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Download The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918 epub

by Eric Dorn Brose

This volume covers a fascinating period in the history of the German army, a time in which machine guns, airplanes, and weapons of mass destruction were first developed and used. Eric Brose traces the industrial development of machinery and its application to infantry, cavalry, and artillery tactics. He examines the modernity versus anti-modernity debate that raged after the Franco-Prussian war, arguing that the residue of years of resistance to technological change seriously undermined the German army during World War I.
Download The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918 epub
ISBN: 0195143353
ISBN13: 978-0195143355
Category: History
Subcategory: Military
Author: Eric Dorn Brose
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 25, 2001)
Pages: 336 pages
ePUB size: 1806 kb
FB2 size: 1500 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 575
Other Formats: lit txt lrf txt

interactive man
I just read Eric Dorn Brose's "The Kaiser's Army: The Politics of Military Technology in Germany during the Machine Age, 1870-1918" for a PhD course I'm taking on World War I. Brose's thesis is quite interesting- that the German army leading up to World War I was not the monolithic entity in total synchronization with the Schlieffen Plan. Rather, Brose wrote, the German army was made up of many factions that all had different visions of what the "next war" would look like. Many Junkers, the aristocratic military conservatives, Brose argues, believed that the war to come would be won in the same fashion as the Franco-Prussian War, with massed infantry attacks, cavalry ready to exploit a breakthrough, and massive casualties that would ultimately lead to victory. On the other hand, Brose wrote, the new, younger, technical specialists such as those in the artillery called for modernization of weapons and tactics. They foresaw the dangers of the 20th century battlefield and called for new ways to exploit new technologies for themselves and mitigate the worst aspects that would be thrown against them. The Junkers opposed the new ideas because they were largely put forth by the technocrats that came form the middle classes, and therefore they were shoved to the side and ignored. The erratic Kaiser, with what power he had, was increasingly likely to listen to the last person he talked to. Though his love of the grand cavalry charge at maneuvers usually made him more inclined to favor that aristocratic-dominated branch. Brose notes the belated and grudging development of the machine gun and the militarized airplane, and heavy artillery as well.

The last two chapters deal with the army in action during World War I, in which Brose attempts to prove that the decisions made in the decades preceding the Great War negatively impacted its performance in the conflict. Here, he is partially successful but stumbles at times when tries to attribute every setback to these decisions, as though the Germans did not improvise well at all during the war, and did not make up for their shortcomings in many areas. All told, however, this is a must read for anyone interested in the German march toward World War I, or anyone concerned with questions of the advance of military technology throughout history.
I found this book very interesting because it illustrated how the inner workings of the various top-level staffs plus the Kaiser set Germany up to lose the war.
Brose's style of writing is very good and holds one's interest.
The Kaiser's Army is rigorously researched but horribly analyzed. Brose blames feudalistic, blue-blooded, aristocratic, reactionary technophobes and the middle-class bourgeois who aped them for supposedly ignoring the impact of technology in the pursuit of chivalric glory (yes, Brose actually uses quasi-marxist terminology to the point of parody). The author does not seem to understand the practical issues involved in resolving the paradoxes between dispersion and tactical control, or decentralization and coordination, all without handy and reliable radios.

Echevarria's After Clausewitz was actually published before The Kaiser's Army, but feels like a successful refutation of Brose's effort. Spend your money there.

EDIT, 7 JUNE 2017: Having read The Mons Myth, Brose actually could be considered a counter-balance to some of Zuber's more fan boy fancies, but I'd still go with Echevarria.
A serious book of military history. This superbly researched book on the German military is not for the casual reader of military history. The Kaiser's Army is an in-depth discussion of German military reforms during the end of the 19th century. It describes Germany's attempts to move from a traditional to a modern army as technological advances race forward. The description of the various debates between reformers and traditionalists is excellent. The book is a great study in how a large organization, The Germany Army, struggles with change. The sections dealing with the birth of small unit tactics is worthy of merit. The only draw back is the last quarter of the book when the author falls into a history of World War I. The author covers too much general history of the War and not enough focus on what made the rest of the book so good, the role of technology and military reform. I recommend this book for any serious follower of European military history.
Overall the book could have been a great estimate of the military capability of german armies, but the author seems to have an agenda against the german general staff.Some aspects of the criticism like the aristocracy and the lack of appreciation of modern infantry tactics might have some truth in it, but the accusation that germans lagged behind in artillery is quite shocking to say the least.If nothing else the author should have consulted general Herr's book ( insecptor general of french artillery).Herr clearly points out the superority of german heavy artillery and howitzers.Even in terms of field artillery the diffrence was not so significant as is claimed by the author.
The most blatant trait of Brose is his exceedingly negative portrayal of the German forces. To argue that the reason for Germany's' defeat rests on decades of slow acceptance of new technology is foolish. For instance, Brose fails to mention the superiority of German heavy artillery during the first few years of the Great War. Furthermore, it appears Brose is incapable of writing Kaiser Wilhelm II when referring to the German monarch. Calling the monarch Kaiser William is nothing short of arrogance.

If you want a fair assessment of the Imperial German Army look elsewhere.