The reasons for the stalemate on the Western Front
During 1914-18, the weapons of defensive warfare - artillery, machine guns and barbed wire- were stronger and more reliable than the weapons and technology of the offensive Aircraft were not developed sufficiently
Tank was neither powerful or reliable
The Schlieffen plan was an effect of this, as:
the technology was not available for the German army to move with the speed that was critical to the success of the Schlieffen Plan, and had to do it on foot. The Schlieffen Plan-prepared in 1905.
Plan was to attack France quickly though Holland and Belgium, capturing Paris and defeating the france completely within 6 weeks. German forces would then be redeployed in the east against Russia. Involved a massive German Thrust sweeping through Belgium into northern France, cutting of Channel ports and attacking Paris from the west. A small force would hold off a possible French attack on the common France-German Border. Failings of the Schlieffen Plan
Modification to the Plan, including a weakening of the force on the right Flank meant to take Paris. 125 000 strong British Expeditionary force provided opposition not factored in the plan. Resistance in Belgium slowed German Advance. Lost momentum and resources with battles in Belgium. Russia mobilised more quickly than expected so 2 army corps on right flank were transferred to the Eastern Front. The Germans stopped at the battle of the Marne. This battle saved Paris. The Subsequent race to the sea ended in the first Battle of Ypres. Germans failed in attempt to capture Channel Ports, to cut flow of supplies to allies. By the end of 1914, both sides had established trench formations stretching from the Channel, to the Swiss border. This was the Swiss border. Both sides had same firepower. They were evenly matched until 1917. Both sides kept on using same predictable strategies and tactics.
Logistics: battlefield supply lines maintained the balance of stalemate between the forces. Losses of men and materials could be replaced. There was a dense railway grid that linked great industrial centres to battlefields. Supported by Taylor.
Offensive warfare needed new technology:
To break concrete and wire lines of defence protected by artillery and machine guns Artillery and machine guns gave defenders the advantage
The weapon that dominated the battlefield was artillery Keegan, inflicts more casualties than any other weapon.
Germans chose and held the best positions: from 1915, the high ground. Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele Ridge. Made it difficult for attacking foes.
Artillery was not effective as an offensive weapon: as it was a defensive weapon. Can be seen during the Battle of the Somme in 1916.
By 1918, target recognition by artillery had improved significantly
Mindset that dominated the belief in an offensive:
Infantry were used inappropriately
New Offensive tactics were not developed until the later part of the war, in response to new defensive tactics and weapons.
Nature of Trench Warfare and life in the Trenches
Trench warfare is a form of war in which both opposing armies have static lines of fortifications dug into the ground, facing each other. Trench warfare arose when there was a revolution in firepower without similar advances in mobility and communications.
Usually 3 lines of trenches on allied side
Front line trench
Where troops positioned themselves to prepare for, or defend against attack Reserve Trenches
Where troops waited to be called up to the front line
Connecting the above three were communication trenches
Complex trench systems that stretched back to first aid posts and supply depots Support trench
line where supply and provisions would wait until needed by front-line Saps
are low dug trenches reaching under the barbed wire and out to machine gun and listening posts further out in no-man's land. Germans had concrete pill boxes.
Sand bags were filled with earth excavated during construction of trench. Reinforced the trench during wet weather
Protected soldiers from shrapnel and bullets
Dirt from digging trench could be "disposed off."
Dugouts were shelters dug in the ground and provided accommodation for soldiers. German dugouts were often reinforced with concrete, and were quite large and they proved to be effective shelters during artillery bombardment Protection in adverse weather conditions
Duckboards were often used in the hope of keeping soldier's feet out of mud Tried to prevent trench foot
A parapet as the top part of the trench where the soldier shot from
Barbed wire was also used
Slow the enemy down if they arrived at the trenches
Obscured defender from enemy's line of sight
Defenders would know where to point gun's during an incoming "over-the-top" attack, due to the opening in the enemy's barbed wire.
Height was a foot higher than a man's head, to ensure protection with a fire-step on the side toward the enemy.
