Century to Century: The Great War, American Emergence, Europe and WW I

Wyatt  Reader M.A.'s picture

Actually, wondering about a brief review synopsis found here, on the list from this last British Journal of Military History, about Jutland and the British war at sea, served as spark remind concerned with this larger hand of history that sweeps across the world during that opening decades from our 20th Century, now reaching its climax in this decade from the 21st Century. 1917 marks entry into WW I for America, while only a year later, Europe's 5th year of warfare, 1914-1918 closes out this most destructive change in warfare, ushering in our own modern age and modern industrial war to the human history which became shared this past 100 years.

It was the review about Jutland which prompts this volume reflection by Cyril Falls, along with a couple of other reviews now available on H-War, including the Doughboys discussion. Remembering in The Great War, by Falls[1], a chapter he turns to presenting this naval phase entitled, 'Jutland: The Unresolved Battle', this pause would call attention to his work. He draws upon Churchill's prior published volume, given some criticism by the short British Journal extract. Both should be read to gather a greater appreciation for this moment which did not bring about as Falls states, ".....more the spirit of Nelson...."[2] by Britain chief of the Grand Fleet, Admiral Jellicoe. His analysis of the relative strength recognizes Germany's weaker Fleet under Scheer but the tactics employed by both sides, Germany mining the battle area and Jellicoe's wasting of chances given to him while conducting his running battle rather than a decisive in place slugging match, goes towards explaining how and why this history was brought about as it turned out.[3]

Well worth the reading. For a wider grasp of its meanings, the Review about Doughboys of America and their minds in consideration of WW I and its experiences add both depth and understanding. Falls, entire volume in this historic years commemorative of both Centuries Anniversaries, can contribute widely insights and historical perspectives on this momentous time, whose events set in motion even to our present and still moving forward future historical turmoils, decisions and shape for this 21st Century.[4]


1.......Cyril Falls, of Dublin origin, served in WW I, was an official historian of WW I from 1923 to 1939 and from '39 to 1953 a War correspondent. In 1946 he was named Chichele Professor, History of War at Oxford Univ. Captain Falls, author, journalist and soldier, published this volume in 1959. It was one text used at UCLA in the 1960s by Prof. Harvey DeWeerd, senior staff at Rand Corp., Santa Monica, Calif., Professor of History and Political Science at UCLA Dept. of Political Science. Published by Capricorn Books, NY.

2------Falls, The Great War, Chpt. IV, p. 209, opening para: He goes on to discuss the risks of 1916, greatly different than those faced by Nelson, confronting Jellicoe, including floating mines, submarines and torpedoes. This discussions also observes the position of Adm Scheer's leadership of the German Fleet and the recognized performances of both Navies.

3-----'The Battle of Jutland made no changes in the strategic situation', p.217. Yet, in his concluding pages, Falls recites the statisitices on submarine warfare and how decisive they might well have been had this Battle continued, in terms of losses of numbers of ships and men, especially for Britain. pp. 217-219. Another text, used as a classroom textbook study source.

4-----Important observations include those of the minds and thoughts held in the leaders of these respective Navies concerned with their Battle and its developing tactics and course. This is another example of that importance as presented in the American Doughboys Review, which should not be overloooked and forms part of the entire history of which WW I was merely setting an opening stage for  our followed 20th Century experience both in Europe and worldwide. This latter, the larger geography not only is included in other chapters from Falls, but adds even more insight into developments down to this present historical period and its events, persons and meanings. Much given this year long 2017-2018 end of the Century is likely to follow; including developing material on the H-net Crossroads of History, WW I list. One of these, for certain concerns the end of the Ancient Ottoman Empire, whose prominence disappeared with that end to WW I. This history is still being fomented in the form of today's radicalist attempts to raise another ancient history as Daesh tries to claim descent for its creation and chaos out of this very meaning from WW I's end to the Ottomans.