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Book Review: Haig’s Enemy

By HistoryNet Staff
10/25/2018 • Military History Book Reviews

Haig’s Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany’s War on the Western Front, by Jonathan Boff, Oxford University Press, U.K., 2018, $34.95

Crown Prince Rupprecht, heir to the throne of Bavaria, spent more time fighting the British Expeditionary Force than any senior German commander of World War I. He was the nemesis of BEF commanders Sir John French and Douglas Haig. Rupprecht commanded the Sixth Army at Ypres in 1914 and Artois in 1915. In 1916, as commander of Army Group Rupprecht, he fought the British during the latter part of the BEF’s Somme offensive. The next year Rupprecht’s group fought the BEF at Arras, Vimy Ridge and the Third Battle of Ypres. In March 1918 Rupprecht commanded two of the three German field armies during Operation Michael, and the next month he led both German armies during Operation Georgette, which nearly drove the BEF into the sea.

After the war Rupprecht published his three-volume personal war diary, which remains one of the important German sources among World War I historians. Yet, it was never translated into English, and no major assessment of Rupprecht was ever published in English. That is odd, as the memoirs of Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, General Erich Ludendorff and even German Crown Prince Wilhelm, who’d hardly fought the BEF, were translated and published in London almost as soon as they appeared in German. Finally, on the centennial of war’s end, Jonathan Boff has given us a long-overdue assessment of Rupprecht in English.

Boff’s scholarship is impeccable, his writing smooth and accessible. Drawing from the unedited manuscript version of Rupprecht’s war diary and a range of records in Munich’s Bavarian War Archives, he gives us a vivid picture of a German noble/senior commander who was anything but the dilettante typified by his Prussian counterpart, Wilhelm. Rupprecht also had one of the most brilliant chiefs of staff the German army ever produced, General Hermann von Kuhl, who held a doctorate in history. Together they were a formidable team, fighting the British every step of the way until November 1918.

No serious student of the war can afford to ignore this book, which fills the most significant gap in the historiography of World War I.

—David T. Zabecki

3 Responses to Book Review: Haig’s Enemy

  1. Dean Jackson says:

    “Trust but VERIFY” – President Ronald Reagan’s watch phrase when dealing with the USSR…

    The West conspired to not VERIFY the ‘collapse’ of the USSR, even though the survival of the West depended on verification should the ‘collapse’ be a ruse, which proves (1) there was no ‘collapse’ of the USSR, because if there had been a ‘collapse’ the West would have immediately VERIFIED the ‘collapse’; and (2) the West’s institutions were co-opted by Marxists,* explaining the West’s enabling of the fake ‘collapse’ of the USSR…quod erat demonstrandum.

    The World War I Allies never did immediately send a naval expedition to Petrograd to easily topple Lenin & Bolshevik’s November 7, 1917 coup,** thereby promptly returning Russia to the war, Russia’s involvement in the war being a critical variable for the Allies’ victory strategy against the Central Powers, proving (1) that the Allies knew they were going to win the war; (2) that the war was set up to (a) weaken the West’s influence in the world; (b) weaken the West’s people’s confidence in their institutions and what those institutions stood for; and (3) one objective of the war was to settle into power the first above board Marxist state, with more to follow. In fact, there already was an anti-Marxist force in Russia at the time that if ordered would have conquered all of Bolshevik Russia during this period when the Bolsheviks were very weak. The unit was the 60,000 strong Czechoslovak Legion (soon to be 100,000 strong) but instead of sending the legion 700 miles north to Petrograd, the Allies sent it on a 6,000 mile odyssey across Russia to Vladivostok for evacuation to Europe(!), once again proving the Allies knew they were going to win the war…that the war was a Marxist operation.

    At my blog, read the articles…

    ‘House of Cards: The Collapse of the ‘Collapse’ of the USSR’

    ‘Playing Hide And Seek In Yugoslavia’

    Then read the article, ‘The Marxist Co-Option Of History And The Use Of The Scissors Strategy To Manipulate History Towards The Goal Of Marxist Liberation’

    Solution

    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology/blackmail, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.

    My blog…

    Google (only use the Google search engine): djdnotice blogspot
    ———————-
    * Marxists utilize the tactic of employing false oppositions, more commonly referred to by Marxists as the Scissors Strategy in which the blades represent the two falsely opposed sides that converge on the confused victims, neutralizing true opposition to socialism, thereby allowing the advancement of socialism to the bewilderment of the true opposition.

    ** Even more telling is neutral Denmark’s laying mines off its coastal waters in international waterways in August [1914] at the prompting of Germany and Great Britain does nothing! Not a word from the Allies (and the usual deafening silence from the Marxist press), in fact, even though access to the Baltic Sea is critical for the Allies to roll up Germany quickly by (a) closing the Baltic Sea to all German surface/subsurface vessels; (b) denying German access to trade with Sweden; (c) bringing the Royal Navy and the Imperial Russian Navy together; (d) forcing Germany to relocate critically needed infantry divisions and heavy armaments away from the Western Front for the new Baltic Front; and (e) allowing for a Petrograd originating joint Anglo-Russo expeditionary landing along Germany’s Baltic coast, to become operational three days after a general offensive on the Western Front; with the Baltic coast calm for three days, the German General Staff will be in the process of moving infantry divisions and heavy guns to bolster the Western Front. When the German relief is midway in transit, that’s when the Anglo-Russo naval expedition hits a weakened German Baltic coast.