Trenches were dug in zigzag patterns to contain explosions within shorter sections of the trench, thus saving many more lives and making the trench easier to defend.
Fortified bunker at the back of each trench system from where senior commanding officers would operate in order to protect them, they were more important than the average foot soldier.
There was a never-ending struggle with the water and mud
German trenches were of high quality, in contrast to British trenches, who regard the trenches as temporary, as they were on the offensive.
From 1916 onwards, the Turnip Winter reflected the German inferiority in maintaining its armies. The contrast was evident in the Ludendorff Offensive when they found that the British were better equipped and fed.
The German Army had a different attitude towards the tactical use of troops. This meant, of course, that the Germans suffered less devastation than the British.
Lice; rats the size of cats; latrines unhygienic; Sickness - pneumonia, dysentery, frostbite, kidney disease, trench foot
Food included tinned beef, biscuit and jam.
Stand to, breakfast, shave and wast time, jobs -sentry duty, rations and rest, stand to again at dusk, dinner - rations, night - most active part.
Overview of strategies and tactics to break the stalemate including key battles
Strategy of attrition
The stalemate on the Western Front was primarily broken by the Allies' overwhelming advantage in human and material resources The Germans were still in France when the armistice was signed, which meant that their tactics were still working, they hadn't been pushed back. They were however running out of supplies, and the German Home front crumpled behind them, the capacity of the German economy to sustain the army is what collapses.
A significant change in tactic was the use of smaller unit operations. German storm troopers, Operation Michael 1918
Close coordination of artillery, tanks and infantry contributed to allied breakthroughs in the counteroffensive of 1918. (General Monash).
Light machine guns and flamethrowers
First used in April 1915 by Germany at Ypres.
Quickly adapted by allied forces
Attritional tactic with no real value except deadliness.
No tactical use until Spring 1918 where it was used as a smokescreen by Germany. However by 1917 gasmasks were perfected.
Developed to overcome the obstacles on the battlefield for troops, whilst providing protection First used at Somme (1916)
However too slow, obstacles in landscape (mud, holes etc),
Successful in the Battle of Cambrai 1917, , however they were too slow and had little infantry support to consolidate gains. Moral support for allies, psychological effect on Germans
Used as an excuse to surrender
Use of tanks, infantry and air support in conjunction with coordinated artillery fire (Monash) First air supply drop in history performed by Monash
Storm trooper tactics
Troops specially trained and equipped to perform first and hyper-aggressive manoeuvres based on small group of firing patterns supported by tactical artillery strikes to support units. Designed to take tactical locations
Fairly successful during Operation Michael 1918, but did not last as the Germans were unable to fortify their positions
Going "over the top" - frontal attack
Predictable Tactic used - frontal attack
Predictable artillery fire preceded attack - however as very inaccurate until 917. Piercing whistle signalled the start t attack.
Organisations broke down as men came under fire from machine guns, rifle bullets and artillery shells which burst amongst the exposed attacking force.
Falkenhayn wanted to break the French army by forcing it to defend Verdun, based on the fact that France would never retreat from this area. Symbolic value, and a strategic position
The town of Verdun was destroyed
Casualties: 350k French, 300k German
Did not break French resistance
British would stage an attack to help the french by getting germany to take pressure off Verdun Large artillery bombardment
Germans were well protected in large underground dug-outs often 12 metres underground Classic example of the strategy of attrition
Kitchener's army was wiped out
Succeeded in goal of diverting the Germans away from verdun
Brit - 420k
French - 200k
German - 450k
Aimed to capture U-boat bases in Zeebrugge and Ostend
The original Breakthrough that was intended never took place due to rains stalling the allied advance, making tanks useless 10km gained
Brit - 240k
German - 260k
Changing attitudes of Allied and German soldiers to the war over time Outbreak of war was generally treated with enthusiasm
General Widely held belief that the war would be over by Christmas High voluntary enlistment rates in 1914
However there were obviously some who feared war
Moltke, German Chief of Staff as convinced that it would be a long war for Germany, suspecting defeat Kitchener, British Secretary of State for War, was ready for a lengthy and bloody struggle
General enthusiasm that greeted the outbreak of war in 1914 had clearly dissipated by 1916 as the casualty lists grew Songs changed from one of optimism to that of plaintive and optimism Dreadful losses on the Somme in 1916 accentuated this
Kitchener's new army was virtually wiped out
Reduced enlistment rates
Need for countries like Britain to enforce conscription
Between April and June 1917 French Army mutinied
Due to high casualty rates. Failure of Nivelle Offensive, low pay and cancelled leaves 27 000 deserted
By July Petain convinced rebel units to move back - with promises of improved food, rest periods, leave.
