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WW1 Study Notes

1. Reasons for the stalemate on the Western Front

Expectations of war
Men and soldiers believed it would be a fun and exciting war oblivious to the
realities of modern trench warfare
Believed in a knockout blow all parties believed in their own swift victory war
over by Christmas 1914
Believed mobilisation important and must be fast mobilisation plans (Schlieffen &
Plan 17) complex, with little room for change
Failure of the Schlieffen Plan
Too much reliance on speed and movement in the plan deadline of 42 days was
inflexible and unrealistic
Heavily relied on railways bottlenecking at the Aachen train station
Soldiers and generals inexperienced in modern warfare and ill prepared - Ordering
troops on offensive introduced strategy for which German army wasnt trained
Von Moltkes modifications weakened plans weakened hammer-swing attack to
strengthen the hinge, making it more difficult to reach the west of Paris
German forces now restricted to a narrow area between the Ardennes and the Dutch
frontier Modifications took troops east of Paris, instead of encircling it
Resistance to Germany thoroughfare by Belgium slowed movement
Invasion of Belgium lead to British involvement 1839 Treaty of London British
forces played key role in resistance at Mons & Ypres
Failure to secure channel ports below Nieuport allowed for British-French
correspondence throughout the war
Battle of Marne
French and British resistance of German swing to Paris
German advance halted in September 1914
Germany failed to knock out the French forced to fight a war on two fronts
Germany forced back to River Aisne dug in
Allies failed to drive Germany out of these trenches
First establishment of trenches in WW1
Race to the Sea
Both sides saw the importance of water control rushed to control ports on the west
coast, while still maintaining a defensive position at the already established trenches
Series of outflanking movements to get around the back of the enemy forces and gain
control of the channel ports
Outflanking failed both sides dug into defensive trench positions
Trenches along western front extended
1st Battle of Ypres
October-November 1914
Result of the race to the sea

British lost 56,000 men, France lost 50,000 & Germany lost 130,000
11th November 1914 Allied victory, maintaining ports
Both sides dug into defensive position, establishing western front

Western Front
Early 1915 line of trenches either side of the Western Front from English Channel
to the Swiss Frontier
Each day trenches were strengthened, expanded and deepened
Christmas 1914
Both sides had believed war would be over by then
Hostilities temporarily came to a halt during Christmas
Troops fraternised in no-mans land
British commanders ordered an end to any future fraternisation
Commanders knew that if troops developed empathy for the enemy, they would not
2. Nature of trench warfare and life in the trenches (Allied and German)
Stalemate caused trenches to become semi-permanent German trenches stronger &
better with concrete & up to 12m deep
British never as strong as Germany because they maintained a firm belief in cult of
Trenches became more complex with time complex network compartments
created of ammo supplies, dugouts where men tried to sleep
4 feet depth drainage ran underneath duckboards
Public at home ignorant of trench conditions heightened isolation for troops
Front line where men positioned themselves for launching an attack or awaiting one
supported by machine gun nests and observation posts
Reserve trenches reinforcements waited to be called to the front connecting
trenches series of communication trenches stretching back to first aid & supply posts
Trenches did not stretch in straight line often zigzagged or dog-toothed in shape
added stability & made possible double line of fire if enemy attacked
No-Mans Land
Area between allied and German trenches
In some places, 8-10km wide, or some as narrow as 50m
Going over top required jumping out of trenches into no-mans land easy targets
for machinegun fire
Full of deep craters, often mined & combination of mud, heavy rain and artillery
bombardment made it a quagmire difficult to walk, let alone fight (e.g.
Passchendaele fought under such conditions)
Pill boxes control of wide areas of land with little resources
Basics of warfare
Breakthrough required firepower, limitless supplies and vast numbers of men

Moving vast force required planning typically location along front would be
selected for attack men, supplies and logistical support assembled
Putting together plans to a long time became impossible to keep war plans secret
from the enemy reconnaissance aircraft across western front ensured this
If enemy suspected a big push, they would prepare defences in a similar way
surprise impossible
Spot bombardment by artillery aim to soften up opposing front line & drive
defenders out of trenches
Once commanders satisfied that enemy trenches were cleared, a signal was given to
troops to leave the trenches men often burdened with heavy weapons & supplies
e.g. Somme British soldiers were ordered to walk across no-mans land in straight
lines at one-minute intervals
Two men operating a machine gun were capable of holding off hundreds of attacking
Pattern of fighting along western front futile and deadly