    The following is a communique sent from the Danish foreign minister to German and English envoys, informing them of Denmark’s intention to close the Danish straits:

    “In order to enforce neutrality and keep military operations away from Danish waterways and coasts and to secure continued connection between the various parts of the country, the Danish government has decided to close Danish territorial waterways in the Sound as well as the Great and Little Belts by mining.”

    Notice that the Danish foreign minister refers to Danish territorial waterways to be closed, when in fact the laying of mines includes international waterways (as noted in the map; red dashes indicating the positions of the Danish mines in the Sound and Bay of Koege. In fact Germany too lays its mines in the Danish straits – signified by the green lines – leaving Great Britain conspicuously absent from the game.). So what was the law of the sea regarding the laying of mines in 1914:

    “…the 1907 Hague Convention III contains no specific provision that prohibits or considerably restricts the laying of mines in certain sea areas.”

    Here we have another Allied coordinated strategy to assist the Central Powers, thereby conflating what would have been an easy Allied knockout of Germany from the war, necessitating the bowing out of the remainder of the Central Powers’ nations: Since the international waterways of the Danish straits are mined by both the Danish and German navies, then the Royal Navy very well can’t send an expeditionary naval force to overthrow Lenin & Bolsheviks in Petrograd, can it? As a matter of fact the Royal Navy still could have sent a naval expeditionary force to Petrograd by deploying a few of the dozens of modern mine sweepers it had on hand.

    Then again, there really wasn’t a pressing need for the Royal Navy’s presence in Petrograd, because 100,000 Czech Legion soldiers were already on the ground in the Ukraine, and could itself have easily taken out the Bolsheviks first in Moscow, then in Petrograd. Of course, it would be nice for the Royal Navy and its cargo of soldiers to hook up with the Czech Legion when the legion made it to Petrograd. The meeting of the two Allied military formations would have been a grande opportunity for film and pictures.

  2. Dean Jackson says:

    “Trust but VERIFY” – President Ronald Reagan’s watch phrase when dealing with the USSR…
    The West conspired to not VERIFY the ‘collapse’ of the USSR, even though the survival of the West depended on verification should the ‘collapse’ be a ruse, which proves (1) there was no ‘collapse’ of the USSR, because if there had been a ‘collapse’ the West would have immediately VERIFIED the ‘collapse’; and (2) the West’s institutions were co-opted by Marxists,* explaining the West’s enabling of the fake ‘collapse’ of the USSR…quod erat demonstrandum.

    The World War I Allies never did immediately send a naval expedition to Petrograd to easily topple Lenin & Bolshevik’s November 7, 1917 coup,** thereby promptly returning Russia to the war, Russia’s involvement in the war being a critical variable for the Allies’ victory strategy against the Central Powers, proving (1) that the Allies knew they were going to win the war; (2) that the war was set up to (a) weaken the West’s influence in the world; (b) weaken the West’s people’s confidence in their institutions and what those institutions stood for; and (3) one objective of the war was to settle into power the first above board Marxist state, with more to follow. In fact, there already was an anti-Marxist force in Russia at the time that if ordered would have conquered all of Bolshevik Russia during this period when the Bolsheviks were very weak. The unit was the 60,000 strong Czechoslovak Legion (soon to be 100,000 strong) but instead of sending the legion 700 miles north to Petrograd, the Allies sent it on a 6,000 mile odyssey across Russia to Vladivostok for evacuation to Europe(!), once again proving the Allies knew they were going to win the war…that the war was a Marxist operation.

    At my blog, read the articles…

    ‘House of Cards: The Collapse of the ‘Collapse’ of the USSR’

    ‘Playing Hide And Seek In Yugoslavia’

    ‘The Marxist Co-Option Of History And The Use Of The Scissors Strategy To Manipulate History Towards The Goal Of Marxist Liberation’

    Solution

    The West will form new political parties where candidates are vetted for Marxist ideology/blackmail, the use of the polygraph to be an important tool for such vetting. Then the West can finally liberate the globe of vanguard Communism.

    My blog…

    Google (only use the Google search engine): djdnotice blogspot
    ———————-
    * Marxists utilize the tactic of employing false oppositions, more commonly referred to by Marxists as the Scissors Strategy in which the blades represent the two falsely opposed sides that converge on the confused victims, neutralizing true opposition to socialism, thereby allowing the advancement of socialism to the bewilderment of the true opposition.

    ** Even more telling is neutral Denmark’s laying mines off its coastal waters in international waterways in August [1914] at the prompting of Germany and Great Britain does nothing! Not a word from the Allies (and the usual deafening silence from the Marxist press), in fact, even though access to the Baltic Sea is critical for the Allies to roll up Germany quickly by (a) closing the Baltic Sea to all German surface/subsurface vessels; (b) denying German access to trade with Sweden; (c) bringing the Royal Navy and the Imperial Russian Navy together; (d) forcing Germany to relocate critically needed infantry divisions and heavy armaments away from the Western Front for the new Baltic Front; and (e) allowing for a Petrograd originating joint Anglo-Russo expeditionary landing along Germany’s Baltic coast, to become operational three days after a general offensive on the Western Front; with the Baltic coast calm for three days, the German General Staff will be in the process of moving infantry divisions and heavy guns to bolster the Western Front. When the German relief is midway in transit, that’s when the Anglo-Russo naval expedition hits a weakened German Baltic coast.

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