By 1918, German armies especially were affected by illness, poor communication and exhaustion Discipline gave way after he failure of the 1918 offensives
Mutinies in Nov. 1918
Poetry traces the evolution of attitudes towards the war, commanders, the enemy, civilians at home.
By the Somme 1916, the Germans saw themselves as defending not only their country also French civilians against a brutal British assault As by this time they were defending peaceful French villages
1 THE HOME FRONTS IN BRITAIN AND GERMANY
Total war means that countries involved mobilised their entire populations and economic resources to achieved on the battlefield.
Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) Aug. 1914
Gave govt. Powers to suppress published criticism, imprison without trial and to commandeer economic resources for the war effort Suspension of civil rights - virtual martial law in place
In 1917 govt. took over 2.5 mill. Acres of land through DORA. Women's Land Army and Conscientious objectors worked on it
Alcohol consumption was discouraged and enforced during certain times Increased Govt. control,
Ministry of Munitions set up in 1915
Aug. 1914 War Office Press Bureau established
Censor news and telegraphic reports from the British Army and then issue it to the press. Letter from members of armed forces were also read and censored After 1915, selected journalists were allowed to report the war These journalists had to accept govt. control over what they wrote
Forbade engineers from leaving the works where they were employed.
Food rationing introduced in Jan. 1918
Response to effective U-boat campaign
The idea was to guarantee supplies, not to reduce consumption Due to rationing, no one starved in Britain
Entered the war more prepared than any other nation
Europe's leading economic power in 1914, but heavily reliant on imports of raw materials Some resources did not exist within Germany which were required towards the production of ammunition - therefore was not in an economic position for a long war. Faced the main problem of not being able to feed the home front Supreme War Office (Same As DORA) helped economic organisation Established in 1916 258 regulations on food - price controls, rationing, 2 meatless days, K-Bread - Kriegsbrot
Raw Materials Department
Implemented regulation, synthetic manufacture and substitute goods Kids collected scrap matels, rubber, rags etc in exchange for days at school. Program run by Rathenall who called it War Socialism
Winter 1914, German people began eating "K-bread" (Kriegsbrot) Bread without wheat but potato as main ingredient
Best food sent to the soldiers
By 1916 food shortages were appearing across Germany
Winter 1916 - "Turnip Winter"
Destroyed potato crops, which was a major source of food for the people, as a result, turnips became the main source of food
Agricultural produce fell by 50-70% between 1914-17
Many substitutes were found for many things
Silk, clothes, rubber, margarine etc
Large scale labour shortage
New laws established to put all men between age 17-60 to work in factories Children were used to harvest local farms
Finally, French and Belgian people in occupied territories were deported to work in factories.
