History of the Great War, Volume 3 - 1923

Front Cover, History of the Great War, Volume 3 by John Buchan, 1923.

Front Cover, History of the Great War, Volume 3 by John Buchan, 1923. GGA Image ID # 18d3d5b0d8

The third volume in this series, History of the Great War, Volume 3 covers the Battle of Verdun to the Third Battle of Ypres, including the United States' entry into World War 1 in April 1916.



LIII. The British Line in the West (8th February-18th June 1916)

Fighting around the Ypres Salient—The Canadians attacked—The Training of the New Armies—The 44 Breaking-point" in War—The Prophylactics against Fear—Death of the younger Moltke.

LIV. The Political Situation (10th February-24th June 1916)

The Operation of the Military Service Act in Britain—The British Budget of 1916—Germany's Finances—Death of Galliéni—Resignation of Tirpitz—America's Ultimatum to Germany—The Easter Rebellion in Ireland.

LV. The Battle of Jutland (30th May-5th June 1916)

The British Grand Fleet on 30th May—Jellicoe's Principles of Naval War—The German Fleet sighted—The Battle-cruiser Action—Arrival and Deployment of Battle Fleet—The Race southward—The Night Action—British and German Losses—The Points in Dispute—Summary of Battle—Death of Lord Kitchener.

LVI. The Austrian Attack in the Trentino (21st October 1915-15th June 1916)

The Winter Fighting in Italy, 1915-1916—Plan of Austrian Staff—Topography of the Asiago Plateau—The Attack begins—Arrival of Reserves from Fifth Army—The Attack dies away—Boselli succeeds Salandra as Prime Minister.

LVII. Brussilov in Galicia (3rd June-11th August 1916)

Change in Russia's Plan—Condition of Austrian Armies— Brussilov's five Battle-grounds—Fall of Lutsk and Dubno—The Affair at Baranovitchi—Fall of Czemovitz and Kimpolung—Capture of Brody—Results of the Ten Weeks' Battle—Changes in Austrian Dispositions.

LVIII. The Battle of Verdun—Second Stage (3rd May-8th August 1916)

Position at Verdun in May—Loss of Mort Homme—The French attack Douaumont—Loss of Fort Vaux—The last German Attacks at Fleury and Thiaumont—End of the Main Battle.

LIX. The Second Year of War: a Retrospect (28th June 1915-28th June 1916)

The contrast of Situations at Midsummer 1915 and 1916—The Test of Military Success—Political Movements in Germany—Murder of Captain Fryatt—Economic Policy and Position of the Allies—The Neutrals—Summary of Year.

LX. Affairs in the Near and Middle East (18th April-25th August 1916)

The capture of Erzhingian—Condition of Persia—Baratov joins Hands with British on the Tigris—Germany and Islam—Revolt of the Grand Sherif of Mecca—The Action at Romani—The Policy of Greece—Surrender of Fort Rupel—Partial Allied Blockade—The Bulgarian Armies attack.

LXI. Rumania enters the War (4th August 1914-1st September 1916)

Early History of Rumania—Centers of Teutonic Influence—King Carol—Bratianu's Tactics—The Rumanian Army—The Cabinet decides for War—The King's Message—Germany's Calculations—Hindenburg and Ludendorff succeed Falkenhayn.

LXII. The Battle of the Somme (24th June-9th September 1916)

The Somme Region—The Strategy and Tactics of the projected Battle—German and Allied Dispositions—The Bombardment—The First Day—The Attack of 14th July —The French Advance—The Crest of the Uplands won.

LXIII. The Battle of the Somme—continued (9th September-18th November 1916)

The Attack of 15th September—Raymond Asquith—The Attack of 25th September—The Weather breaks—The October Fighting—The French reach Sailly-Saillisel—The Battle of the Ancre—Summary of whole Action—Ludendorffs Admissions.

LXIV. Rumania's Campaign (27th August-6th December 1916)

Rumania's strategical Problems—Her mistaken Policy— The Advance into Transylvania—Falkenhayn prepares his Counter-stroke—Mackensen in the Dobrudja—The Rumanians fall back across the Mountains—The last Stage of Brussilov's Attack—Mackensen crosses the Danube- German Occupation of Wallachia—Fall of Bucharest.

LXV. The Italian Counter-attack (16th June-21st November 1916

Preparations for new Isonzo Battle—Fall of Gorizia— Italy declares War on Germany—The Autumn Campaign in the Carso—Death of Emperor Francis Joseph.

