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: 5 June 1916

“In the ice-cold waters of the North Sea, a British cruiser on its way to Russia, the Hampshire, was sunk by a German mine north-west of Scapa Flow.  On board was the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, on a mission to Russia.  As the ship went down, Kitchener was drowned.  Although his Cabinet colleagues had long regarded him as ineffective, for the public he was the man who had constituted the strength and stability of the governing, war-making instrument.”

First World War

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