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By Geoffrey Wawro

The Austro-Hungarian military that marched east and south to confront the Russians and Serbs within the beginning campaigns of global battle I had an excellent previous yet a pitiful current. conversing a mystifying array of languages and lugging superseded guns, the Austrian troops have been hopelessly unprepared for the industrialized war that may presently devour Europe.

As prizewinning historian Geoffrey Wawro explains in A Mad Catastrophe, the doomed Austrian conscripts have been an unlucky microcosm of the Austro-Hungarian Empire itself—both both ripe for destruction. After the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914, Germany goaded the Empire right into a struggle with Russia and Serbia. With the Germans massing their forces within the west to interact the French and the British, everything—the process the struggle and the destiny of empires and alliances from Constantinople to London—hinged at the Habsburgs’ skill to overwhelm Serbia and hold the Russians at bay. in spite of the fact that, Austria-Hungary were rotting from inside for years, hollowed out by way of repression, cynicism, and corruption on the optimum degrees. Commanded via a demise emperor, Franz Joseph I, and a querulous superstar normal, Conrad von Hötzendorf, the Austro-Hungarians controlled to bungle every little thing: their ultimatum to the Serbs, their declarations of warfare, their mobilization, and the pivotal battles in Galicia and Serbia. by way of the top of 1914, the Habsburg military lay in ruins and the result of the warfare appeared all yet made up our minds.

Drawing on deep archival study, Wawro charts the decline of the Empire ahead of the battle and reconstructs the good battles within the east and the Balkans in exciting and tragic aspect. A Mad Catastrophe is a riveting account of a missed face of worldwide conflict I, revealing how a once-mighty empire collapsed within the trenches of Serbia and the japanese entrance, altering the process ecu heritage.

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Extra resources for A Mad Catastrophe: The Outbreak of World War I and the Collapse of the Habsburg Empire

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The German divisions were split up into battle groups, to stiffen their allies and to counter-attack. Closing the Ring 48 Misreading our intentions, the enemy held the western end of the island in considerable strength. In the air our superiority was marked. Against more than 4000 operational aircraft (121 British and 146 United States squadrons) the enemy could muster in Sicily, Sardinia, Italy, and Southern France only 1850 machines. Provided therefore that there were no mishaps in assembling and landing the troops, the prospects seemed good.

1 This was no doubt a military opinion of high authority, though one I could not share. But political forces play their part, and the capture of Sicily and the direct invasion of Italy were to bring about results of a far more swift and far-reaching character. The capture of Sicily was an undertaking of the first magnitude. Although eclipsed by events in Normandy, its importance and its difficulties should not be underrated. ” In the initial assault nearly 3000 ships and landing-craft took part, carrying between them 160,000 men, 14,000 vehicles, 600 tanks, and 1800 guns.

Our depleted Eastern Fleet, now based in East Africa, could do no more for a time than protect our convoys. In the Pacific however the balance had turned. The naval superiority of the United States was reestablished, and the Japanese, while trying to consolidate their gains in the East Indies, had nothing to spare for incursions into the Indian Ocean. Much had happened in the Pacific since the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway Island in the summer of 1942. Admiral Nimitz, with his headquarters at Pearl Harbour, controlled the North, Central, and South Pacific.

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