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Essay on The Guns of August

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The Guns of August

Barbara Tuchman's Pulitzer prize-winning book about the start of World War I is a fascinating and detailed work that delivers the thoughts and actions of the belligerents and their previously mysterious leaders to life on every page. This military history of the first month of the war is written in a way as to keep the reader interested because of the great detail. The author also manages to write about the events in such a manor as the reader sees them as they happened. Despite any previous knowledge about the historical events of the war, the book manages to keep you wondering if the Germans will succeed in its aims. In Chapters 5 through 9, Tuchman doesn't discuss much about why Germany, France, or Russia
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The actions of the Czar were clearly not in the best interest of his country or himself for that matter. The decisions he made clearly appeased his ego and were not made by a man who was experienced in leading a nation through a time of transition. His inability to help in Russian military development by allowing those who understood what needed to be fixed and what plans needed to be made are what eventually led to Russian ineffectiveness in the war and his own downfall. Russian inability to recognize changing tactics and weapons of modern warfare is inexcusable but sadly explainable. Because the Czar tended to centralize power and surround himself with "yes men," he missed the good advice of those in his country who could have helped guide Russia into war. Some of these choices can also be blamed on misconceptions of Russian capabilities, and of its military identity. The military reforms that were not completely halted by inept leaders were otherwise thwarted by the lack of details with which an army mobilizes and fights. Details were not an important aspect for Russian pre-war strategy or estimations.
Though the Russian army had repeatedly been proven incapable, there still remained a myth of its invincibility. This myth tended to be held on all sides based on the sheer masses of soldiers and not in any way on its tactics or technical proficiency. The government's inability to effectively manage resources was
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