There have been a lot of important One Hundred Days in history.
Napoleon’s coming back from Elba island.
The first one hundred days of Roosevelt in the highlight of the Great Depression.
Maybe we can also include the last one hundred days of the III Reich.
But, in that case, it’s just a magic number. Probably, the beginning of the end of Nazism was D-Day, on 6th June 1944: the opening of a second front in Europe.
And mainly the Operation Bragation on the Eastern Front (22th June 1944) when the Soviets wiped out an all entire Nazi army.
But one of the most important periods in all history was the the end of the First World War.
To understand, you have to consider one thing: the Germans were about to win.
Even if you are comfortably seated at home try to move back to the Summer of 1918.
The trenches, the mustard gas, the first tanks, the shells everywehere, the raining.
Germans victory was within reach. Paris was in sight. Like in 1914
Indeed, Russia was K.O.-ed after the Bolshevik Revolution and a sealed train with Lenin inside sent it by the Germans. Soviets want peace at all costs.
The II Reich –with emperor Wilhelm at this head- extended now from Brussels –occupied by the Germans- till almost the Urals.
The Ucraine was under Germanic rule and has to provide bread and wheat to the German starving population.
Ludendorff, the chief of staff of the imperial army, decided to do his best and launch a series of offensives to win the war before the Americans were at full capacity.
Th historian Lloyd, the author of “Hundred Days. The end of the Great War” (Penguin, 2013) depicted this period.
It’s not a lapsus of time with great battles like Marne, Verdun or The Somme. Rather a series of offensives and counteroffensives.
And he has two abilities to do it.
First of all, his sensitivy and accuracy.
The most important thing in a history book is not figures, statistics or numbers but the soldiers’ life fighting and suffering in the trenches.
And secondly his narrative power: "The attack began at dawn on 21 August, a day of mist and cool breezes across Picardy", written for example on page 1636 in my kindle edition.
He knew even the weather even in a such remote day!
Mr. Lloyd, professor at King College of London, said in the preface that is a tribute to his great-uncle who was killed during the last months of the war in a small village in France: Gazencourt.
I hope one day to have the possibility to pay a visit to his grave. Anyway, this book is a perfect tribute to him. /A review written by Xavier Rius.