From Mr Ian Priest.

Sir, I agree with Andrew Mitchell (Letters, July 8) that in this, of all years, during the centennial of the first world war, it is essential to get the historical facts right – which is why his misremembering of history left me so aghast.

Apparently, Mr Mitchell has never heard of the straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, the US contribution was tardy and relatively small, but it came at a point when the great powers had clearly bludgeoned themselves into such an impasse through a brutal war of attrition that no party was willing to surrender. It was no historical coincidence that once the US had entered the war, the allied efforts were enough to finally breach the Hindenburg Line and force a German surrender – at that point, all of Europe was so weak that all it took was a “peripheral influence” to win the war.

I’ll leave aside his contention that the US did win the second world war for Europe. While the US was certainly instrumental in the struggle, two-thirds of German casualties took place on the eastern front. Clearly, that was a war that was won on the steppes of Russia.

Ian Priest, Brooklyn, NY, US

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