LXVI. The Winter of 1916 in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (25th August 1916-29th January 1917)

The Allies advance in Macedonia—Capture of Monastir —Venizelos leaves Athens for Salonika—Disorders in Athens and Submission of Greek Government—Difficulties in the way of Allied Policy—Falkenhayn reaches the Sereth—Rumanian Coalition Government at Jassy— Meeting of Russian Duma—Miliukov's Indictment of the Government.

LXVII. The French Advance at Verdun (21st October-18th December 1916)

Charles Mangin—Nivelle's Dispositions—Capture of Douaumont and Vaux—The December Battle—Losses and Gains.

LXVIII. The Position at Sea and in the Air (19th August-28th November 1916)

The German High Sea Fleet—The Dover Patrol—Germany's Submarine Successes—The "Submarine Cruiser" —British Methods of Defence—Jellicoe becomes First Sea Lord—The Year's Work in the Air—Controversy as to Administration of British Air Force—The Zeppelin Raids on Britain—The first Raiding Airplane.

LXIX. Political Transformations (13th October-7th December 1916)

Effect of Battle of the Somme in Germany—Slave Raids in Belgium—German Auxiliary Service Bill—Proclamation of an independent Poland—M. Briand and his Cabinet —Joffre superseded by Nivelle—Fall of Mr. Asquith

LXX. The German Manœuvres for Peace (9th November 1916-1st February 1917)

Origin of German Peace Offer—The Imperial Chancellor's Speech of 12th December—The German Note—The Answer of the Allies—President Wilson's Note—Germany declares unrestricted Submarine Warfare.

LXXI. The Clearing of Sinai and the Fall of Bagdad (9th August 1916-11th March 1917)

Position of Turkey—The Sinai Desert crossed—Actions of Magdhaba and Rafa—End of Senussi Campaign—Sir Stanley Maude—His Capture of Kut—Fall of Bagdad.

LXXII. The Russian Coup d’Êtat (29th December 1916-16th March 1917)

Rasputin: his Career and Death—Protopopov—The Quiet before the Storm—Revolt of Petrograd Garrison —Formation of Provisional Government—The Petrograd Soviet—Abdication of the Emperor—The House of Romanov—The Gap to be filled—The Failure of the Moderates.

LXXIII, The New Government in Britain (19th December 1916-2nd May I917)

Mr. Lloyd George—The War Cabinet—Problems of Men, Food, and Raw Materials—The British Finances— Labor

LXXIV. The Breaking of America's Patience (22nd January-6th April 1917)

Effect on America of Germany's new Submarine Policy —Diplomatic Relations suspended — American Merchant Ships armed—The special Session of Congress—Mr. Wilson's Message—America declares War.

LXXV. Germany shortens her Western Line (16th November 1916-5th April 1917)

The new Hindenburg Positions—Nivelle departs from Joffre's Policy—Haig's Difficulties—The final Arrangements—The British capture Serre—Beginning of German Retreat—The New Line and its Pivots.

LXXVI. The Battle of Arras (4th April-6th June 1917)

The Arras Neighborhood—Haig's Problem and Dispositions—The Attack of Easter Monday—Difficulties of Weather—Fighting on the Scarpe and at Bullecourt— Summary of Battle.

LXXVII. The Second Battle of the Aisne (16th December 1916-2nd June 1917)

Nivelle's new Strategy—Attitude of new French Cabinet—The Heights of the Aisne—Defects in French Plan—The Attack begins—The Moronvillers Fighting—Pétain succeeds Nivelle—Foch Chief of General Staff—Last Days of the Battle—The French Mutinies.

LXXVIII. Mesopotamia, Syria, and the Balkans (9th January-25th June 1917)

Maude advances north of Bagdad—Escape of Turkish 13th Corps—Capture of Samara—Falkenhayn sent to Turkey—The First and Second Battles of Gaza—Allenby succeeds Murray—Sarrail's abortive Spring Offensive—King Constantine abdicates, and Venizelos becomes Prime Minister.

LXXIX. The Russian Revolution (16th March-23rd July 1917)

The Weakness of Russia—The Origin of Bolshevism— Lenin, and Others—The Soviet Principle—Progress of the Provisional Government—The last Russian Offensive—Brussilov's initial Success—The Debacle.

LXXX. The Italian Front in the Summer of 1917 (12th May-18th September 1917)

The Capture of Monte Kuk and Monte Santo—The Fight for Hermida—The Bainsizza Plateau won—The Struggle for San Gabriele—Cadorna closes his Offensive.

