The Worst General of the First World War?

Many of the men who found themselves commanding armies in the First World War made big mistakes as they struggled to fight a type of war no one had expected. Some of these eventually learned from their mistakes, others did not. Here is a post on one of those who continued to pursue the same pointless plan of campaign until it brought his country to the brink of collapse.

Collections: Luigi Cadorna Was The Worst

You can read back on my own posts about Cadorna here.

image (Wikipedia)

June 1919

Germany reluctantly agrees the Allied terms and signs the peace treaty in Versailles, five years to the day after Archduke Ferdinand’s murder plunged Europe into war.

1/6/1919 The Rhineland Revolt: a farcical attempt to detach the Rhineland from Germany

2/6/1919 Austria’s peace terms: no more submarines

3/6/1919 At Lloyd George’s behest, the Allies agree on a plebiscite to decide Upper Silesia’s future

7/6/1919 Sette Giugno: Unrest in Malta, killings by British troops

9/6/1919 De Valera courts American opinion, but Lloyd George blocks consideration of the Irish question in Paris

13/6/1919 The pendulum swings against the Red Army in Ukraine and south Russia

14/6/1919 Race riots in Cardiff

15/6/1919 Alcock and Brown conquer the Atlantic

15/6/1919 The Austrian authorities strike against Communist would-be revolutionaries

16/6/1919 An ultimatum to Germany: sign the peace treaty or face renewed war

17/6/1919 The Epsom riots: rampage of the Canadians

17/6/1919 Turkey’s prime minister fails to charm the Paris Conference

19/6/1919 Another defeat for the Red Army as Tsaritsyn falls to the Whites

21/6/1919 Götterdämerung: the scuttling of the German fleet

22/6/1919 Germany struggles with the Allied peace terms

22/6/1919 Kemal launches Turkey’s national resistance

23/6/1919 Cēsis: Estonia and Latvia smash the Baltic Freikorps

23/6/1919 Germany caves and accepts the Allied peace terms

23/6/1919 Nation building and war in Ireland

25/6/1919 Bethmann Hollweg invites the Allies to put him on trial in place of the Kaiser

28/6/1919 The German peace treaty signed in Versailles


Johannes Bell signs the peace treaty for Germany (Wikipedia)

The Treaty of Versailles (Wikipedia)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

May 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

And that’s the end of World War 1 live’s regular posts. I may very occasionally post First World War related book reviews or notes on other Great War related matters, but don’t hold your breath. Thanks to everyone who has followed the blog.

May 1919

The Allies present their peace terms to the Germans. Munich’s revolutionary moment comes to a violent end. Fighting continues in Russia, Hungary and the Baltic. As Greek troops land in Smyrna, Kemal prepares a Turkish fightback.

28/4/1919 The Red Army strikes back against Kolchak’s Siberian Army

1/5/1919 The Freikorps storm Munich

4/5/1919 Students in Peking demonstrate against the Paris Conference’s ceding of Chinese territory to Japan

6/5/1919 The Paris Conference agrees the German peace terms

7/5/1919 Enter the Germans: the Allies present the peace terms to the German delegation

12/5/1919 Bad news for the Sudeten Germans as the Allies agree Czechoslovakia’s borders with Germany and Austria

13/5/1919 Knocklong: an IRA man rescued

14/5/1919 Germany mulls the Allies’ unsavoury peace terms

15/5/1919 Greek troops land in Smyrna

19/5/1919 Rising nationalist sentiment in Turkey

20/5/1919 Communist Hungary strikes back against Czechoslovakia

22/5/1919 Riga falls to the Freikorps

26/5/1919 Broad decisions in Paris on Italy’s territorial gains

30/5/1919 Admiral Horthy: the new leader of Hungary’s conservatives

image source:

Student demonstrators in Peking (Wikipedia: May Fourth Movement)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

April 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

April 1919

In Paris the Allies agree Germany’s future frontiers with France and Poland, but Italy’s leaders walk out as Wilson and the others refuse to accede to their Adriatic demands. Communist revolutionaries in central Europe begin to suffer setbacks. British troops massacre 1,500 Indians in Amritsar. Wilson betrays China so that Japan drops its racial equality proposal.

