The Last Battle: Victory, Defeat, and the End of World War I [Hart]
The Last Battle definitively corrects this misperception. As Hart shows, a number of factors precipitated the Armistice. After four years of bloodshed, Germany was nearly bankrupt and there was a growing rift between the military High Command and political leadership. But it also remained a determined combatant, and France and Great Britain had equally been stretched to their limits; Russia had abandoned the conflict in the late winter of 1918. However complex the causes of Germany's ultimate defeat, Allied success on the Western Front, as Hart reveals, tipped the scales-the triumphs at the Fifth Battle of Ypres, the Sambre, the Selle, and the Meuse-Argonne, where American forces made arguably their greatest contribution. The offensives cracked the Hindenburg Line and wore down the German resistance, precipitating collapse.
Final victory came at great human cost and involved the combined efforts of millions of men. Using the testimony of a range of participants, from the Doughboys, Tommies, German infantrymen, and French poilus who did the fighting, to those in command during those last days and weeks, Hart brings intimacy and sweep to the events that led to November 11, 1918.