In our cover story, James de Waal examines another enduring political link across the century: the blame game for the poor prosecution of war. In the aftermath of the Great War, it was the generals who were derided as ‘donkeys’. In the era of Iraq and Afghanistan, it is the politicians who are pilloried. So far British generals, enjoying higher standing with the public and press than the politicians, have had an easy ride, but that may not last.
Nicholas Bird, a Great War ‘swot’ since the 1960s, looks at why people are still drawn to the battle elds of the Somme. There are many good reasons – and some spurious ones.