpen 1914


Herbstschlacht in Macedonien, Cernabogen 1916*Makedonien Mazedonien

Von Nancy bis zum Camp des Romains 1914

Die Eroberung von Nowo Georgiewsk

Die Kämpfe um Baranowitschi

Ypern 1914

Weltkriegsende an der mazedonischen Front

Der Kampf um die Dardanellen 1915




Flandern 1917


Die Tankschlacht bei Cambrai

Deutsche Siege 1918

Wachsende Schwierigkeiten

Der letzte deutsche Angriff


Die Katastrophe des 8. August 1918

Der Krieg zur See 1914-1918

White the Reichsarchiv focussed on the land war, the archive of the Imperial Fleet quickly started producing a History of the Naval War, having published six volumes before the Reichsarchiv even got out their first. The speed was in parted helped by the fact that the Marinearchiv successfully withstood the calls to include a civilian scientific oversight, which delayed, but much improved, the Reichsarchiv’s work. The resulting work “Der Krieg zur See 1914-1918 (The War at Sea, 1914-1918), written by former officers and admirals, is not surprisingly highly uncritical towards officers and admirals. The whole undertaking was done to present a favourable view of the imperial navy with an eye on a future rearmament, and the books discard or simply ignore any strategic or political review of the Imerial Navy. Its historical value lies more in the vast amount of  details regarding ships and naval engagements.

None of its volumes have been digitalized so far. None of them have been translated as to my knowledge. You can find a more detailed table of contents here.

Partly published by the  Marine-Archiv / edited by Eberhard von Mantey; partly published by the Kriegswissenschaftlichen Abteilung / edited by Kurt Aßmann; partly published by the Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv vom Arbeitskreis für Wehrforschung / edited by Walther Hubatsch; partly published by the Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamt / edited by Gerhard P. Groß.
Publisher for all volumes: E.S. Mittler, Berlin/Bonn/Hamburg

Teil 1: Der Krieg in der Nordsee

Bd. 1. Von Kriegsbeginn bis Anf. Sept. 1914. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1920. XV, 293 S. : Mit 60 Kt., Tab. + Anlagen.

  • Bd. 2. Von Anf. Sept. bis Nov. 1914. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1922. XIV, 340, 1 S. : Mit 38 Skizzen, Kt., Tab. + Anlagen.
  • Bd. 3. Vom Ende Nov. 1914 bis Anfang Feb. 1915. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1923. XIII, 300 S. : Mit 30 Skizzen, Ktn, Tab. + Anl.
  • Bd. 4. Von Anf. Febr. bis Ende Dez. 1915. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1924. XV, 442 S. : Mit 46 Skizzen, [farb.] Ktn, Tab. + Anl.
  • Bd. 5. Von Jan. bis Juni 1916. Textband. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1925. XX, 568 S. : Mit 81 Skizzen, Ktn, Tab. u. Anlagen.
  • Bd. 5a Von Jan. bis Juni 1916. Kartenband. Bearb. von Otto Groos: 1925. Mit 81 Skizzen, 43 Ktn, Tab. u. Anlagen.
  • Bd. 6. Vom Juni 1916 bis Frühj. 1917. Bearb.: Walter Gladisch: 1937. 352 S. : Mit 18 Ktn. u. 19 Skizzen.
  • Bd. 7. Vom Sommer 1917 bis zum Kriegsende 1918. Bearb. von Walter Gladisch: 1965. XIV, 368 S. : Mit Ktn. u. 9 Tab.
  • Bd. 7. Vom Sommer 1917 bis zum Kriegsende 1918. Kritische Edition; Textband und Kartenschuber. im Auftr. des Militärgeschichtlichen Forschungsamtes bearb. und neu hrsg. von Gerhard P. Groß : 2006. VI, 486 S. ; Mit 4 Kt.-Beil.

Teil 2: Der Krieg in der Ostsee

  • Bd. 1. Von Kriegsbeginn bis Mitte März 1915. Bearb. von Rudolph Firle: 1921. X, 290 S. : Mit 12 Kt. u. Tab.
  • Bd. 2. Das Kriegsjahr 1915. Bearb. von Rudolph Firle: 1929. XVI, 385 S. + Mit 62 Anlagen, Kt., Skizzen u. Tab.
  • Bd. 3. Von Anfang 1916 bis zum Kriegsende. Bearb. von Ernst Freiherr von Gagern: 1964. XV, 462 S. : Mit 5 Ktn. u. 14 Beilagen.