German civilians suffered more than the British
Propaganda, censorship, conscription and recruitment
Purpose of Propaganda
1. Maintain morale
2. Encourage Enlistment
3. Generate hatred of enemies
4. Cover up blunders
5. Justify War
On outbreak of war in Aug, 1918 Brit. Had 247 000 troops
Recruitment campaign immediately started in Aug. 1918 for men aged 30-35 Successful with 30 000 joining everyday
By late Sept. 750 000 had joined
At beginning of war, Army had strict specifications
By May 1915, age was raised to 40, and reduced physical standards In 1915, only 343 000 men joined
Introduction of conscription in Jan. 1916 (Military Service Bill) Called up childless children, single men and widowers ages 18-40 Second Military Service Act May 1916
All men 18-41 had to enlist regardless
British War Propaganda Bureau was also set up to increase recruitment and support for the war Became more radical, women used in posters to persuade brothers, husbands….what women would associate herself with cowards. Royals changed their last name from Saxe-Coburg to Windsor
Portrayed strong images of women capable of bearing on Home front but needed men to go and protect them British Images - patriotic symbols
Union jack, Kitchener, Britannia
Barbaric images of German atrocities
Widespread personal appeal
Family images (What did you do in the War Daddy)
British also used film - effective in gaining US support when shown in cinemas Objectives:
Inspire hatred of the enemy, a moral crusade
German atrocities concocted
Stereotyping barbarianism with Germany
Inspire self sacrifice
DORA Act gave Govt. the right to censor things
Provided for the prosecution of people who did not keep these rules Documentary scenes were stages
By 1918 casualty figures no longer published
Didn't require special laws to take control of censorship and conscription More authoritarian society
Conscription already in place
German Hate Campaign blamed Britsh as aggressors and for Germany's woes Hymn of Hate
German Propaganda was not highly emotive as conscription in Germany was always accepted so there was no need for recruitment propaganda Aims
Raise war loans
Create anti-British sentiments
German High Command maintained higher control over information Strict news censorship
Good news highlighted, but never reported bad news
Changing attitudes of Civilians and how they changed
General enthusiasm at news of war.
Political parties united with the govt.
However not everyone felt the same
Young men rushed to enlist
People though that the war was forced on Germany
Civil govt. disappeared replaced by military taking over all things Almighty god was on their side
Jan. 1915 rationing introduced
New motto - "I am proud to thirst and hunger for the fatherland" By mid-1915 undercurrents of dissent, peace movement and various women's protests for more food were occurring By late 1915, needs for ammunition were staggering
Metals from all sources were demanded: containers, cookware etc
Strikes increased by 1916
Food was the centre of attention by 1916
Substitutes for things from all facets of life "ersatz"
On Dec. 1916 - Auxiliary Service Law
Males aged 17-60 had to be in govt. service
Turnip winter - more hardship
Many saw their sacrifices were now useless - result was a breakdown in order and discipline Violent crime and thieving
More cries for peace and food
Germany saw itself completely united
Truce between political parties
Trade Unions agreed not to strike
Conscription was an accepted part of life, a proud German tradition
The outbreak of war
Initial Euphoria: adventure/excitement - gaining honour for a righteous cause - nationalism. Those who feared the war at least felt it would be over by Christmas. Upper class men saw the war as a release from the confinement of the boarding school. Working class - an option against the grinding monotony of the factory or unemployment
Fighting on the western front had settled into trench routine Became evident the war would be longer than expected for both civilians/soldiers. Initial enthusiasm for the war evaporated in 1915. The worst aspects of trench warfare began to impose on the soldiers Unrest for the War began in 1915 for Germany with peace and anti-war calls in Berlin
After the Somme:
Fighting dreadful losses of the Somme - allowed despair to replace enthusiasm for the war, in which Kitchener's army was wiped out. Some soldiers now felt bitterness towards the war.
For civilians, this battle was the turning point. Enormous losses with so little gain caused people to question the way the war was being fought. Queuing for food, bomb raids and rationing caused people to become war weary.
Growing hard ship and disillusionment with the war led to demands for peace from the public. Peace demonstrations in Berlin December 1916 - Karl Leibknect & Rosa Luxembourg. Strikes across the country. 1917 - hunger strikes developed into anti-war movements.
1918 - 25 000 strike in Berlin
Factors that led to German disillusionment
Failure of Military Objectives
Growing food shortages
US joining British Side of war - see Germany lose hope in victory Extremely harsh winter of 1916/17
Loss of faith in Govt. as people demand "Peace, Freedom and Bread."