1/4/1919 Agreement on Danzig and the Poland’s corridor to the sea

2/4/1919 De Valera’s new government and Ireland’s first woman minister

6/4/1919 The red tide sweeps into Bavaria

7/4/1919 Allenby tries to conciliate Egypt, ordering the release of nationalist leaders

10/4/1919 Glimmers of justice for the Armenians as the butcher of Yozgat goes to the gallows

11/4/1919 Wilson blocks Japan’s racial equality proposal
13/4/1919 Bloodbath in Amritsar as the British shoot 1,500 Indians

13/4/1919 Palm Sunday in Munich: a failed attempt to crush the Bavarian Soviet Republic pushes it leftwards

13/4/1919 Allied agreement on Germany’s western frontiers

15/4/1919 The Limerick Soviet: dawn of an Irish socialist revolution?

16/4/1919 Revolt of the Freikorps: German mercenaries seize power in Latvia

16/4/1919 Romania strikes against communist Hungary

17/4/1919 The domino stays upright: a failed communist coup in Vienna

21/4/1919 Poland pushes the Red Army out of Vilnius

24/4/1919 Crisis in Paris at Italy walks out of the peace conference

27/4/1919 Czechoslovakia attacks! War on two fronts for Soviet Hungary

27/4/1919 The revolution that wasn’t: the Limerick Soviet comes to an end

28/4/1919 Wilson’s dirty deal with Japan

28/4/1919 The Red Army strikes back against Kolchak’s Siberian Army


The Lenin Boys, a Hungarian communist militia (Wikipedia)

The Amritsar massacre (Radnorite – 101 Years After The Amritsar Massacre: A Possible Seed of Growth for the UK and their Past)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

March 1919

May 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

March 1919

The Allies continue their deliberations in Paris while a hungry Germany sees further clashes between Spartacists and the Freikorps. Egypt revolts against its British master. A pro-Bolshevik regime comes to power in Hungary: is communism spreading across Europe?

2/3/1919 Preparing for world revolution: the first congress of the Communist International

6/3/1919 More clashes in Berlin between the Spartacists and Freikorps

6/3/1919 Sinn Féin prisoners released

7/3/1919 Germany continues to go hungry

9/3/1919 Unrest in Egypt: British heavy-handedness sparks revolution

12/3/1919 The Freikorps crush the Spartacists again

14/3/1919 Keeping Germany weak and France strong

18/3/1919 Egypt spirals out of British control

18/3/1919 Disputes over the Rhineland and Germany’s fleet

18/3/1919 Red Army blues

22/3/1919 Revolution in Hungary: a Soviet Republic proclaimed

26/3/1919 The first food shipment arrives in Germany

28/3/1919 Tense negotiations in Paris over Germany’s western frontiers

Communists celebrating the Hungarian revolution (Medium: In 1919 there was a state which lived only 133 days)

Egyptian demonstrators (Egyptian Revolution: 1919 Revolution)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

February 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

15/3/1921 Justice catches up with Talaat Pasha

During the war Mehmed Talaat was one of the three paramount leaders of the Ottoman Empire. Together with Ahmed Djemal and Ismail Enver he brought Turkey into the war on Germany’s side and then played a leading role in directing a campaign of extermination against the empire’s Armenian community. Defeat has transformed Talaat into an exile.

Under Allied pressure Talaat and his fellows have been tried and sentenced to death in absentia by the Ottoman authorities, both for conspiring to bring the empire into a war that it could not win and for the mass killing and plundering of the Armenians. There seems little chance of the sentence being served on Talaat, who is now living in Germany. However, today a rough form of justice is served on him.

