Review: The Vanquished, Robert Gerwath

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book makes for a compelling narrative of the early interwar years, combining together the stories of the primary nations that took part of the Great War on the side of the Central Powers. Yet, the book also goes beyond these places, also integrating in to some details Japan and Italy which though on the winning side lost as much as they won with the conclusion of the war.

I was hoping that the book would treat the Eastern European nations with more detail, but the wide scope of the narrative means that other than the main narratives of Germany, Austria, Italy and Turkey, cursory glances at Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and Russia draw the story together. Some early chapters refer to actions in Latvia and the later ones to the descent into conflict in Japan, but the book does not provide a comprehensive narrative across all of these places.

The treatment of Turkey in the book is one of the better ones, mostly due to their unique perspective in dealing with the fallback from the Treaty of Sevres, though if that is your topic of interest, there are probably more detailed books focussing on the relevant activities.

In any case, the revisionist feelings prevalent in so many of the losing countries in the interwar period are brought together in one story and linked to the Entente’s wish to cripple their enemies. This alone makes this a wonderful introduction after which any of the relevant subtopics can be explored at leisure.

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