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Channel to the Swiss border Verdun • German attack - 1916 • Designed as a war of attrition; goal was not to take Verdun, but to kill the enemy and wear down their will to fight • Lasted 10 months - no permanent gain of territory • 700,000 men lost their lives over a few miles of land Somme • British counterattack to relieve pressure on French at Verdun • Lasted several months; gained about 5 miles • Half million men lost on each side Paschendaele • British offensive • Began with series of detonations behind German line • Termed a “crime” because British did not take advantage of chaos created in German line • Characterized by “mud and rain” Wars on the other fronts helped to tip the balance in favor of the Allies War on the Eastern Front • Second largest front after the Western front • Russian and Serbs against the Germans, the Austrians, and the Ottoman Turks. • More movement than in the West, but was a virtual stalemate. 1914 • Russians penetrated Austria and Germany but were badly defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg. The Russians never fully recovered from this defeat. • However the sheer numbers of the Russians kept the Germans busy so they could never concentrate fully on the West. War on the Ottoman Front October 1914 • Turks came in on the side of the Germans and Austrians, thus creating a third front. 1915: • Gallipoli campaign - an attempt by the Allies to gain control of the Dardenelles and Bosporus, straits connecting the Black and Mediterranean Seas, so that the French and British could bring supplies to the large Russian army. • Was a disaster for the Allies who were forced after several months of fighting to give up. • British then decided to try a more indirect campaign by organizing Arab nationalist movements in the Middle East under the leadership of T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia. Through a series of attacks, the Arabs were able to severely damage the war efforts of the Ottomans. War on the Italian Front May 1915: • Italy joined the Allies, after being promised parts of Austria if the Allies were victorious. • Italian army lacked equipment and public opinion was divided over which side to fight for; nevertheless, the Italian front helped to divert the Austrian war effort.
War in Asia August 28, 1914 • Japan declared war on Germany. Japanese quickly overran German possessions in China and captured most of Germany's Pacific island colonies. War in Africa • British and French forces conquered most of Germany's possessions. • Germans did hold German East Africa until the end of the war. War on the High Seas British launched a blockade of Germany as soon as they entered the war. Jan 1915 • Germany responded by establishing a war zone around Britain. U-boats patrolled this area and sunk all ships that entered. May 1915 • Off the coast of Ireland the Lusitania, a British passenger ship, was sunk. The death of 139 U.S. citizens angers the United States. Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. president strongly protests. The Germans not wanting the Americans in the war agree to warn ships of neutral countries before firing; therefore, making submarine warfare useless for the time being. May 1916 • Battle of Jutland - Large German battleships decided to take on the British. Just off the coast of Denmark, the German and British navy engaged in the greatest surface naval battle of the war. It ends in a draw, but the Germans, fearful of losing more ships, remained in the Baltic for the duration of the war. Key Term: Q-boats: warships disguised as merchant ships. Were used by the British against German submarines. War on the Homefront • Total war -war that involves all segments of the population and all aspects of the economy. • Women played a large role in wartime industries. Took on jobs they never thought they could do and do them successfully. Children helped by collecting scraps and planting victory gardens. Civilian men are drafted in large numbers. Food, fuel, clothing was ration -- coupons were issued. If coupons were used up before next one were issued, you and yours had to do without or turn to the black market. • Propaganda - information issued to further your side's cause or to damage the other side's. Both sides will rely heavily on propaganda to foster support for the war. Russians Overthrow the Czar • The war in the East takes a great toll on the Russians. Lack of guns, ammunition, warm clothing, and food add to the discontent that many of the soldiers and civilians had long felt for the Czar's government. March 1917 • A revolution in Russia drove the Czar from power and a provisional government was set up. This new democratic government promised the Allies it would go on fighting. However, the heart and soul of the Russian people was no longer in the war. Problems in Germany • Military efforts in 1916 had nearly exhausted resources and manpower. • British naval blockade was creating critical shortages at home and on the front. Jan 31, 1917 • Germans announced a return to a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare. Germans vow to sink, without warning, any ship that entered waters around Britain. Feb 1917
Zimmerman Letter - a letter from the German foreign minister, Arthur Zimmerman, to the German minister in Mexico. In this letter Zimmerman suggested that Mexico should enter the war on the side of Germany if the U.S. should declare war on Germany. For this, Germany would help Mexico reclaim lands it had lost in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona in 1848.
United States Enters the War • With the return to unrestricted submarine warfare, with the public release of the Zimmerman letter, and with increased public pressure to do so, President Wilson on April 2, 1917 asked Congress to save the world for democracy and declare war on Germany. • To counter the successful U-boat attacks the Allies naval forces including the U.S. navy began to convoy merchant ships. The success of these convoys dashed the German's hopes for a quick defeat of the Allies before the Americans could mobilize their army. Russia Leaves the War • Germans were driving the Russians back and out of the war. Russia was in chaos after the overthrow of the Czar. Although the interim government under Kerensky had promised to keep fighting, the soldiers had made no such promises. Many soldiers began to desert. • Another group of revolutionaries under Lenin pledged to make peace. Therefore, the Germans arranged for Lenin who had been in exile in Switzerland to return secretly to Germany. After secretly crossing Germany in a sealed railcar, Lenin was hailed upon his arrival in Petrograd (St. Petersburg before 1914). November 1917 • Lenin and his followers the Bolsheviks took control of Russia. May 1918 • Germany and Russia signed the Treaty of Brest Litovsk that ended the war between the two and gave Germany a large portion of Eastern Europe. • With Russia out of the war, the Germans once again focused their forces in the West. For the first time since 1914, the Germans outnumber the Allies in the West. The End Approaches Using "shock troops", crack units of veterans, the German scored victory after victory as they drove toward Paris. By the end of June 1918, the Germans were once again at the bank of the Marne River. However, this offensive had been costly. The Germans were running out of supplies and food and many of the soldiers were only inexperience schoolboys of 15 and 16. June 1918 • Second Battle of the Marne - German advance was halted at Chateau Thierry by the Allies under the joint command of French general Ferdinand Foch. Foch was the overall commander of all Allied forces including members of the American Expeditionary Force under the leadership of General John J. Pershing. August 1918 • Battle of Amiens - decisive battle. 300 Allied tanks smashed through German lines and pushed Germans back into Germany. • Other central powers began to surrender. First Bulgaria, then the Ottomans, and in November 1918, a revolution in Austria-Hungary brought the Hapsburg empire to an end. November 9, 1918 • Kaiser William II abdicated and Germany became a republic. On the same day a representative of the new Germany government met with Marshal Foch. In a railcar in a forest near Paris the two sign an armistice. At 11 A.M. on November 11, 1918 the fighting stopped. The meetings that brought a formal end to the war would lay the foundations for the next war. Cost of the War in Human Lives and Dollars Military Loses • Russia lost more than 2 million people • Germany lost almost 2 million people • France and her colonies lost nearly 1.5 million
For the first time in history, civilian loses numbered almost as many as those among the armed forces. Naval blockades, artillery, and aerial bombardments, famine, disease, and political violence all took their toll. The destruction of property was appalling. The estimated total cost for the war was $400 billion.
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Austria and Hungary lost 1.25 million Great Britain lost nearly 1 million United States lost 115,000.