The impact of the war on women's life and experiences in Britain War offered increased opportunities in the paid labour market. Between 1914 and 1918, an estimated 2 million females replaced men in employment. Increase in the proportion of women in total employment from 24% in July 1914 to 37% in Nov. 1918. Opened a wider range of occupations to women
Hastened the collapse of traditional women's employment, particularly domestic service. Middle class women sought domestic servants
Women were drawn to Industry sector and Civil Service sector. Due to:
Trade Unionism second legacy of war
The war forced trade unions to deal with issue of women's work The formation of separate women's unions threatened to destabilise men only unions. Took it for granted that the women be paid less
The low pay for females made it attractive to employers
8-% of munitions were produced by women
Conditions in factories were tough
Work was dangerous
Explosion in 1917 killed 69
TNT poisoning (yellowing of skin gave nicknames "canaries")
No shortage of women will to work
Pay was 2 -3 times greater than domestic service
Outside of munitions
Reluctance to let women serve led to voluntary work (fund raising, providing comfort and entertainment for men on leave) Eventually nursing became an accepted position for women
Social Impact of the war on women
Improved positoin of women -greater self respect
Freed middle class women from restraints from home
Working class women lived harder lives due to husbands at the front Long working hours plus domestic duties
War left women with restless feeling
Wanted to continue to enjoy better pay and freedom
Change in dressing and habits
Sec Discrimination removals Act only benefitted middle class women
In Germany, women were also doing a lot of things, similar to Brtain, but with greater hardship due to chronic food shortages
1 TURNING POINTS
Impacts of the entry of the USA and of the Russian withdrawal
Entry of USA
Reasons for entry:
Germany's unrestricted u-boat warfare and Zimmerman telegram May 7th 1915 Lusitania sank - 124 Americans killed
British proaganda accentuated the event in order to involve America However US parliament was divided on the issue
In Feb 1917 Germany announced that they would be carrying out unrestriced submarine warfare Zimmerman telegram intercepted by the Brits and passed on the the US Combination of U-boat campaign and the telegram led to USA to declare war on Germany in April 1917
Impact of entry:
Immediate impact on morale of the Allied troops, and a major blow to German morale American Navy introduced to the British the convoy system to counter German U-boats Supported the Brit economy ($500 mill which went into weaons manufacture By mid to late 1918, almost all allied forces were well trained and well equipped First troops were under-trained and physical effect of American troops was felt in Oct. 1918 Allies had access to million of US draftees at a time where Germany was struggling to fill its divisions Allies has access to million of US dollars at a time when the German treasury was nearly empty
Lack of supplies, food, ammunition, boots led to indiscipline and mutiny in Russia in 1917 Complete social, economic, and political breakdown and the Tsar abdicated People desperate for peace, bread and land
Bolsheviks gained power on 7th Nov. 1917, Lenin knew he had to pull out of war Signs Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany On Mar. 3rd 1918
Very harsh - Russia loses:
32% of all arable land
26% of railways
75% of all iron and coal mines
62 mill. Citizens of the Old Russian empire
War on the Western Front was still a stalemate when Russia withdrew, as could be seen in the Battle of Passchendale This then gave Germany the "window of opportunity" to add 1 mill. Battle hardened troops to the Western Front. Before the presence of American troops could be felt, Ludendorff wanted to launch a final offensive to break the stalemate, and the Russian withdrawal gave him that chance due to the opportunity to commit extra troops.
Ludendorff's Spring Offensive and the Allied Response
Reasons for Ludendorff Offensive
Ludendorff believed that the longer the war dragged on, the better the chances of Allied Victory. He knew Germany could achieve victory only if it acted before the full power of the US could be felt Strains on the homefront
Civil and Political Unrest
The above could only worsen
Opportunity of Russian Withdrawal
Could transfer hundreds of troops to the Western Front
Operation Michael (March to July 1918)
Began on 21 March 1918
French Army fell back to defend Paris if Necessary
Haig wrote that he was singlehandedly holding off the German Offensive General Foch was given the authority to coordinate Allied Forces. Germans captured more territory then Allies had managed together. By Late July German advance was petering
Germans suffered a million casualties, which he could not replace. Germany had to face a counter offensive now.
