Many historians attribute the seemingly sudden collapse of Germany and her Central Powers allies in 1918, not to defeats on the battlefields of the western front, but to the disastrous cumulative effects of the British blockade of Germany’s ports and coastline. This massive volume – kept strictly secret until as recently as 1960 – is the official history of the blockade that brought the Kaiser’s proud Reich to its knees. Germany, hoping to knock out France and end the war in weeks, was ill prepared for a long conflict in which economic factors would come to play a decisive role. Totally dependent on the import of food and raw materials, Germany was supremely vulnerable to the Royal Navy choking off its lifelines. After the Battle of Jutland in 1916 had confined Germany’s High Seas Fleet to port, the tightening blockade became ever more effective, progressively causing the regulation of food prices, rationing, and finally the dreadful ‘Turnip Winter’ of 1917 in which its hungry population was reduced to eating the eponymous vegetable, and brewing ersatz coffee from acorns. 750,000 Germans starved to death, and the collapse in civilian morale led to social revolution, mutinies in the Fleet and Army, and finally to Germany sueing for armistice terms.
As we mark the centenary of the war, this previously restricted and hugely detailed record is of crucial importance to our understanding one of of the vital factors that finally brought Allied victory.
HISTORY OF THE BLOCKADE OF GERMANY AND OF THE COUNTRIES ASSOCIATED WITH HER IN THE GREAT WAR: AUSTRIA-HUNGARY, BULGARIA AND TURKEY 1914-1918
Kept secret until as late as 1960, this massive volume is the official history of the British blockade of Germany and her allies in the Great War. Most historians attribute the increasingly effective blockade to Germany’s complete collapse in 1918, after its hungry population were reduced to eating turnips and starved to death in their hundreds of thousands. An indispensable historical record crucial to our understanding of the Great War.