Battle of Verdun

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Jacee Arbegast
U. S. History: A-4
March 15, 2013
The start of the longest single battle in World War I began on February 21, 1916 and didn’t end until December 18, 1916. One of the main reasons the British began the battle of Somme was because of the casualties from Verdun and the impact of the war on the French Army (Trueman, Chris). The root of this battle is held in a letter that was written by Erich von Falkenhayn to Wilhelm II. Von Falkenhayn wanted to explain that their key to the war would be starting on the western front rather than the east because of Russia. The happenings of this battle and everything about it have been questioned by people since it happened and figuring out the whole battle is a major part of our history. When the German Chief of General Staff wanted to “bleed France White,” was when the thought of attacking Verdun came about. Verdun consisted of a French historic sentiment and had approximately 20 large forts and 40 less important ones around the area. It also had around 18 underground fords holding artillery turrets and cannons. Verdun stood as a defensive stature in France holding up since the fifth century (“Battle of Verdun”). The downfall of Verdun was that the forts were different in quality and size which also caused there to be a difference in how well a fort could resist heavy artillery. In his letter, Falkenhayn stated that if they conduct the fall of the French in WWI Great Britain would surrender to the Germans or otherwise be defeated. Part of his dilemma with the Kaiser was how would the U. S. react to their battle with France and would it ignite their flame to join in in the war. Falkenhayn chose Verdun because after the early stages of the war, the French believed in their fortress more than ever. In reality, the fortress was valued more “symbolically than strategically” (Duffy, Michael). One of his thoughts behind attacking Verdun was that the French would send all of their soldiers there to protect...
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