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The Balkans, Italy & Africa 1914–1918: From Sarajevo to the Piave and Lake Tanga

The Balkans, Italy & Afric…

David Jordan
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The History of World War I series recounts the battles and campaigns that took place during the 'Great War'. From the Falkland Islands to the lakes of Africa, across the Eastern and Western Fronts, to the former German colonies in the Pacific, the series provides a six-volume history of the battles and campaigns on land, at sea and in the air. The assassination in Sarajevo of the Austro-Hungarian heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand lit an explosive mixture of ethnic tensions, nationalism, political opportunism, and the quest for power within the Balkans to plunge Europe into a conflict that would cost millions of lives. Austro-Hungary faced both Serbia and Russia during the opening phase of the war, but Bulgaria's decision to join the Central Powers in October 1915 led to the opening of the Salonika front in Greece, where 150,0000 British and French troops saw little fighting until the disastrous 1918 Doiran campaign. At the war's outbreak, the British authorities in Africa were totally unprepared, with few forces available to attack the German colonies, who themselves were effectively left isolated from help. The German commander in East Africa, Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, launched a brilliant guerrilla campaign with scant resources, conducting lightning attacks on Allied targets, particularly the Uganda Railway. He was opposed by the South African General Jan Smuts and his mixture of Boer, British, Rhodesian, Indian, African, Belgian and Portuguese soldiers: fighting continued until November 1918. Italy entered the war against the Central Powers in April 1915. For two years, Austro-Hungarian forces were kept at bay on Italy's northern borders, until a combined German and Austro-Hungarian defeated?the Italian forces at the Battle of Caporetto in October 1917. Revenge came with the Allied victory at Vittorio Veneto in November 1918, which led to Austro-Hungary's collapse. With the aid of over 300 photographs, complemented by full-colour maps, The Balkans, Italy & Africa provides a detailed guide to the background and conduct of the war in the Balkan, Italian and African theatres from the assassination in Sarajevo to the surrender of the Central Powers.
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