Myths & Legends of the First World War

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During the First World War, a rich crop of legends sprouted from the battlefields and grew with such ferocity that many still excite controversy today. This book is the frist to examine the roots of those stories and reveal the truth. Some myths remain well-known.

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Did thousands of Russian troops actually pass through England with snow on their boots? In , an acute spy mania gripped the British public, who imagined that the country was brimming with German spies.

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According to some reports, the Germans detached two divisions to guard the Belgian coast against the expected Russian assault, weakening their force for the forthcoming Marne battle. It was only after the after the victory on the Marne that the British Government issued an unequivocal denial, but even after that, the rumour persisted, with many insisting it was part of a continuing plan to trick the Germans.


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These were imposed to allow reservists to move from their barracks around the country to embarkation points on the south coast. The trains were handsignalled and moved at night with blinds drawn. One of the battalions involved was the Gaelic-speaking 4th Seaforth Highlanders, whose appearance — and language — appears to have given rise to many of the reports. At the same time, some Russian officers did arrive in Britain to organise supplies for their own forces and serve as attaches to various military staffs.

Accompanying them was a number of soldier servants, most of whom travelled from Archangel to Scottish ports, before catching trains south, further fuelling the rumours. There are clues that the rumour was deliberately fuelled, or even instigated, by the intelligence service and British agents certainly tried to feed it to their German counterparts.


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  8. MI5 had already intercepted letters and telegrams sent back to his handlers by Carl Lody, a German agent operating in Britain. However, a report from him that was allowed to pass related to the Russian troops story.

    The authorities just let it run, and it was seem to have played a role in the war. Terms and Conditions. Style Book. View all copies of this ISBN edition:.


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    Synopsis About this title During the First World War, a rich crop of legends sprouted from the battlefields and grew with such ferocity that many still excite controversy today. About the Author : James Hayward is an editor and historian with a particular interest in twentieth-century military and art history. Buy Used Condition: Good This is an ex-library book and Learn more about this copy.

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