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The Hall of Mirrors

War and Warfare in the Twentieth Century

Author : Jim Storr

The Hall of Mirrors : War and Warfare in the Twentieth Century


General - Pages : 312 | Images : 17 b/w maps, 26 charts/tables

Hardback - Date of Publication : October 2018 | Size : 234mm x 156mm | ISBN : 9781912390854 | Helion Book Code : HEL0976

The 20th Century was hugely violent. It was possibly the most violent century in history. It is a clearly-defined period in the past. A huge amount has been written about war, and warfare, in that period. So, what can we learn from war, and warfare, in the 20th century? War is hugely important. War shapes continents, and can do so dramatically quickly. After just 52 months of the First World War, four empires had ceased to exist. Eight new countries were born in Europe. As a result of the six years of the Second World War, Japan and Germany renounced militarism and ceased to be major players on the world stage for decades. The border of Russia moved 800km west, to the Oder. War is hugely important. It is not futile, although it appears so to some of those involved. But how effective, for example, was the allied Combined Bomber Offensive in the defeat of Germany in the Second World War? There is, in practice, no real consensus. Similarly there is very little discussion, and apparently no agreement, as to how the western allies defeated Germany in north west Europe in 1944-5. Was it just superior numbers? (No: there were more German than Allied divisions until January 1945.) Yet both of those campaigns took place over 70 years ago. Why are those questions unanswered? ‘The Hall of Mirrors’ is not a narrative history. It takes a deep look at war, and warfare, in the 20th Century. It looks at the strategy, the operational art, and the tactics. It looks at how technology developed, was developed, and affected military events. It looks at the human beings, the human organisations, and how they affected events. It makes judgements and comes to conclusions. By 1919 the First World War was already over. Those millions had died; those empires had crumbled; those new nations had been born. Nothing similar has happened, thus far, in this century. All the more reason to look back and consider what did happen, and what we might learn from war and warfare in the 20th century.


“Overall, this book is very much worth reading for both academics and practitioners interested in war and warfare in the twentieth century. Storr does an admirable job in balancing intellectual rigor with an experienced soldier’s pragmatic views and insights, preciously adding to the literature of military history by bearing his life-long study of war and warfare. The Hall of Mirrors is a penetrating look at one of the most violent centuries in history with a clear view of future conflict. It aims to support practitioners in their efforts to “discover how to win” and is a must read for military professionals and educators within the professional military education system.” Army University Press

"…..a useful read for a member of the profession of arms…the book is easy to explore and it makes a worthwhile addition to the modern leader’s library. There is something for every sort of military professional." Major Cole Peteresen. Canadian Military Journal

".....this book is not a leisure read but it is a stimulating, intellectually refreshing analysis of how war and warfare has radically changed over the last century.  It challenges and provokes and is all the better for it.  It might usefully be added to every aspirant staff officer’s Christmas present list.  To quote General Rupert Smith’s endorsement “ Reading it will make you reconsider what you thought you knew.” Lt Col (Retd) Phil Osment, Royal Signals Institution

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