Allied Counteroffensive (Aug. to Nov. 1918)
Massive counterattack on 8th August. Brit Losses high - 180 000 casualties betweehn 8th August and 26th Sept. Ludendorff described this - "8th August was the Black Day of the German Army." Foch's tactic was to hit the enemy at different points on the front, one after the other never giving them a chance to recover. Foch aimed to surprise the Germans tactically with concentrated use of Tanks, and strategically with coordinated, simultaneous attacks.
Ludendorff's address to the Reichstag
Due to increasing number of Americans, the blockade, and unrest on the Home front, Ludendorff decided to address the Reichstag and tell them of Germany's true situation He saw two factors as the cause for German failures: tanks and America. He believed that "each fresh day the enemy nears his goal and becomes less inclined to conclude a peace that will be tolerable for [Germany]."
1 ALLIED VICTORY
Events leading to the Armistice, 1918
Reasons for allied Victory
New weapons and tactics
Efficient command structures
Many of the poorly performing Allied Generals had been removed from their commands by 1918 and replaced by juniors who ha practical experience of the battlefield command and who appreciated more readily the need for thorough planning and supply. Best Example was Australian general Sir John Monash.
One other example of the superiority of Allied command system in the last year of the war was the appointment of Foch as Commander-in-Chief of Allied forces He differed from Haig and other Generals
His ability to smooth over national differences and impose his will on the Battlefield was prodigious The Tank
They were first used in September 1916 on the Somme but with inexperienced crews and impossible ground, they had very little effect. The tank was first used en masse during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. Too slow, not used properly, as shown in Battle of Cambrai
Used successfully under General Monash, as he properly coordinated offensives using the tank, using it to the upmost advantage in the Allied Counter offensive in 1918
Monash and Changing Tactics of Generals
Skilfully combined shrewd tacts with logistical planning (air supply) and technological know-how Made sure the men were trained in the use of unfamiliar weapons (mills bombs, Vickers, Lewis Light Machine gun, and mortars) Rotated men in the trenches every 15 days at a time practising raids, patrols etc. Coordinated military linking infantry to planes and artillery Tactic of "leapfrogging"
Had the element of surprise
Came up with innovative plans which coordinated artillery, tanks, infantry and aeroplanes. 4 mins of artillery bombardment compared with days
Carrier tanks carrying supplies and weapons equivalent to 1250 bearer soldiers Aeroplanes drooped ammunitions to machine gunners (first use of air drop of supplies) His tactics were given to Allied commanders to study
He believed that "The true role of the infantry was...to advance under the maximum possible protection" In stark contrast to previous views
Use of mass tank formations was a crucial factor in the final months of the war.
Morale booster for the troops
Troops not used until July 1918 and not fully operational until Oct. 1918 Promise of manpower
Replenished units of the allies
Rest allied soldiers
Experienced French and Brit soldiers could be rested away from front-line before being used in the Spring Offensive in 1918 By 1918 there were 500 000 soldier to replenish and rest war weary soldiers Ludendorff claimed that this supply of reserves gave the allies the advantage that Germany could not match Greater supply of weapons, food, etc.
US money and supplies booted industrial production
In 1918 Allied Units had
30 Lewis guns
8 trench mortars
Major blow to German morale-industrial might of America
Reinforced Naval Blockade of Germany and introduced the convoy system to counter German U-boats All in all swung balance of power of war to allies
The allies had strategic advantages which enabled them to gain final victory More personnel
Greater industrial and agricultural capacity
Denial of supplies to the Central Powers
Effects of the Allied strategy of "attrition" that led to the breakthrough on the Western Front.
Allied victory was the cumulative effects of the Allied strategy of "attrition."