Teil 3: Der Handelskrieg mit U-Booten

  • Bd. 1. Vorgeschichte. Bearb. von Arno Spindler: 1932. XII, 269 S. : 6 Textskizzen u. 2 Tab. + Mit 34 Anl.
  • Bd. 2. Februar bis September 1915. Bearb. von Arno Spindler: 1933. XI, 299 S. : Mit 8 mehrfarb. Steindr. Kt. u. 10 Textskizzen.
  • Bd. 3. Oktober 1915 bis Januar 1917. Bearb. von Arno Spindler: 1934. XII, 400 S. : Mit 16 mehrfarb. Steindr. Kt. u. 12 Textskizzen.
  • Bd. 4. Februar bis Dezember 1917. Bearb. von Arno Spindler. Nachdr. [d. Ausg.] 1941: 1964. VI, 559 S. : Mit 15 Kt., 7 Textskizzen u. 44 Minenskizzen.
  • Bd. 5. Januar bis November 1918. Bearb. von Arno Spindler: 1966. VIII, 447 S., 3 Ktn.-Beil. Mit 3 Ktn. u. zahlr. Tab.

Teil 4: Der Kreuzerkrieg in den ausländischen Gewässern

  • Bd. 1. Das Kreuzergeschwader. Bearb. von Erich Raeder: 1922. Mit zahlr. Kt., Tab. u. Anl.
  • Bd. 1. Das Kreuzergeschwader. Bearb. von Erich Raeder: 2. verb. Aufl. 1927. XVII, 459 S. : Mit Kt., Tab., Anl., Abb.
  • Bd. 2. Die Tätigkeit des Kleinen Kreuzers Emden. Königsberg u. Karlsruhe, Geyer. Bearb. von Erich Raeder: 1923. XVI, 374 S.
  • Bd. 3. Die deutschen Hilfskreuzer. Bearb. von Eberhard von Mantey: 1937. VI, 374 S. : Mit 51 Skizzen.

Teil 5: Der Krieg in den türkischen Gewässern

  • Bd. 1. Die Mittelmeer-Division. Bearb. von Hermann Lorey: 1928 [Ausg. 1927]. XVI, 430 S. : Mit Skizzen, Kt. u. Anlagen.
  • Bd. 2. Der Kampf um die Meerengen. Bearb. von Hermann Lorey: 1938. XI, 221 S. : Mit 16 Kt. u. 8 Skizzen.

Teil 6: Die Kämpfe der Kaiserlichen Marine in den deutschen Kolonien.

  • Bd 1. Tsingtau; Deutsch-Ostafrika. Bearb. von Kurt Aßmann: 1935. XVI, 330 S., Kt. + Register.

Teil 7: Die Überwasserstreitkräfte und ihre Technik.

  • Bd 1. Bearb. von Paul Köppen: 1930. XII, 314 S. + Anlagen.

The Official History of France in the First World War

Named “Les Armées Françaises dans la Grande Guerre” (The French Armies in the Great War”), the official French history of World War One has a total of 106 volumes, of which 26 are text volumes describing the course of events (“Précis”). A further 56 volumes (“Annexes”) contain documents, orders and battle reports that are crossindexed with the text. 26 more volumes contain extensive map material covering all fronts.

As of May 2015, not all volumes have been made available online. Unfortunately, none of the map volumes have yet been scanned. We will update this list if more volumes become available in the Gallica.


1° volume: Les préliminaires. La bataille des frontières. Opérations antérieures au 24 août 1914

2° volume: La manœuvre en retraite (24 août-5 septembre 1914). Les préliminaires de la bataille de la Marne

3° volume: La bataille de la Marne (6-14 septembre 1914 )

4° volume: La bataille de l’Aisne. La course à la mer (14 septembre-13 novembre  1914)




1° volume: Projets de la coalition pour 1916, Offensive allemande contre Verdun (21 février-1er mai 1916)

2° volume: Verdun (1er mai-3 septembre 1916). Préparation de la bataille de la Somme. Bataille de la Somme (1er juillet-3 septembre 1916)

3° volume: Fin de la bataille de la Somme et première bataille offensive de Verdun (3 septembre-31 décembre 1916).


1° volume: L’offensive d’avril (1er novembre 1916-15 mai 1917)

2° volume: Les offensives à objectifs limités (15 mai – 1er novembre 1917)


1° volume: La préparation de la campagne de 1918. L’offensive allemande de l’Oise à la mer du Nord (1er novembre 1917-30 avril 1918)

2° volume: L’offensive allemande contre l’armée française (30 avril-17 juillet 1918)


1° volume: Les offensives de dégagement et la préparation des offensives générales (18 juillet-25 septembre 1918)

2° volume: La campagne offensive de 1918 et la marche au Rhin (26 septembre 1918-28 juin 1919)


1° volume: La campagne d’Orient, jusqu’à l’intervention de la Roumanie (février 1915-août 1916)

2° volume: La campagne d’Orient, de l’intervention de la Roumanie aux préparatifs d’offensive de 1918 (août 1916-avril 1918 )

3° volume: La campagne d’Orient, du printemps de 1918 à la fin de la même année (avril 1918-décembre 1918). 


