The immediate reason for the book was Barbara Tuchmann’s book „The Guns of August“. This book received the Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction in 1963, the highest literary award in the USA. It referred to a quote from the book „While I remember“ by Stephen McKenna , written in 1921 somewhere in Chile:
„It is not surprising that, among those who remember, the name of a German stinks and the presence of a German is an outrage. Until she appears bare-footed and draped in a sheet, Germany must remain branded with the mark of bestiality … „
Thus the author, who has spent more than two thirds of his long life abroad, tries to coordinate and record his lifelong interest in history with the experiences of a sailor, expatriate and German. The result, which is not a patchwork of quoted quotations, is predominantly based on direct Anglo-American contemporary documents on the „Great War“, which, with a few exceptions, were all written before 1930 and are freely accessible on the Internet.
A special feature of the approach of this book must be emphasized: It is not a view from the inside out, but from Germany into the wide world at the beginning of the 20th century. An attempt was made to identify the international distribution of power at the beginning of the 20th century by means of a realistic, global inventory, in order to derive the possibilities for action of the individual parties from this.
This approach is thanks to J. R. Seeley, who, in his book published in 1880, predicted the global importance of Russia and America and hoped that England’s importance would not be significantly restricted.
The immediate availability of these sources, accessible to everyone, gave birth to the idea of a media network of word, image and video, in which this book would be the connecting centerpiece. Important contemporary documents, contracts, views and newspaper articles are listed in the Janus section, an independent but complementary part of the book which, through a vertical turn, allows the reader to travel back in time.
The consequence of this approach is that the English language frequently used in quotations. Translation is an art. For example, how could the famous saying of Marlborough’s great-grandson, „Mastery itself was the Prize of the Venture“ be translated without losing its twofold originality? Was it a company or an adventure? Or maybe it was both?
Much of the subtle, subliminal can be consciously or unconsciously distorted by the translator and his „bias“, thus questioning the author’s reasoning. Therefore the original language has been preserved in the hope that it will complement the author’s cause.