When two ‘experts’ meet

The referenced appraisal in the Arbeiter-Zeitung, the official organ of the Austrian social democrats, shows how well Ross’s Berlin lecture (see The military strategist) met the needs and the interests of his public.

What strikes the reader immediately is the prominence of the referenced review, a sign of the significance of Ross’s talk: it appeared  on the first and the second page positions where, during the First World War, reports from the front or important political developments were typically found.1 The anonymous reviewer stresses that the central point of Ross’s Berlin lecture is that it is “based on his perceptions from direct experience”2 and relates it to the most recent incidents on the western front, the conquest of two strategically important hills before Verdun, the Côte 304 and Le Mort Homme. This success, however, won’t allow the troops of the Central Powers nor their ‘home front’ think that it might last long, since positional warfare is mainly characterized by minor movements “by the meter”. Moreover, the functions of artillery and infantry have also shifted under these developments. Currently, artillery plays a more substantial role than it used to do, which made the two army branches equally suitable for both defense and attack.3 Technical equipment and its improvement will play thus a crucial role in future conflicts.

The author useshis review of Ross’s eyewitness lecture to remind the reader of the newspaper’s own repeated warnings of the modified conduct of war. The coordinated work of the various army branches  and their technological progress, guaranteed by the ‘enlightened’ Central Powers, will certainly help to win the war.

Katalin Teller

Anonymous. Meterweise. Arbeiter-Zeitung: 1916 May 12;  XXVIII (131); 1-2.

Topic: The Great War
Case: Speaking engagements


1 According to our evidence so far, it was since  the late 1930s that Ross was occasionally referred to as an expert on political questions in a lead. See for instance Anonymous. Washingtons Testament. Hamburger Anzeiger: 1939 Feb 3; 52 (29); [1]. See Library.

2 Ross addressed the same problem in his article Vor Verdun (Before  Verdun), which was soon re-published in his collection of war reports (see Nature morte and the expert’s voice).

3 See also the review of Ross’s book Wir draußen (Us out there), which positively highlighted Ross’s expertise regarding new strategic demands, x. s. Die moderne Schlacht in Theorie und Praxis. Das Buch der Front. Neues Wiener Journal: 1916 Oct 18; 24 (8251) Mittagblatt; 19-20. See Library.

Scroll to page top