I have just uploaded the Early Cold War Term List and Review Questions on my course website. I have also uploaded the reading questions for George Kennan’s Long Telegram, due Friday January 30.
You may find the full text of the Long Telegram at the link below.
This is the final selection from Guns of August. These three chapters fit together well in a coherent narrative as a concluding section of the book. Note that even as German forces loomed near Paris, squabbling within and between the Allied armies continued,
As you read the final chapter and afterword, you will see Tuchman develop her conclusion and discuss the significance of this history of August 1914. You should now have enough time to review the book, complete your questions, and draft the creative essay.
I have uploaded the detailed rubric for the creative essay response to Guns of August on the IB History Year 1 webpage.
This week’s reading in Guns of August covers the retreat from the Battle of the Frontiers and preparations to defend Paris in the face of the coming German offensive. In this section, I recommend paying attention to relations between French forces and their British allies. How well do these allies cooperate, and what factors hinder effective collaboration? You might also consider comparing and contrasting the generalship of Joffre, Lanrezac, Gallieni, and French.
Another important theme to consider is the significance of Paris. Pay attention to the significance of Paris and the disagreement over whether the city should be defended. Also note Tuchman’s ability as a writer to build suspense, a respectable feat considering that she is writing history (and we already know the ending.)
This week’s selection begins with the decisive Battle of Tannenberg on the Eastern Front. We will spend less time this coming year discussion the Eastern Front than the Western Front during the First World War unit, but it is certainly significant when the longer term repercussions are considered. The following two chapters are related in that they both discuss reasons for the later transition of the United States from a neutral to a belligerent.
This week’s reading includes a lengthy chapter on the Battle of the Frontiers and the opening of the Russian offensive into East Prussia. I recommend reading both chapters with maps handy for reference, since otherwise the geography can get a bit confusing. I found an excellent resource for maps of the First World War on the U.S. Military Academy website:
Chapter 14 covers the series of actions referred to by historians as the Battle of the Frontiers. The next chapter narrates the initial Russian invasion of Germany, explains the circumstances under which Hindenburg and Ludendorff took command, and sets up the coming Battle of Tannenberg.
At this point you should have read through chapter 13, “Sambre et Meuse.” I have fallen a tad behind in rereading Guns of August and keeping up with the blog, but I will update important themes and reading hints through chapter 15 by tomorrow.
As you read, consider the longer term consequences of the delay imposed on the German right wing by Belgium’s courageous but doomed resistance. Pay attention to Tuchman’s character analysis of Sir John French in chapter 12, as it will aid you in understanding his behavior in the following chapter and later in the book when she describes the BEF’s retreat. In the last chapter of last week’s selection, focus on how what Clausewitz called the “friction of war,” i.e., reality, confusion, and hardship, interfered with German, French, and British war plans as the Battle of the Frontiers is about to commence.
This week, you should be reading through chapter 15.