“Strongly nationalistic and patriotic in orientation, matchless researchers and unrivaled polemicists–controversy has long been an art form among German intellectuals–the pundits and professors rallied behind a cause lost by the soldiers. Given a previously unheard of access to government documents and frequently supported by government money, a generation of revisionists challenged and denied Germany’s sole responsibility for what they recognized as a catastrophe, but attributed it to causes more complex than the behavior of a single country and its government.” 
Fraternity of Arms is also refreshing deviant from the vast repository of research material on the Great War that came out during interwar years. The publications of this period were identified closely with the states from which they originated. The example of German intellectuals alluded to above is also true of research tendencies in other nations in Europe. Analyses pertaining to the war were done as a way of defending and justifying actions of respective states. Also, unlike modern techniques of history writing the early exercises were very large in scale and scope. Processing and organizing it usually proves tough for even the most qualified and well-trained historians. And “not for another half century would scholars be able to construct the ingenious approaches that characterize today’s literature on the war’s origins.” And Bruce’s work exemplifies those ‘ingenious approaches’ Dennis Showalter is talking about. For instance, his thesis, centered on the Franco-American alliance, is both supra-national as well as limited (but thorough) in its scope.
Robert Bruce also succeeds in not making his historical work a project of self-justification for western allies. In this respect, his treatment of the politics and policies of the Second Reich was only moderately critical and that too only to the extent it substantiates his core thesis. It is a common tendency among British and American historians to demonize Germany and its actions in both world wars. Bruce manages to overcome this tendency in his project, probably because his focus is on the fraternity of soldiers – their lives and challenges during the war – as opposed to such conventional areas of focus in historical research as diplomacy, military strategy and grappling for power. The following passage gives a snapshot of the body of work that preceded Bruce’ and helps highlight the latter’s unique contribution to history:
“From the first postwar wave of research and analysis, a pecking order among the major participants emerged. Thus, in the United States, Harry Elmer Barnes inverted conventional wisdom by blaming France and Russia. (2) Harvard’s Sidney Bradshaw Fay asserted that Austria-Hungary had a greater direct responsibility than any other power for the war’s immediate outbreak. (3) Halfway across the continent at the University of Chicago, Bernadotte Schmitt continued to assert Germany’s primary, although not exclusive, responsibility. (4) This last point characterized the first wave of scholarship on the Great War. Even those accepting the conclusions of Versailles tipped their hats to the work of their colleagues who reached different conclusions–conceding, however grudgingly, that the “truth” of the war’s origins had yet to be determined.”
As for deficiencies in the historiography of Fraternity of Arms, one could point to its weak treatment of underlying economic equations during the Great War. Insofar as all wars have a strong economic motive, it is surprising and to an extent disappointing to see it missing in an otherwise impressive book. Bruce’s work is written for a western audience co-habiting a unipolar geo-political world. As a result, the dominant neo-liberal capitalist ideology, supported and promoted by its leadership, is almost taken for granted and rarely contested. Bruce seems to have gotten swept away in this bandwagon and he has little to offer in the form of critical insights in this area. But interwar historical research, with all its weaknesses and biases, paid much greater attention to this important facet of geo-politics. For example, talking of trends and thrusts during early twentieth century historiography, author Kevin Stubbs makes the following key observation. If Fraternity of Arms has a major flaw, then it is the lack of such economic perspectives: