The Great Class War 1914-1918
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The Great Class War 1914-1918

By Jacques R. Pauwels

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Historian Jacques Pauwels applies a critical, revisionist lens to the First World War, offering readers a fresh interpretation that challenges mainstream thinking. As Pauwels sees it, war offered benefits to everyone, across class and national borders.

For European statesmen, a large-scale war could give their countries new colonial territories, important to growing capitalist economies. For the wealthy and ruling classes, war served as an antidote to social revolution, encouraging workers to exchange socialism's focus on international solidarity for nationalism's intense militarism. And for the working classes themselves, war provided an outlet for years of systemic militarization -- quite simply, they were hardwired to pick up arms, and to do so eagerly.

To Pauwels, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June 1914 -- traditionally upheld by historians as the spark that lit the powder keg -- was not a sufficient cause for war but rather a pretext seized upon by European powers to unleash the kind of war they had desired. But what Europe's elite did not expect or predict was some of the war's outcomes: social revolution and Communist Party rule in Russia, plus a wave of political and social democratic reforms in Western Europe that would have far-reaching consequences.

Reflecting his broad research in the voluminous recent literature about the First World War by historians in the leading countries involved in the conflict, Jacques Pauwels has produced an account that challenges readers to rethink their understanding of this key event of twentieth century world history.


Foreword: The Great War in Dali-Vision


Chapter 1. The Revolutions of 1789, 1830, and 1848: First Steps toward Democracy

Chapter 2. The Nobility and the Bourgeoisie: A Counterrevolutionary Symbiosis

Chapter 3. Socialism and Democratization

Chapter 4. Nationalism and “Social Imperialism”

Chapter 5. Nietzsche and Social Darwinism: Ode to War

Chapter 6. Imperialist Friends and Foes on the Road to a Great War

Chapter 7. Bourgeoisie, Aristocracy, Church, and Socialists Confront War and Revolution

Chapter 8. Fear and Tensions in the Belle Époque

Chapter 9. Reactionary and Bellicose Policies


Chapter 10. August 1914: Enthusiasm and Resignation (1)

Chapter 11. August 1914: Enthusiasm and Resignation (2)

Chapter 12. The End of Politics

Chapter 13. Gentlemen and Plebeians on the War Path

Chapter 14. Fall 1914: Disillusion

Chapter 15. Friends and Enemies

Chapter 16. Militaria 1914: Aborted Plans

Chapter 17. Human Moles in the “Lovely Land of War”

Chapter 18. Militaria 1915: The Great Offensives

Chapter 19. From the Dolomites to the Dardanelles

Chapter 20. Tired of War

Chapter 21. Militaria 1916: Materiel and Human Material

Chapter 22. Disgruntled Soldiers and Civilians

Chapter 23. Militaria 1917: Catastrophes at Caporetto and Elsewhere

Chapter 24. 1917: The Year of Troubles

Chapter 25. The Yanks Are Coming!

Chapter 26. Revolution in Russia, on the Way to Revolutions in Asia

Chapter 27. Militaria 1918: German Spring Offensive, Allied Final Offensive

Chapter 28. Revolution, Counterrevolution, and Reforms

Chapter 29. Versailles: Peace or Armistice?


Chapter 30. Via Fascism to a Second World War, 1918–1945

Chapter 31. Class Wars from 1945 to the Present





About the author

"A study of wide scope and great importance, regardless of the political position from which it is viewed."

- David Frati Mangialibri

"Pauwels' thoroughly compelling narrative leads the reader to the ineluctable conclusion that elitists have been manipulating and leading the masses, unwilling or not, to the killing fields ... The Great Class War 1914-1918 is a magnificent opus."

- Kim Petersen Dissident Voice

"Consistent with his argument that the war was fought not only between countries, but also between the working class and its social superiors, Pauwels gives us a picture of the event as experienced by those who actually did the fighting and worked in the war industries ... Pauwels has given us a thought-provoking account of the Great War that casts it in a different light from that presented in most standard histories of the subject."

- Ken Osborne, emeritus professor at the faculty of education at the University of Manitoba Winnipeg Free Press

"Pauwels' study of the Great War will prompt a critical reexamination of the causation of the First World War. It will force historians to recognize the class struggle deeply embedded in the conflict. Even more important, it should inspire further reflection on contemporary global conflicts and their relationship with class, democracy, and the struggle for power."

- Scott Farrand Marxism-Leninism Today

"Jacques Pauwels' The Great Class War is a contribution to the ideological front in the struggle for a world without wars, for in resetting the story of that war in the Marxist frame, he loosens our ties to idealist interpretations that obscure the class nature of wars, naturalize war as an inevitable part of life, and force us to assume and share a guilt that largely rests on the shoulders of a profiteering and exploitative class."

- Luciana Bohne CounterPunch

JACQUES R. PAUWELS has taught European history at the University of Toronto, York University and the University of Waterloo. He is the author of several books on twentieth-century history, including The Myth of the Good War, in which he provides a revisionist look at the role of the United States and other Allied countries in the Second World War. An independent scholar, Pauwels holds PhDs in history and political science. He lives in Brantford, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 632 pages
Publication Date: 1st April 2016
ISBN: 9781459411050
Format: 9in x 5.88in

Binding: Hardback, 632 pages
Publication Date: 6th April 2016
ISBN: 9781459411067
Format: 9in x 5.88in

Binding: Electronic book text
Publication Date: 6th April 2016
ISBN: 9781459411074
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:  HIS027090, HIS037070
Imprint: Lorimer


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