LXXXI. The Third Year of War: the Change in the Strategic Position (28th June, 1916-28th June 1917)

The "Mathematical Certainty" of 1917—The New Factor — Tactical Developments — Landing of first American Troops—The Year at Sea—Gravity of Submarine Peril—America sends Destroyers—Revision of War Aims—Economic Position of the Belligerents—A New Europe.

LXXXII. The Third Battle of Ypres (1st June-10th November 1917)

Haig's Flanders Policy—Sir Herbert Plumer—Battle of Messines—The Preliminaries of Third Ypres—The "Pillboxes"—The Attack of 31st July—The Weather—The Attack of 16th August—The September and October Actions—Capture of Passchendaele—Summary of Battle.


  • Marshal Ferdinand Foch
  • British Battleships in Action at Battle of Jutland (About 6:30 p.m., May 31, 1916)
    From a painting by Robert H. Smith
  • The Old German Front Line, 1916
    From a painting by Charles Sims, R.A.
  • A Street in Arras
    From a painting by John S. Sargent, R.A.
  • Admiral William Sowden Sims


  1. Battle of Jutland : the Area of Operations
  2. Battle of Jutland : Operations of Battle-Cruiser Fleet
  3. Battle of Jutland : Operations of Battle Fleet
  4. The Austrian Attack in the Trentino
  5. Brussilov’s Advance in Galicia
  6. The Battle of Verdun—Second Stage
  7. Racial Map of Rumania and Neighboring States
  8. The Battle of the Somme
  9. The Rumanian Campaign
  10. The Salonika Front
  11. The French Advance at Verdun
  12. The Fall of Bagdad
  13. The New Front in the West
  14. The Battle of Arras
  15. The Second Battle of the Aisne
  16. Operations North of Bagdad
  17. The Palestine Front
  18. The Isonzo and Carso Fronts
  19. The Third Battle of Ypres

Review of History of the Great War

History, they say, can be seen only through the long telescope of years. Yet we must reckon with Thucydides thrilled by the memory of events which he had seen, as well as with the chronicler of Rome re-creating by force of intellect the glory of empire out of its dust.

The theory, then, does not always hold. Something there is in a story of remarkable things by one who has felt their tremor and exaltation, their terror and despair, which the measured historian of after years cannot recapture.

Therefore, one may think that such admirable an example of contemporary (or almost contemporary) narrative as that of Colonel Buchan’s History of the Great War can have a permanent value.

Many characteristics of permanent work it certainly has — beautiful transparency of language, clarity in the untangling of complexities, comprehension, sense of proportion, a dignified but rapid style; while in the high qualities of imagination, feeling, and the sensitive appreciation of the grandeur of the times they chronicle, his solid volumes merit — we would look except only Mr. Masefield's austere story of Gallipoli — the top place among the chronicles of the Great War.

And what a task Colonel Buchan set himself — the outline story of the real struggle. The soldiers are of course in the forefront of his picture; but behind them are the statesmen, their leaders in every country, etched in outline sharp as that which defines the generals; and behind the politicians and the soldiers the vast buck- ground of a world — almost a whole world — at war.

Simply as a problem in narration, the task was superlatively difficult. The author must skip from the Aisne to Archangel, from Tsingtau to ‘German East,’ forever leaving his story at an exciting crisis (like Walter Scott) to take up a straggling thread in the snarled skein.

Colonel Buchan is temperate in his judgments and fair beyond the reach of most men who have friends and enemies to write of.

Tommy Atkins is his hero, but poilu and 'Yank' have a warm place in his affections, while of the tenacity, the courage, and the resiliency of the Germans he speaks, if not as a Christian, at least as a historian.

Even the Russians, whose terrible misfortunes have brought upon them the world's, recall their vast and necessary contribution to the final victory.

On vexed questions, Colonel Buchan is discreet. He emphasizes the western front but does not skimp the 'side-shows.' He upholds the soldier but vents no abuse on the politicians while to the war's scapegoats. Nivelle, Cadorna, Gough, and their mates, offer not immunity but justice.

One should say a word of appreciation for the maps, which in every campaign are almost as serviceable to the reader as to general staff.

Indeed a book to read, to ponder, and to be thankful for. How shallow and empty if the spirit seeking happier things will not dwell on those four years into which centuries seemed crammed.

Ellery Sedgwick. (Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 131, p. 8)

A History of the Great War, with Introduction by Major-General J. G. Harbord, U. S. A., by John Buchan. Boston, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1922. Four volumes. 8vo. xxxii+551, x+578, xii+603, iv+536 pp. Illustrated. Per volume $5.00.

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