World War I and War Cost Germany

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Modern History Summary

World War 1 1914-1919
* Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to Austrian throne, assassinated 28th June 1914, invoked war * July Crisis 1914 led to multiple Euro nations declaring war against each other, separated into Allied (Britain, France, Russia) and Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) * Schlieffen Plan

* Based on idea that Germany would have to fight France/Russia, didn’t want to fight them both at once * France would expect Germany to invade from east, wouldn’t be prepared for invasion from north * Created by Alfred von Schlieffen 1905, became Germany’s only war strategy * Based on assumption:

* Russian mobilisation would take 6 weeks in which they could defeat France * France would be easily defeated in 6 weeks
* Belgium wouldn’t resist German attack
* Britain would remain neutral
* Reality:
* Germans held up by the Belgium army backed up by the British * Russia mobilised in 10 days
* Germany attacked east of Paris, met by French at Marne, halted German advance * Schlieffen retired, replaced by von Moltke - more cautious * The plan couldn’t be abandoned, Moltke modified it, huge subject of debate * Changes to the plan undermined effectiveness, army concerned at long distance b/w German armies thus sent soldiers to east instead of west Paris, they couldn’t encircle Paris, left Germans vulnerable to attack from French/British army * Belgium troops stronger than expected, British arrived sooner than expected * By the battle of Marne German troops exhausted, food supplies hadn’t kept pace with rapid advance, troops weary from walking long distances * German retreat from Marne cost Germany the quick defeat of France * Plan 17

* French troops would quickly recapture Alsace and Lorraine * Troops would then move into German territory
* The Battle of Marne
* One of most important modern Euro battles
* Tactically the Allied victory over Germany disappointing * Strategically import, saved France from defeat, ensured creation of trench warfare * Schlieffen Plan failed, early hostilities left 1/10 of France in German control, Moltke’s career ended, Germans forced to ‘dig in’, allies tried to drive the Germans back, no success, WW1’s 1st example of trench warfare * Reasons for Stalemate on the Western Front

* Race to sea – after Marne both sides began to dig in, tried to outflank each other to gain control of channel ports, trenches fortified, defence superior over offense, by battle of Ypres deadlock est, trenches stretched from sea to Swiss Alps, stalemate * Defensive Superiority – new, industrial war, easier to defend trench than capture one, infantrymen didn’t have weaponry that could overcome German defences * Christmas 1914

* Hostilities temp ended during Xmas 1914, troops fraternised in no-man’s land, British commanders ordered an end to any future fraternisation, severe punishment * From 1915 Germans/Allies adopted different approaches to trench warfare, Germans needed to make best of situation, aim was to bide time, overall more defensive than Allies * For French situation different, Germans on French soil, ppl expected French would drive Germans from land, meant French had to take offensive against entrenched position * British obliged to support French offensive, British had own problem, front line only 80km from Channel Ports, German breakthrough meant they could take the ports, British felt offensive needed to push front from ports to give BEF ‘breathing room’ * Trench warfare wasn’t type of warfare generals anticipated, when ‘war of movement’ ended Nov 1914, generals expected to resume active warfare following spring, though it would be way of war fought for 4yrs * Trenches varies in quality depending on:

* Whether viewed as temporary/permanent...
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