Almost 90 years since its conclusion, the battle of Verdun is still little understood. German Strategy and the Path to Verdun is the first detailed examination of this seminal battle in the English language to be based on research conducted in archives long thought lost. Material returned to Germany from the former Soviet Union has allowed for a reinterpretation of Erich von Falkenhayn's overall strategy for the war and of the development of German operational and tactical concepts to fit this new strategy of attrition. By taking a long view of the development of German military ideas from the end of the Franco-German War in 1871, German Strategy and the Path to Verdun also gives much-needed context to Falkenhayn's ideas and the course of one of the greatest battles of attrition the world has ever known.
'This book is far more than a study of a grim battle ... Foley has written a book which will be referred to repeatedly.' Open History
"stimulating and exciting book" The International History Review Holger H. Herwig, University of Calgary
"The intense faces on the dustjacket of this superb scholarly work portray well the professionalism of German officers watching a military operation. Part of a new series of Cambridge military histories edited by Hew Strachan, German Strategy and the Path to Verdun by Robert T. Foley benefits from records returned by the Soviets in 1988, including copies of diaries kept by major participants." - Michael J. Zeps, S.J. Marquette University
"In many ways a ground-breaking look at Erich von Falkenhayn's contributions to the German war effort while Chief of the Great General Staff, from late 1914 until he was sacked in the aftermath of the failure of his deliberately provoked battle of attrition over Verdun. Marshalling some compelling evidence, the author demonstrates that despite Verdun, Falkenhayn in fact was chiefly responsible for most of Germany's victories during his tenure in command, despite the frequent necessity of beating off efforts to replace him from enthusiasts for Hindenburg and Ludendorf; the Gorlice-Tarnow offensive, the Warsaw operation, the destruction of Serbia, and a series of successful defensive operations in the west. And then the series of complex misjudgements and mistakes--not all by Falkenhayn--that led to Verdun. An interesting book, that offers some useful insights into the inner workings of the German high command." - The NYMAS Review
"This is truly an engaging, well-argued and nuanced analysis that reveals much not only about the Verdun Campaign, but also about the structure, fragmentation and disfunctionality of the Imperial German political and military systems." - Len Shurtleff
"The book is truly a fascinating effort well worth reading" - Dr. Douglas V. Johnson II
"An academic study of military thought, Foley's work is impressively accessible o the non-specialist reader. It merits reading by intellectual and cultural, as well as military, historians. It is based on an immersion in published nad unpublished primary sources." - Daniel Todman, Queen Mary University of London, England