The Guns of August Summary & Study Guide

Barbara W. Tuchman
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The Guns of August Summary & Study Guide Description

The Guns of August Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman is the story of the prelude to World War I and the very early days of the conflict. The British, the Belgian King, and President Woodrow Wilson were sensible minded. As such, they wanted no part of war. However, there was another faction that was anxious to conquer. The Germans were emboldened by the war of 1870 in which they trounced the French at Sedan. They wanted more.

Some skirmishes leading toward the major conflict seemed insignificant at the time. The Russians beat the Austrians in a short-lived conflict. The Japanese were victorious over the humiliated Russian Army. There were weak brothers and strong sisters who were foes and friends on the European continent. Those nations who did not have a powerful army or naval force sought pacts with stronger nations who would protect them if war became a reality.

The big bullies in the schoolyard were the Germans who were thirsty for war. There was something inherent in the German mind and soul that was part of their psyche before, during, and after World War I. The Germans felt that they were special, very special in fact. They considered themselves to be more intelligent, better educated, and harder workers than other people in the world. The Germans also thought they were the epitome of a peace-loving nation. Their arrogance was the basis of their belief that they should dominate the European continent and ultimately the entire world. Even though Germany lost World War I, that sentiment of superiority lingered and reared its ugly head again in the 1930s.

The war which everyone expected and feared began with the invasion of Belgium. The first act of war by the Germans was also one of the most cruel. It exposed the Germans as duplicitous liars, cruel marauders, and barbaric murderers. The Germans promised that if they could use Belgium land to pass through to France, they’d clean up any messes they left behind. The Belgians wouldn’t allow them to access their land. As a result the Germans invaded the country. They pillaged and burned villages and tortured and executed innocent men, women, and children. They apparently forgot their promise to clean up after themselves.

The Guns of August tells the story of the first month of World War I, the most violent and cruel war that the world had ever seen. It changed the world forever. World War I left its scars. Its far-reaching impact is still felt to this day.

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This section contains 421 words
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