By Martin Evans
Passchendaele is likely one of the so much evocative names linked to the nice warfare. For over eighty years, the conflict has epitomized unnecessary slaughter on an incredible scale. The naked statistics are stunning in themselves - the British, French and German armies suffered over part one million casualties among July and November 1917. Ever when you consider that, a twin of hapless infantrymen suffering throughout the dust and the shellfire has come to symbolize the futility of trench struggle and the incompetence in their commanders. but, as Martin Marix Evans demonstrates during this gripping and perceptive reassessment, a few universal assumptions concerning the process the conflict - and the ways that it was once fought - are fallacious and will be checked out back.
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Extra info for Passchendaele: The Hollow Victory (Campaign Chronicles)
8 Sterne’s map of the irregular zigzagging movements of the narrative in the first four volumes. From Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (Leipzig: Bernh. Tauchnitz June, 1849), 368. Syddansk Universitetsbibliotek. ”47 In this passage and throughout the novel, the graphical space of the text is peppered with hyphens and dashes—straight lines—but they do not connect to form a linear development. Rather they are repeatedly broken off as the text turns now to the right, now to the left.
First, the terrain is understood as a vectorial space, that is, a space that must be traversed and that therefore requires an analysis of the features that either afford or hinder movement. Second, it is conceived as a tactical and strategic space; that is, it is regarded as an element in a military economy of means. A clear articulation of these ideas can be found in Rühle’s Handbuch für den Offizier zur Belehrung im Frieden und zum Gebrauch im Felde (Handbook for the Officer for Instruction in Peace and for Use in the Field) from 1817.
Kant’s reflections on time and space, cause and effect, and the freedom of the will informed Berenhorst’s work, but more than the subjects Kant analyzed it is his critical method that had the greatest impact. ”3 He attempts to apply the critical method to military science, to analyze and establish the limits for what military theory can justifiably say about warfare. Berenhorst’s application of the critical method, however, departs in significant ways from Kant’s critical project. First, the inquiry into the transcendental conditions of possibility of perception is exchanged for an examination of the validity of theoretical constructs; second, the world to which these constructs are applied is not conceived as a stable phenomenon governed by lawfulness.