Ring of Steel

Ring of Steel

Alexander Watson

History

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914 ignited a Central Europe already deeply divided by political hostility. The Habsburgs felt Serbia threatening at every turn, challenging their power in the Balkans and their status as a great power. After two decades of inept, saber-rattling Weltpolitik, Germany, their closest ally, found itself diplomatically isolated and militarily outgunned on land and sea. War was an opportunity for both nations to turn around their declining fortunes, and reestablish themselves as major power players. The key to this much-needed victory would be popular support—support the Central Powers' governments would lie to gain, and struggle unsuccessfully to keep. In Ring of Steel, award-winning historian Alexander Watson explores the experiences of the German and Austro-Hungarian peoples and the ordeals that they faced at home and on the battlefield, showing how wartime suffering undermined their fragile support for the war and...
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