Physical conditions
Frequent rain combined with clay of trenches and artillery bombardments created
muddy quagmires
Men often had to stand for days in knee deep water trench foot (gangrene)
Stench of trench, gas, cordite, diarrhoea, dead bodies induced vomiting
Decomposing bodies allowed to float on water until safe time to dispose of them in
summer corpses attracted flies and rodents
Rats in abundance attacked sleeping, wounded and dead soldiers
Conditions fostered disease frostbite, trench foot, meningitis, tuberculosis, venereal
LICE lead to boils, impetigo & ulcers
Temperatures of as low as -15 degrees Celsius
Psychological conditions
Major short-term and long-term psychological effects shell shock (post-traumatic
stress disorder)
Week of doing nothing extreme boredom
Home sickness and isolation
Resentment of officials and commanders who had no idea of the conditions
By the end of 1918, the British government had issued pensions to 32000 veterans
suffering from shell shock (highlights effect on soldiers post war)
Daily Life
British Food in theory well fed hardly ever actually received all food no hot
food until 1916 Rum rations given to troops 4300 cals per day
German Food suffered shortages because of Allied blockade
Quality poor army biscuits so hard they broke teeth officers ate far better than men
from other ranks
Rest- 24 hours sleep, entertainment, sport, visits to cafes, pay, delousing
Work Digging & maintaining trenches, laying barbed wire, bringing food and water
from supply trenches, standing sentry, laying communication cables
3. Overview of strategies and attempts to break the stalemate

Verdun February to November 1916
German general Falkenhayn aimed to force France to defend Verdun policy of
attrition wear down the French to the point of exhaustion Bleed the French
white Aim to not defeat, but annihilate France
Germany began massive bombardment of French defences in February 1917 in hope
of drawing French defenders into Verdun sector, then to use artillery to inflict huge
No strategic value for Germany historical significance to France would protect at
all costs General Petain They shall not pass
Verdun became a symbol of French resistance
of the French army went through Verdun over the course of the battle
Battle continued until November Germany failed to take Verdun failure led to
Falkenhayns replacement by Ludendorff & Hindenburg
Huge casualties & losses Germany lost 400,000 & France lost 500,000
Somme July to November 1916
Before the German threat to Verdun Haig & Joffre agreed that Britain would stage
attack on Somme river with French support
Somme offensive was needed to help the French by forcing Germany to take pressure
off at Verdun
Haig sought to achieve breakthrough on Somme to break the stalemate of the WF
Attack designed to wear down German defenders until a few weeks later main
breakthrough launched at Ypres in Belgium
Battle began 1st July & ended 18th November week long artillery bombardment
(which was totally ineffective as German dugouts so deep and sturdy)
Haig plan to walk slowly in lines across no-mans land inflexible and failed to take
not of lessons learnt by Germany and France about attacks & artillery
British army had 60,000 casualties on first day record!!
Approx. 1 million casualties sustained Britain lost twice as many as France
Kitcheners army of volunteers of 1914 virtually wiped out
British front line advanced only 15km at furthest extent
Haig later changed his diary entries for later publication to cover up his failure
French historian Marc Ferro said Somme was almost useless form the military point
of view and merely revealed the vainglory of the generals
Lundendorff 1918 The Somme was the muddy grave of the German field Army
Passchendaele June to November 1917
Haig aimed to relieve the French who had suffered major losses & mutinies in 1917
followed disastrous Nivelle Offensive which had caused the mutiny
Planned to try to capture Belgian ports of Ostende & Zeebrugge which were being
used by German submarines & to wear down German army
Fought in terrible conditions Summer rains & artillery bombardment turned nomans land into muddy quagmire Laffin infantry units took five hours to cover one
Casualties disputed due to bad conditions Holmes suggests around 260,000 on
either sides
Muddy bogs made tanks useless and slowed advances

Belgian ports not captured

Allies ultimately claimed victory capturing Passchendaele on 6th November but gains
provided no opportunity for further advance

