German trenches along the Aisne during World War I.
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ACOMMANDER-IN-CHIEF is not in a position to begin a war as a chess player may begin a game with a new gambit. He has to take over a play which has been opened by others, that is, the statesmen, and then carry it through according to the rules of the game. His strategical opportunities are thereby limited. In the long history of war more campaigns have been lost on account of a wrong political start than by subsequent strategical mistakes. More wars have been won by the élan, the passion, and the will to sacrifice of whole nations than by the genius of commanders.

It is in the political preparations and the use of political opportunities that we find the outstanding distinctions to be made between the strategical situation which faced Germany in 1914 and that which faced her in 1940. The German Army and German leaders of 1940 profited by mistakes of

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