Support given by Germany's allies were largely ineffectual. Between 194 and 1917, none were able to break through on any of the fronts each was allocated. Balkan, Italian and Middle-Eastern Fronts collapsed when Germany was forced to withdraw its troops to bolsters its own forces on the Western Front
Long Term factors
Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
Failure of the plan meant that Germany was burdened with e 2 front war Could never brings it full might to bear on the Western Front Eastern Front
Took away resources from Germany to use on the Western Front Germany did not bring all her troops from the Eastern Front to the Western Front-army of occupation was kept She though that the revolution would fail and left some troops so that Germany could take over Russia. Of those Soldiers from the Eastern front many were war weary and some didn't want to fight - influenced by ideas of Bolshevik Socialism
Superiority of Allied Economic and Military resources
Germany was unable to deal with the Allied strategy of attrition The allied could afford more unlike Germany, to play a "waiting game." Eventually the Allies had more soldiers and resources for the Germans to withstand. Germany had ran out of money in 1918 to keep producing weapons By May 1918 a Berman Battalion had 692 men, with a rifle strength of only 500 men 1000 in 1914
It can be seen that the Home front stopped supporting the army Allied offensive in 1918 cost Germany 500 000 men - Germany didn't have the capacity to replace them
Allied Blockade and Strains on the German home front
British blockade was causing severe hardship and shortages, leading to unrest Major strike occurred, war production was further weakened
Disintegration of home front industry
Couldn't produce sufficient quantities of weapons and ordnance Inadequate supplies
They had crepe paper for bandages and cellulose paper for cotton wool, suffering a severe influenza epidemic
Blockade caused enormous hardship for the Germans
Lack of key imports put severe limits on the German economy to supple its army and placed enormous strain on the German Home front
Entry of the United States
Mobilisation of US Navy altered the balance of power into the Allies' favour Supplies from America and Canada was vital to Allied War effort Therefore Ludendorff sought to severe this lifeline
Leading to unrestricted submarine warfare, a major factor leading to American entry, which had an enormous negative impact on the Germans
Factors causing the rapid collapse of Germany
Exhaustion of the German Army
The Germans had thrown all they had in Operation Michael, however they were not able to break the Allied forces War weariness and declining morale
During Operation Michael German soldiers had to advance up to 65km a day German soldiers pushed forward but had to wait for supplies They saw "fat" healthy looking allied soldiers whilst they were scrawny and thin, a contradiction to what they were told - major psychological blow for soldiers
Arrival of the Americans
American forces were becoming a major factor in the fighting on the Western Front Numerical superiority of the Germans was disappearing due to arrival of American troops Ludendorff addresses the importance of the American forces in his address to the Reichstag.
Improved Allied General ship
Read above for Allied victory - "efficient command structures" Read above for changing tacts of generals
By late 1918 the allied commanders worked out how to use the technology available They had learnt how to coordinate infantry, machine guns, artillery, tanks and aircraft as offensive weapons
Ludendorff's role in the defeat
Lacked 'after-plans, no contingency plans should the offensive fail. No large scale strategic plan
Foch described them as buffalo tactics
Allied victory was a combination of a collapse of the German Home front. The German were under equipped
They had less men in each battalion
They had less weapons in each field
There was never a final victory on the battlefield, but came through the German High Command's perception of the collapse of the economy, the home front. This was due to the fact that the military was running the economy. Came from the German high command asking the Reichstag to sue for peace. They found out that they can no longer win
Germany was forced to fight a two front war
Germany could never match the combined economic and military power of the Allies German economy could not keep its army supplied
Entry of the United States in April 1917 meant that Germany had to face the strength and Wealth of the greatest power n Earth Allied Naval Blockade ensured that the longer the war went on, the more difficulty Germany had supplying its army and feeding its people Germany's allies were liabilities
Strains on the German Home front lower morale
Roles and differing goals in creating the treaty of Versailles Clemenceau
French Nationalist who was uninterested in Wilson's lofty ideas. He wanted to punish and permanently weaken Germany. Aims:
Wanted security and compensation for France
Wanted to break the German war machine
Maximum of 100 000 for future German Army
Wanted to permanently weaken the German economy
Wanted the Rhineland as a buffer between Germany and France
Wanted very heavy reparation payments
He was justified in his concerns
France suffered high casualties
Great cost to French industry and agriculture
Once Germany recovered, it would have potential to dominate Europe. Very strong influence from Homefront to make Germany pay
No-nonsense man French Nationalist
Failed to attain his goal of security
Was the realist who came between the two men and helped to achieve a compromise Aims:
He was looking into the future
It was in British Interest to revive the German economy so that the Brits economy would benefit
Influenced by population at home, which demanded punishment for Germany. Also influenced by parliament He had recently won "khaki" election, so he had to please people back home Less interest in seeing Germany permanently weakened
The Brits were keen on freeing themselves from European Problems and focus on economic recovery and their empire.