Key technological development of WW1
Most effective in 1918
Intended to break enemy line with fire, leaving a gap for advances and to roll over
wire entanglements
First used at Somme Early tanks too slow, making them easy targets, engines not
powerful enough to move through mud, broke down frequently
By late 1917, Allied forces understood how to use tanks war winning weapon
except Kitchener who saw them as Pretty little toys
Machine guns
Germans took them up with enthusiasm, Haig saw them unimportant
Aimed to stop infantry breaking through trenches most successful weapon for this
Used to cut down attacking infantry caused one third of battle casualties
Main weapon on the western front could fire 45 rounds per minute
All troops issued with rifles; basic weapon at the start of war
Range of 2000m
Used to pick of individual men (snipers)
Trenches and parapets built as defence bullets invented to penetrate sandbags
Allowed soldiers to toss missiles at enemy from coved of trenches or shell holes
Only effective within confines of trenches due to short range and uncertain aim
Used in all battles from 1914
Kill soldiers in enemy front line trenches without exposure
Caused casualties & fear fired upwards, difficult for enemy to locate and destroy
before impact
First used by Germans at Ypres in 1915
Used to clear sections of enemy trenches before advance into enemy lines
Used gases of chlorine, phosgene, mustard
Feared weapon caused horribly painful injuries
1915 urine soaked cloth 1918 introduction of gas masks
Artillery used to soften up enemy trenches pre-battle attack fortified positions
Mines littered no-mans land caused casualties
Aircraft used for reconnaissance on enemy positions aerial dogfights
Stalemate on the Western front forced both sides to employ tactics of attrition

The likelihood of a sudden decisive battle was small and instead each side attempted
to gradually wear the other side down
Each side attempts to exhaust the other
Germany gained an understanding of attrition before the Allies (Verdun 1916)
Despite the fact that the war had become a war of attrition, both sides maintained a
dream of a great battle to break the stalemate and continued to attempt to break the
stalemate in various forms

New Tactics
By 1915, both sides were learning how to adapt to the new conditions of entrenched
Took on the idea of total war to harness the full resources and power a nations
economic, social and political capacities to allow it to endure longer than its
opponent would be the decisive factor allies had greater resource advantage
Policy of attrition wearing down the enemy and holding any newly won gains or
Concentrated on strengthening trench lines
New Fronts
Allied attempts to weaken Central Powers:
Gallipoli Peninsula and the Dardanelles failure forces evacuated December 1915
Salonika failed to assist Serbia, but captured Salonika, used in 1918 to invade
Bulgaria (aimed to distract German army from Western front)
Turkish forces in Middle East 1917 Baghdad and Jerusalem captured
Eastern front Russian army collapsed due to mutiny, desertion, incompetence, poor
supplies and government corruption & German could transfer troops away by 1918
Naval Warfare
Ironic that there were so few naval battles in the war after the race to the sea and the
pre-war naval tensions
Britain imposed a tight naval blockade on Germany that prevented the importation of
essential food and supplies of raw materials forced German to create ersatz goods
significant strains appeared on home front by late 1916 - major factor in Germanys
Germany employed the unrestricted submarine warfare to deny Britain its essential
food & raw material imports by sinking any merchant shipping making its way to
Britain 1917, serious shortages on the home front February 1917, USA was
brought into the war on the Allied side after the passenger ship Lusitania was sunk
4. Changing attitudes of Allied and German Soldiers to the War
Outbreak of War
Overwhelmingly supportive hundreds of thousands rushed the enlistment offices
genuine fear the war would be over by Christmas 1914 and they would miss out.
No tradition of conscription, but at outbreak, was not necessary as the recruiting
stations were bombarded with young men
Michael McDonagh All were already touched with war fever
Desire to volunteer transcended class lines

Young men ignorant to the nature of modern warfare had a romanticised view of
military conflict
1914 deep patriotism, love for the empire, respect for the king, belief in God and
Boys enlisted due to patriotism, honour, duty, peer pressure, impressing the girls, a
steady income, parental pressures, influence of society & the media, looking for

After the Somme

Excitement and enthusiasm gone patriotic fervour disappeared
Reality of trenches & carnage of Somme changed the opinion of soldiers on the front
Enormous loss of life and never ending lists of wounded, physically and
psychologically got to home front recruitment dropped dramatically late 1916,
conscription was introduced to maintain troop numbers
Life in the trenches was about staying alive, getting home and looking after mates
Lack of compassion of the generals caused resentment for authority
Futility of war disillusionment & war-weariness
Hatred for Germans dropped they were in the same position
Britain never experienced the mutiny and desertion of France, Russia & other
European armies Tsars regime collapsed after the strike movement of March 1917
Kaiser regime collapsed before the war ended after naval mutinies in November
End of war was greeted with relief and resignation slow pace of demobilisation
inflamed man troops after the war
Outbreak of War
Reaction to outbreak mirrored that of the rest of Europe enthusiasm
Strong nationalism
Already had conscription, thus recruitment was not an issue
Men had same motivations as British
German propaganda had a more difficult job to convince of German righteousness
Strict government control of the media prevented the discussion of dissenting ideas
A German victory was certain; Paris would fall by Christmas
After The Somme
German troops felt the same as the British after the reality of modern warfare had set
Germany suffered more desertions and mutinies
Food shortages caused by the naval blockade created havoc at German major ports,
with strikes and unrest
Massive mutinies in November 1918, which helped topple the imperial regime
Soldiers developed the same feelings of disillusionment and war-weariness
German soldier was more embittered than British went to battle with knowledge
that the home front was falling apart with gross inequality & black market
9th November 2928 Kaiser forced to abdicate Revolutionary socialist government

