Article Review: Importance of Accountability

Importance of Accountability

In the article, The Blood Test Revisited: A New Look at German Casualty in World War I, by James McRandle and James Quirk, the authors try to put forward the idea that the statistics, provided in the previous records, was not very accurate.

It is clear from the beginning of this article, that the statistics on the World War I causalities indicates that the Germans suffered fewer casualties compared to their western counterparts, who are the French and the British. Even though, all the parties that had been involved in the World War I suffered casualties[1], thus, it is not right to give inaccurate report on the number of casualties.

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The article confirms that obtaining accurate data on casualties suffered in war, such as the World War I, is not an easy task. The argument made by Charles Carrington in 1965, that the account of the casualties made was made through the research work conducted by Sir Charles Oman, supports this idea.

This proves that the previous records had some problems with the data presentation. The article goes on to state that even the comparison tables made on the casualties from the work of Sir Winston Churchill that have been widely used by scholars, who previously worked on the issue, are not credible and any future scholarly work should not be based on them.

Casualties, suffered by any side during the war, are evident even though there might be a degree of variance in terms of losses. From these differences in casualties, it can be seen that the category of the lightly wounded is widely ignored, and this was not a different case in the figures that presented German casualties.

The article indicates that the German war statistics on casualties did not include figures that presented the category of lightly wounded. They did not give an account of those soldiers who received casualties but returned to the battlefield after treatment. The records presented by the British side were, however, different from those of those gathered by Germans because they included all the casualties suffered during the World War I; both light and heavy casualties.

The issue of the lightly wounded casualties was an issue of a great controversy in account for the casualties suffered during the World War. Concerning this issue, the article states that Churchill had to source for advice in his correspondence to the “Blood Test” chapter. The main issues he had to seek advice for were the issues of the lightly wounded soldiers.

One of the advices he received was from Edmonds who assured him that the data he was using did not have a section on the lightly wounded. In this statement, he also made a clear argument that the 30% correction he had made on the British and the German counts were appropriate. However, the article goes on to show that Churchill did not agree with the 30 percent correction made on this data by Edmonds despite having been given assurance by German statistic experts.

History always repeats itself and, therefore, the mistakes committed in such situations as the World War I will recur. It is, therefore, necessary to give an accurate account of the events that took place during any of such episodes. The writer of the article under analysis article argues that the data provided for the casualties during the war is not correct. The writer goes on to show that the account given by the Germans missed many materials.

In addition, the author claims that the Germans did not reorganize the lightly wounded as casualties. This article gives a comparison of the data collected on casualties from the different fronts, that is the western and the French fronts. The writer bases his suggestion on this data, and thus, he makes his argument clear providing that data from one source is not sufficient for any meaningful comparison on the casualties suffered during any war.

The writer, therefore, goes on to argue that data obtained from either side involved in the war is always a subject of exaggeration. Furthermore, the writer continues to show that any side will manipulate the data on their casualties in order to meet their own interests. The writer then goes on to argue that any history scholar, who wishes to make an account of an event such as the world war, should not rely on one source of information only.

The writer goes on to make an account of the casualties suffered during the World War I without taking position of any side, and also he provides the analysis of several sources from this account. Therefore, this work is valid for any scholar willing to find figures and data on the World War I casualties.

The author should provide required support and convincing evidences for any argument or claim in scholarly work in order to make this work reliable. In accordance with the Chicago writing style, the writer of the article makes use of statistic data to support his arguments. The writer also makes use of direct quotes and footnotes from other author’s works in order to support his claims and arguments.

Notes

1. McRandle, J. H., and Quirk, J. “The Blood Test Revisited; A New Look At German Casualties in World War I.” The Journal of Military History 70, no. 3 (2006): 668-701. Accessed October 10, 2011. http://www.jstor.org.proxy-bc.researchport.umd.edu.

McRandle, J. H., and Quirk, J. “The Blood Test Revisited; A New Look At German Casualties in World War I.” The Journal of Military History 70, no. 3 (2006): 668-701. Accessed October 10, 2011. http://www.jstor.org.proxy-bc.researchport.umd.edu.

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