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Iron and Blood: A Military History of the German-speaking Peoples Since 1500

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Astonishingly ambitious and detailed…An absorbing overview of how slowly changing societal forces—such as fiscal systems, scientific and technological capabilities, ideological and cultural beliefs, and the social background of soldiers—have transformed the use of military force across modern times. Why I started this book: Interesting approach to German military history, by including all German speakers from 1500 to the present. Yet it also goes deeper, explaining how professional armies, technology and tactics developed, and how experiences of war and soldiering over a period of five hundred years profoundly shaped German society. Moreover, Wilson's treatment of the two world wars and the subsequent division and reunification of Germany is particularly praiseworthy. His book’s geographical scope is similarly vast, encompassing all that once was German-speaking central Europe – lands which extended through and beyond modern Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

I’m also not sure that including the Swiss (because they were German speakers) really works, rather it adds to the loss of focus.Looking beyond Prussia to German-speaking Europe across the last five centuries, Wilson finds little unique or preordained in German militarism or warfighting. g. how Switzerland as we know it came to be, or how the Holy Roman Empire's amoeba X-volved into another imperial amoeba, the Austro-Hungarian.

A very comprehensive tour of German military history from the Middle Ages to modern times (including GWOT). As Germans usually faced enemies superior in terms of men and materiel, their consistent strategy was to strike hard and win quickly. Iron and Blood is a monumental and comprehensive exploration of the German-speaking world from the early modern period to modern times.It’s 5 stars if you want extreme detail of everything from belt buckles to leader whims in a generalized broad summary of the time and region covered. Iron and Blood is a startlingly ambitious and absorbing book, encompassing five centuries of political, military, technological and economic change to tell the story of the German-speaking lands, from the Rhine to the Balkan frontier, from Switzerland to the North Sea. The country now seen as a bastion of peace spends heavily on defense in comparison to its peers and is deeply invested in less kinetic contemporary forms of coercive power.

The author of definitive books on the Holy Roman Empire and the Thirty Years War, Peter Wilson has with Iron and Blood written his masterpiece. And as I said above, there is at last equal attention given to Austrian development: I've only found good looks at equivalent developing of the Holy Roman Empire's military in books written in German. I would never suggest that this is a book not worth reading but it is not one I felt that I had to read. This astonishingly ambitious and detailed 900-page study of militaries in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland is not for the faint of heart. An examination of civilian responses to conflict challenges the notion of Germans as uniquely war-like…A timely book.The concluding chapter didn't really bring the tome's major themes together and seemed an abrupt ending.

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