11th November Germany Signed the Armistice ending the War

Christmas 1914
Not over by Christmas 1914 as it had been widely believed instead produced
thousands of casualties and bogged down in the trenches of the Western Front
Christmas Day 1914 saw an unofficial truce where soldiers of the two sides
fraternised and shared stories, jokes, songs, soccer games and pictures of sweethearts
Commanders recognised the danger of fraternisation soldiers would develop
empathy with the enemy and it would be difficult to get them to continue fighting
Fraternisation banned helped to maintain aggressive attitude across the frontline
5. Total War (Britain and Germany)
Government Regulations
Increase in government regulation of the lives of the civilian population in order to
maintain the unified support of the populations in the face of hardship, shortages and
the seemingly futile progress of war
- requisitioning of horses
- Defence of Realm Act 27th November 1914 nationalised coal mines, gave
government control of railways, introduced censorship of media, books & letters,
restrictions on alcohol consumption, introduced daylight savings, increased
- Measures taken to protect people rent pegged in 1914 & price of milk controlled
- Restrictions of everyday activities (e.g. flying kites & whistling for taxis)
- Curfew 10pm
- Already a more authoritarian society than Britain
- Conscription gave government control over the military-aged population
- 1916 Hindenburg program National Service Law gave government power to
control all adult males, to direct them into any part of the economy or military
Economic control centralised under the national government all production went
towards the war effort created shortages in other areas
- Ministry of munitions (1915) power to requisition raw materials
- New departments of state shipping, labour, food, national service & food
- War led to food shortages and price increases biggest cause of complaint
- Saw the birth of the queue
- Rationing introduced 1918 greeted with relief
- Income tax increased from 2.5% to 12.5%
- August 1914 War Raw Materials Department centralise control of raw
materials so they could be used for war production
- Creation of ersatz goods synthetic materials to replace imported (rubber)
- Hindenburg Program control of labour
- Minister of Finance print more bank notes to finance the war inflation

Borrowing Spree War bonds enormous national debt

Set up Central Purchasing Company (ZEG) to purchase goods in neutral countries
Germans productions of war materials was efficient neglected the consumer
sector and food production made worse by blockade
1916 turnip winter major food shortages poor harvests
1918 starvation

Recruitment & Conscription

Recruitment in Britain
Small professional army pre-war compared to Germany & France
No historical tradition of a large standing army assumed that voluntary signing up
enlistment rate of 100,000 per month
London Parliamentary Recruiting Committee There are three types of men. Those
who hear the call & obey; those who delay and- the others
No problem getting men to sign up romantic ideas of adventure oblivious
Mid-November 1914 - 700,000 men January 1915 1.34 million
Early months great competition to enter the ranks elite high physical standards
Conscription in Britain
Voluntary system was failing & compulsory enlistment was needed
Derby Scheme - 1915 new national register all men aged 18-41 were called
divided into single & married age groups - Men in reserved occupations would be
exempt Failed
Desperation lead to First Military Service Act of 1916 all single men and childless
widowers 18-40 called essential services, clergymen, Irish men, medically unfit &
conscientious objectors also excluded married men exempt
May 1916 Second Military Service Act conscription introduced
Conscientious objectors did not want to go to war for reasons of conscience
Recruitment & Conscription in Germany
Conscription accepted as part of German life
31st July 1914 Martial law
Created twenty-four army districts headed by generals who had unlimited power
Early days did not need to resort to conscription due to enthusiasm
Same reasons to head to the front
Germany complete lack of understanding of the horrors of modern warfare
Tight control on press not allowed to openly discuss the reasons for the war


The deliberate presentation of a one-sided view

Aim to convince the audience of a particular point bot trying to be balanced, fair
or rational
Censorship preventing the other side of the issue from being presented
Aimed at women to encourage & pressure the men in their lives to sign up
Sport clubs men in football crowds were encouraged to sign up, and whole sports
teams were enlisted together
Shaming men into enlisting- What did you do in the Great War daddy?
Simple appealed to low intellectual level
Uses stereotypes, no proper names (only Huns or the enemy), selective in use of
material (not referring to information that does not fit the required picture), frequently
lies, always repetitive, strong assertions