1° volume: Egypte. Palestine. Syrie. Hedjaz. La propagande allemande au Maroc

2° volume: Campagnes coloniales: Cameroun. Togo. Opérations contre les Senoussis.

3° volume: Les opérations au Maroc



  • Précis (1937 ), 1209 p.
  • Cartes, vol. 1.

The Austria-Hungarian official history of World War One

Edmund Glaise-Horstenau (Hrsg)Österreich-Ungarns letz­ter Krieg 1914–1918. Band I–VII.
Verlag der Militärwissenschaftlichen Mitteilungen, Wien 1930–39.

Note: Stan Hanna actually translated the whole seven volumes of this work and added some pretty impressive corpus of notes on top of that. I can only imagine the workload having gone into this. You can find the translated version (including illustrations) online here: Thanks to Jim Broshot for pointing me towards this website.


1) 1914, Text
Read online
Table of Contents and Download

1B) 1914,  Supplements
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2) 1915 / 1. Teil, Text
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2B) 1915 / 1. Teil,  Supplements
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3) 1915 / 2. Teil, Text
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3B) 1915 / 2. Teil,  Supplements
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4) 1916 / 1. Teil, Text
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4B) 1916 / 1. Teil,  Supplements
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5) 1916 / 2. Teil, Text
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5B) 1916 / 2. Teil,  Supplements
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6) 1917, Text
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6B) 1917,  Supplements
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7) 1918, Text
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7B) 1918,  Supplements
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[8)] Registerband
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The Australian Official History of World War One

The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 is a 12-volume series covering Australia’s involvement in the First World War. The series was edited by the official historian Charles Bean, who also wrote six of the volumes, and was published between 1920 and 1942. The books, with their familiar covers, “the colour of dried blood” in the words of one reviewer, rapidly became highly regarded internationally. Bean’s work established the tradition and set the standard for all subsequent Australian official war histories.

Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918

Official History of the Australian Army Medical Services, 1914–1918

Supplementary material


Falls, Cyril, The First World War, London 1960
Farrar, L.L., The Short-War Illusion, Oxford 1973
Hardach, Gerd, The First World War 1914-1918, Harmondsworth 1987
Hart, Liddel, The Way to win Wars, London 1942
Kielsmansegg, Peter Graf, Deutschland und der Erste Weltkrieg, Frankfurt am Main 1968
Neame, Philip, German Strategy in the Great War, London 1923
Reichsarchiv (ed. M. Schwarz), Der Weltkrieg 1914-1918, vol. 4: Die Marneschlacht, Leipzig 1922
Ritter, Gerhard, The Schlieffen Plan – Critique of a Myth, London 1956
Tuchman, Barbara, August 1914, London 1962


The Schlieffen plan has often to be said as the ultimate formula for the total victory. A gigantic battle of annihilation would enable the Germans to defeat the French totally and afterwards deal with the Russians without the French in their backs. Despite this propaganda the advance was not a victory-securing manoeuvre, but a “over-daring gamble” (10), for the advance faced many dangers which made its outcome very insecure and doubtful. even worse, every conscious politician had to see that the attack on Belgium would inevitably bring Britain into the war. Astonishing though it seems that Schlieffen’s successor Moltke the Younger was quite aware of this.

Recent research seems to show that his intention was not to defeat the French (a task for which he thought the available troops to be inadequate) (11), but to hurt them as badly as possible in order to enable Germany to wear them down in the following stalemate (a fact which for example explains the costly occupation of the Briey-Mines in Lorraine, from whose the French had drawn 85% of their pre-war iron production, and who would have fallen in German hands anyway in case of the Plan’s success) This argument can be supported by the somewhat wavering strategy of Moltke in 1914, who rather sought to gain as much success as possible than to adhere strictly to Schlieffen’s Plan.

Furthermore it seems unlikely to assume that all of the German General Staff were so blind to totally ignore the military dangers of a continued advance over 300 miles. So it seems that the Schlieffen Plan was one of the alternatives the OHL pursued in 1914, and who’s aims were a better position for the expected or feared war of attrition. Thus the failure of the Schlieffen plan did hinder Germany from winning the war directly, but it also enabled them to hold out for four years of attrition, which would been impossible if the initial attack had been carried out in the east.

10. Ritter, op.cit., p. 66
11. Herbert Mueller, Des Kaisers Paladin, in Die Zeit, Nr. 28 (1994)

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