The first episode of this Tv documentary series was a mix of CGI, drama reconstructions, talking heads and archive footage. It concentrated on the role played by Australian, Canadian and Scottish troops in repelling the German Spring Offensive in 1918. It propounds that is was thinking-out-the-box Aussie and Canadian generals who came up with the “all arms warfare” which allowed their troops to pluck Allied victory from the jaws of defeat. The efforts of the Allied and newly arrived American troops were almost forgotten. Now, it would be easy to criticise this Australian/Canadian TV programme for its obvious bias towards its own country’s contribution to the war. But I don’t want to go there.
The problem I have with it is the problem I have with all the documentaries we are seeing about the Great War. They concentrate on the trench warfare in isolation. There is no mention of the respective Home Fronts. You can have all the clever warfare tactics that you like, but they won’t get you anywhere if your Home Front is collapsing.The German Home Front started to collapse in the summer of 1918 and that’s what allowed the Allies to take control of the war militarily. The German Home Front had being reeling under the effects of the Allied blockade for 4 years but had still managed to feed its military war effort to the point whereby it almost won the war in the Spring of 1918.
But the American troops brought something with them that was more lethal than their firepower in the summer of 1918. They brought The Spanish Flu. It was this that the creaking German Home Front could not handle. The Allied Home Front also felt the full force of the “Spanish Lady” (228,000 dead in 10 months in Britain alone) but managed to keep going. The Allied Home Front beat the German Home Front. The Allied Home Front won the Great War.