First World War Collection

Sir Martin writes:

Two very different wars were fought between 1914 and 1918. The first was a war of soldiers, sailors and airmen, of merchant seamen and civilian populations under occupation, where individual suffering and distress were on a massive scale, particularly in the front-line trenches. The second was a war of War Cabinets and sovereigns, of propagandists and idealists, replete with political and territorial ambitions and ideals, determining the future of Empires, nations and peoples as sharply as the battlefield.

Sir Martin on the battle field of Ypres with his assistant,1969
Sir Martin on the battle field of Ypres with his assistant,1969

There were times, particularly in 1917 and 1918, when the war of armies and the war of ideologies combined, leading to revolution and capitulation, and to the emergence of new national and political forces. The war changed the map and destiny of Europe as much as it seared its skin and scarred its soul.

On This Day: 18 March 1915

“Many national aspirations, and many territorial changes, depended upon the success of the naval attack at the Dardanelles, which began on the morning of the March 18. It was nearly successful. Six British and four French battleships took part. The Turkish forts at the entrance to the Straits had been put out of action by naval bombardment in the preceding days. … an unexpected line of twenty mines, which had been laid parallel to the shore by a small Turkish steamer … wreaked havoc.”

First World War, A Complete History

Read more about Sir Martin’s inspiration and interest in world war history, his blogs, films and book talks: Sir Martin & The First & Second World Wars