If you’re curious about what was going on behind the lines of the German forces on the Western Front, then a series of books using documents from the time might be of interest.
Germany’s Western Front by Mark Osborne Humphries, published by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, is a multi-volume series in six parts is the first English-language translation of Der Weltkrieg, the German official history of the First World War (and not to be confused with the Great War game that uses the same title). Originally produced between 1925 and 1944 using classified archival records that were destroyed in the aftermath of the Second World War, Der Weltkrieg is the inside story of Germany’s experience on the Western front.
Recorded in the words of its official historians, this account is vital to the study of the war and official memory in Weimar and Nazi Germany and although exciting new sources have been uncovered in former Soviet archives, this work remains the basis of future scholarship and considered essential reading for any scholar, graduate student, or enthusiast of the Great War. Along with accounts of operations, the book is crammed with maps
The first volume, available now, covers the outbreak of war in July-August 1914, the German invasion of Belgium, the Battles of the Frontiers, and the pursuit to the Marne in early September 1914. The first month of war was a critical period for the German army and, as the official history makes clear, the German war plan was a gamble that seemed to present the only solution to the riddle of the two-front war. But as the Moltke-Schlieffen Plan was gradually jettisoned through a combination of intentional command decisions and confused communications, Germany’s hopes for a quick and victorious campaign evaporated…
The print edition of Germany’s Western Front isn’t cheap, but the Kindle release is a reasonable price if if you’re interested in this aspect of the Great War. Certainly worth using Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to check out your options!
Mark Humphries is an assistant professor of history at Memorial University of Newfoundland where he teaches war and society and military history. His books include The Last Plague: Spanish Influenza and the Politics of Public Health and The Selected Papers of Sir Arthur Currie. His article “War’s Long Shadow: Masculinity, Medicine, and the Gendered Politics of Trauma, 1914—1939” won the 2010 Canadian Historical Review Prize.