Armenian revolutionaries have been organising a campaign of assassination against leading organisers of the brutalities inflicted on their people. Their agents track Talaat down to Charlottenburg in Berlin. Soghomon Tehlirian, whose family was largely wiped out by the Turks, is given the job of killing Talaat. Today he strikes, despatching Talaat with a single bullet fired into the back of his head after confirming his identity. Tehlirian makes no attempt to escape and is taken into custody by the Berlin police.

My World War 1 blog finished two years ago, but when I saw that today was the 100th anniversary of the main architect of the Armenian Genocide it felt like a piece of the war’s unfinished business that merited marking. The aftermath of Talaat’s killing is intriguing – Tehlirian was put on trial for his murder but acquitted after a short trial on the grounds that that the horrors of the Armenian Genocide had rendered him temporarily insane. Tehlirian died in 1960 in the United States. Talaat’s body was eventually re-interred in Istanbul’s Monument of Liberty.


Soghomon Tehlirian & Talaat Pasha (Armenian Youth Federation-WUS on Twitter)

New York Times report of Talaat’s killing (Wikipedia: Soghomon Tehlirian)

February 1919

Allied statesmen hear petitions and grapple with the world’s problems in Paris. Gunmen strike against a king and prime ministers. Brutal fighting continues the former Russian Empire. Irish nationalist leader Éamon de Valera escapes from an English jail. The Spanish Flu brings a third wave of pestilence to a weary world.

1/2/1919 Czechoslovakia

3/2/1919 Éamon de Valera busts out of Lincoln Jail

3/2/1919 Carving up Turkey

6/2/1919 Emir Faisal seeks a promised kingdom

13/2/1919 Japan’s racial equality proposal causes a sensation

14/2/1919 Progress in Paris on the League of Nations, deadlock on German reparations

15/2/1919 Pogrom in Proskurov: Ukrainian Cossacks massacre Jews

19/2/1919 The gun speaks: anarchist shoots Clemenceau

20/2/1919 The gun speaks: Afghanistan’s King assassinated

21/2/1919 The gun speaks: right wing fanatic kills Bavaria’s ousted prime minister

25/2/1919 More trouble in the west Balkans

26/2/1919 Influenza: the third wave

26/2/1919 Armenia asks to become an American mandate

27/2/1919 Zionist plans for Palestine


Woodrow Wilson reading the draft covenant of the League of Nations to the Paris Conference (ResearchGate)

Cartoon from the Sunday Independent, 23 February 1919 (Century Ireland: Dublin struggles to cope with volume of flu deaths)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

January 1919

March 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

January 1919

Germany’s far left defeated on the streets and at the ballot box. The Paris Conference opens. Squamous horror in Boston. Ireland’s escalating struggle for freedom.

3/1/1919 Emir Faisal and Chaim Weizmann reach an agreement on Palestine

4/1/1919 Kidnapping the Kaiser

6/1/1919 The Spartacists revolt: an October Revolution for Germany?

9/1/1919 As the Red Army advances, Latvia seeks German volunteers

10/1/1919 Turkey’s last army finally surrenders in Medina

11/1/1919 Freikorps militiamen crush the Spartacist revolt in Berlin

11/1/1919 The Prodrazvyorstka: Soviet Russia steps up confiscation of food from the peasantry

12/1/1919 Bavarian voters reject radical socialism

15/1/1919 The Great Boston Molasses Disaster

15/1/1919 Liebknecht and Luxemburg murdered by the Freikorps

18/1/1919 The Paris Conference opens

19/1/1919 Germany goes to the polls, rejecting the extremes of right and left

21/1/1919 Dáil Éireann and the Soloheadbeg ambush: political and military blows for Irish freedom

27/1/1919 Dividing up Germany’s colonies

29/1/1919 Stating Poland’s case


Spartacists (Wikipedia: the Spartacist Uprising)

Opening session of the Paris Conference (Guardian: The Paris peace conference begins – archive, January 1919)

First meeting of the Dáil, self-declared national parliament of Ireland (Century Ireland: Dáil Éireann meets in Mansion House)

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918 & 1919

December 1918

February 1919

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

December 1918

Allied troops occupy the Rhineland. Britain and Ireland go to the polls, with women voting for the first time; the coalition wins a landslide in Britain while Sinn Féin sweeps Ireland. Street fighting in Berlin. Western Samoa decimated by influenza.

