Pen & Sword Military, 2020
This is a thoroughly researched and well-written book discussing the U-boat war on the Allies during the Great War from the perspectives of economics, international finance, diplomacy, foreign policy, politics within the nations and the military, military strategy, personal outlooks, and war time production. However, I believe the publishers titled the book in a misleading manner, so as to increase sales, implying the Kaiser ordered an assault. As author Koerver explained, the Kaiser was unwilling to exert control and, frankly, did not have much control over anything, much less order an assault.
Koerver begins with a discussion of world economics: national incomes, steel production, imports, and world merchant fleets. The emphasis was on how national economies depended upon ocean shipping and how Germany was particularly vulnerable.
The proverbial straw came in February 1917 with unrestricted warfare being declared. The U.S. broke off relations while the Imperial Navy inflated its sinking totals to make others believe that unrestricted warfare was working, but it wasn't. Then, in mid-March, U-boats sank three American ships without warning, and Wilson was forced to declare war. Koerver misstated the war declaration votes: the House of Representatives 82 to 6 and the Senate 372 to 50.
One aspect of the U-boat war that Koerver did not cover was the missed opportunity of sinking England's transports bringing the British army to France in 1914. That might have made a difference. At any rate, the German mistakes began years before by Tirpitz's ego trip of building German warships at the expense of everything else. More German submarines with a well-thought-out plan, integrated with other German arms, might have made a difference in the outcome. Instead, no one was in command. At least one historian has called the Great War stupid. The German execution of the war was certainly that.
Read The Kaiser's U-Boat Assault on America not just for the description of war activities but for the unique perspectives of economic, political, and diplomatic forces. These processes caused numerous decisions that led to England's near collapse, the U.S. entry into the war, and Germany's downfall. For a detailed examination of the life and career of Grand Admiral Tirpitz, please read Tirpitz and the Imperial German Navy.