Re: THE GUNS OF AUGUST
This is what i have read in other sources, and whether or not you'll forgive, i'll stick with the authority of others absent a certainty of the authority with which you write. After all, i'm sure you apply the same standard to what i write. As Archduke, Ferdinand held the command capacity by long Habsburg tradition--and he was the Inspector General, and as such, had control of the Kaiserliches und Königliches Armee, but to simply describe him as commander is more likely to communicate his importance to the non-specialist. When Friedrich II faced Austrian armies, their nominal commander was the Archduke Karl, even though the functional commander was Daun or Traun or Lacey. I see nothing wrong with having written as i did.
Archduke Karl? You may have Prince Charles of Lorraine confused with the commander who led the Austrian armies during the Napoleonic wars. Prince Charles was never an archduke, since he was not a member of the House of Habsburg.
In any event, it may have been true that the inspector-general was the de facto
commander of the army in the eighteenth century. In 1914, however, it is quite certain that he was not.
How very petty is your quibble.
Mind if I use that? One meets with so many petty quibblers on this board, one finds oneself in frequent need of a devastating retort.
I refer you to The Guns of Krupp. I don't have it hand, but i recall that this is how Manchester describes these guns.
I don't have it at hand either, but if Manchester describes the "Big Bertha" as a mortar, then he is wrong.
Edit: "Up until that time, no soldier had been aware of the existence of the 42 centimeter mortars." From German Deserter's War Experience, 1917
. This one of the 162 hits i got when i typed "42 centimeter mortar" in the Google search window.
Had you run a search on "42 centimeter howitzer"
you would have come up with far more reliable sources of information than the memoirs of a German deserter -- a sapper, no less, not even a member of the artillery branch. As for the basic difference between a howitzer and a mortar, I refer you to Adrian
As for your contradiction of Marshall, i'll take his interpretation over yours.
As you will. I would only note that Marshall's scholarship, when it hasn't been called into question
, has been largely superseded by authors who have written since the 1970s.
As for my language about his superiors, i was surprised to learn that you consider that the Chief of the Imperial Staff to have been equal or superior to the Imperial Chancellor, the Foreign Minister and the host of public officials and party leaders such as Ebert and Erzbergert, who all would have been concerned in any decision to negotiate an end to the war. My slack description is not a justification for your rejection out of hand of Marshall's thesis. Given Marshall's credentials, i'll stick with what he writes.
Kaiser Wilhelm held the absolute Kommandogewalt
: the chief of the general staff reported directly to him. The chancellor could neither hire nor fire Falkenhayn, nor could any other civil official. It's not that Falkenhayn was superior to Bethmann-Hollweg: on an organizational chart, they would have been at the same level -- one step below the Kaiser.
As for Ebert and Erzberger, they couldn't have fired Falkenhayn even if they wanted to, since he was dismissed as chief of the general staff in August 1916 and retired in early 1918.