10/12/1919 Ebert hails the undefeated German army

10/12/1918 Sarafand: New Zealanders massacre Palestinian villagers

14/12/1918 Britain votes

14/12/1918 Ireland also votes

14/12/1918 Portugal’s President assassinated

16/12/1918 German troops evacuate Finland; Friedrich Karl of Hesse renounces the Finnish throne

24/12/1918 Striking back against the Bolsheviks: Kolchak routs the Red Army and storms Perm
24/12/1918 Berlin’s Christmas Eve Battle

28/12/1918 Britain’s votes are counted: Lloyd George’s coalition wins a landslide victory

28/12/1918 Ireland’s election results: Sinn Féin landslide and the first woman elected to the House of Commons

31/12/1918 Pestilence in Samoa

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918

November 1918

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)


Women voting (Irish Times – “Remembering the events of 1918 gives us a timely opportunity to consider again what it means to be Irish”)

Members of the People’s Naval Division in Berlin (TAZ: Die vergessenen Revolutionäre)

Samoan influenza obituaries (New Zealand History)

November 1918

Revolution in Germany! The Kaiser overthrown! Armistice on the Western Front. Austria-Hungary also throws in the towel and begins to disappear off the map.

1/11/1918 Maintaining the pressure on the Western Front

1/11/1918 As one war comes to an end, another begins

1/11/1918 Sailors mutiny in Kiel, unrest spreads across Germany, but the Kaiser will not abandon Germany in its hour of need

2/11/1918 Italy presents its armistice terms to Austria-Hungary

3/11/1918 The Kiel mutiny escalates and unrest spreads across Germany, but the Kaiser again declines to abdicate

3/11/1918 Austria-Hungary’s army messes up its own capitulation

4/11/1918 The Red Flag flies over Kiel

4/11/1918 The Italian Front armistice comes into effect

5/11/1918 The end draws near: Wilson tells the Germans that Foch has been authorised to receive their armistice delegation

7/11/1918 Spreading revolution in Germany leads to the flight of Bavaria’s King and calls for the Kaiser’s abdication

7/11/1918 The ship of death arrives in German Samoa

7/11/1918 Germany’s armistice negotiators cross the lines

8/11/1918 Showdown at Compiègne: Foch presents the Allies’ armistice terms to the Germans

8/11/1918 Bavaria becomes a republic but the Kaiser insists that Germany will not lost its Emperor nor Prussia its King

9/11/1918 Erzberger remonstrates with Foch, in vain

9/11/1918 Germany overthrows the Kaiser

10/11/1918 Canadian troops close in on Mons

10/11/1918 Ebert tells Erzberger to accept the Allied armistice terms

11/11/1918 The armistice is signed

11/11/1918 The guns stop firing, too late for some

11/11/1918 Italy’s returning prisoners receive a less than warm welcome

11/11/1918 Emperor Karl renounces power without abdicating as his empire dissolves

11/11/1918 Celebrating the end of the fighting

13/11/1918 Constantinople occupied

18/11/1918 Meanwhile in Russia…

21/11/1918 The German fleet sails into captivity

22/11/1918 Polish victory at Lemberg is followed by a pogrom against the city’s Jews

25/11/1918 After 50 years, France recovers Strasbourg

25/11/1918 Germany’s last field army surrenders as Lettow-Vorbeck lays down his arms

see also:

Monthly Archive 1918

October 1918

December 1918

@ww1liveblog (Twitter)

image sources

Marshal Foch and other Allied armistice negotiators (Wikipedia: Armistice of 11 November 1918)

The German Republic proclaimed (Wikipedia: German Revolution of 1918–1919)

American troops celebrate the Western Front armistice (Wikipedia: Armistice of 11 November 1918)