Idealist who had noble ideas about a just peace and an internationalist era when the League of Nations would stop conflicts. Aims:
Wanted national self-determination
Opposed to imperial rule
Internationalist, wanted nations to think about the international community The idea that nations will put the common international good before their own selfish national ambitions Wanted the league of nations to form to resolve future tensions Wilson was not suited to the hurly burly of international diplomacy The American public became increasingly isolationist
The American public wanted the troops back home
They didn't not want to be involved in the League of Nations to be involved in future conflicts
The Treaty of Versailles was not a foundation for lasting peace.
War Changing Weapons and Tactics
Excellent as a defensive weapon, but not for attacking
Required 2-3 soldiers to operate
Lewis Light Machine gun was developed and was successful for attacking purposes and first used in the Allied counter offensive in 1918
First used in April 1915.
Quickly adapted by allied forces through the development of gas masks By 1917 gas masks were perfected rendering gas useless
Originally an attritional tactic, but had no real value except for deadliness. No tactical use was noted until Spring 1918.
In Ludendorff Spring Offensive, used as smokescreen to disorient the enemy.
Use of tanks, infantry and air support in conjunction with periodic artillery fire First time plane were used to resupply infantry as well as used as bomber First use of a coordinated assault by General Monash in the Allied Counter-Offensive
They were first used in September 1916 on the Somme but with inexperienced crews and impossible ground, they had very little effect. The tank was first used en masse during the Battle of Cambrai in November 1917. Improved reliability with conjunction use of fascines
Too slow, not used properly, as shown in Battle of Cambrai
Used successfully under General Monash, as he properly coordinated offensives using the tank, using it to the upmost advantage in the Allied Counter offensive in 1918 They were the one weapon that could break through trench lines
Monash and Changing Tactics of Generals
Made sure the men were trained in the use of unfamiliar weapons (mills bombs, Vickers, Lewis Light Machine gun, and mortars) Rotated men in the trenches every 15 days at a time practising raids, patrols etc. Coordinated military linking infantry to planes and artillery Tactic of "leapfrogging"
Had the element of surprise
Came up with innovative plans which coordinated artillery, tanks, infantry and aeroplanes. 4 mins of artillery bombardment compared with days
Carrier tanks carrying supplies and wapons equivalent to 1250 bearer soldiers Aeroplanes drooped ammunitions to machine gunners (first use of air drop of supplies) He believed that "The true role of the infantry was...to advance under the maximum possible protection" In stark contrast to previous views
Changing mentality of Allied Generals made sure that new weapons and tactics to their full potential allowing the stalemate to break.
German Storm trooper Tactics:
Adapted from new tacts on the Eastern front first used by Russian Soldiers in the Brusilov Offensive Some German troops were specially trained and equipped to perform fast and hyper-aggressive manoeuvres on smal group firing patterns supported by tactical artillery support There were designed to take out trnech systmes and destroy tactical locations such as machine gun posts, artillery guns, viewing platforms Fairly successful when first used on the Western Front during Operation Michael, but did not last as German troops were unable to fortify themselves against the new style thinking of allied Generals like Monash and Foch.