Holger AfflerbachNov 9, 2022
On a Knife Edge
How Germany Lost the First World War
Cambridge University Press 2022
In On a Knife Edge: How Germany Lost the First World War (Cambridge UP, 2022), Holger Afflerbach argues that the outcome of the war was actually in the balance until relatively late in the war. Using new evidence from diaries, letters and memoirs, he fundamentally revises our understanding of German strategy from the decision to go to war and the failure of the western offensive to the radicalisation of Germany's war effort under Hindenburg and Ludendorff and the ultimate collapse of the Central Powers. He uncovers the struggles in wartime Germany between supporters of peace and hardliners who wanted to fight to the finish. He suggests that Germany was not nearly as committed to all-out conquest as previous accounts argue. Numerous German peace advances could have offered the opportunity to end the war before it dragged Europe into the abyss.
Charles Coutinho, PH. D., Associate Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.