In Britain
British propaganda was to promote patriotic support for the war and encourage men to
enlist and join the war effort
Recruitment before conscription, to target eligible young men, and those who might
influence them
War funding civilians were encouraged to contribute by investing war bonds
Anti-German Propaganda creating anti-German feelings in the population
- Emphasised German responsibility for the war
- Highlighted the plight of innocent Belgium
- Alleged German war atrocities
- British soldiers thus defending civilisation against German barbarism
Practical messages appeals not to waste food and not go on strike
Morale boosting sustaining morale & passing positive news from the front
1916 tone shift need to maintain national sacrifice & unity on home front
As enlistment fell, campaigns became more radical, using women and shaming
Newspapers were of vital importance for disseminating cartoons very powerful
emotive language
British propaganda far more effective than in Germany
Ministry for Propaganda
In Germany
Did not have to promote recruitment due to conscription
War Funding Raise funds, as in Britain
Anti-British propaganda severely anti-British tone encouraged people to hate the
Had to justify the action of the German government Germany had invaded the
neutral nation of Belgium and Germany half invaded France
German Propaganda:

- British accused of using dumdum bullets particularly terrible weapon

- Belgian priest accused of firing at praying German troops for the altar
- Belgian civilians mutilating the bodies of wounded German troops
All English aspects of society abolished English language, changed names
As life became difficult at home, propaganda blamed hard times solely on the impact
of the British naval blockade
Argued it was a defensive response to the aggression it was facing from Britain,
France & Russian encircled by the Entente Powers
German soldiers presented as heroes, defending the fatherland
Not as well organised as the Allies failed to see the importance of propaganda

Information from the front tightly controlled
Good news, such as early German victory over Russians were highlighted
Tried to ban any discussion of peace moves in the press international efforts to
broker peace censored (Stockholm Peace Conference 1917 & Papal Peace Note)
German people denied information about low troop morale, casualties & desertions
In the final stages, the High Commands heavy-handed control bred cynicism and
concealed the real state of affairs from political leaders
Defence of the Realm Consolidate Act of 1914 government control of all
information released to the public
Britains Ministry of Information men sent to front to gather information regulated
WHAT information was given carefully selected
Newspapers did not always report truthfully or fully bad news was suppressed,
success played up by 1918, casualty figures were no longer published
6. Attitudes to War & how they changed
Early Response in Britain
Overwhelming support for the war effort
Hundreds of thousands of men rushed to enlist no tradition of conscription
Men enthusiastic to Kitcheners call We want YOU poster
Men enlisted call of duty, peer pressure, female pressures, opportunity of the first regular
paying job after rising unemployment
Propaganda convinced people of British cause Germany evil, brutally terrorising innocent
Belgium Britain had a duty to help Belgium (1839 Treaty of London)
Reaction to war a product of ignorance
August 1914 few volunteers had a realisation of the nature of modern warfare
Oblivious to trench life
Belief the war would be over by Christmas 1914 genuine fear of missing out
Early Response in Germany
Attitude mirrored the rest of Europe enthusiasm for a short & exciting adventure
Germany already had a tradition of conscription men still enlisted Patriotism, honour,
duty, peer pressure, impressing girls, steady income
Strict government control of media prevented discussion of dissenting ideas
Encouraged strong anti-British view within society

Propaganda had a harder role justifying Germans role evil British atrocities
Germany encircled by Entente powers defensive war, not aggressive
German victory was certain Paris would fall by Christmas

Later Response to the War in Britain

By 1916, all excitement was gone war weariness
Reality of trench warfare attitudes of men in trenches changed staying alive, getting home,
looking after mates
The Somme changed opinions of soldiers what was the point of all the death?
Hatred of Germans lessened
Great divide between high ranking officers & common soldiers isolation
Frontline was full of disillusioned men
War weariness never reached the point of mutinies like in Russia, Germany & France
Home front remained mostly unaware but list of death & casualties hard to hide
By 1916, enlistment numbers so low conscription was introduced
Fears war would never end
Strains on home front & society
End of war greeted with relief
Later Response to the War in Germany
Like British, soldiers developed feelings of disillusionment questioned the purpose of all the
carnage of war
Food shortages created havoc at some of Germanys main ports March 1917 strikes in
shipyards unrest spread to Wilhelmshaven naval base
November 1918 mass mutinies helped topple imperial regime
By late 1918, Germany faced revolutionary situation November 9th, Kaiser forced to
Republic declared November 10th Council of Peoples Republic Commissioners (Socialist)
November 11th Germany signed armistice, ending the war

7. Women in Britain
While men were off fighting the war, the home front was run by the women left back
Originally women not allowed to work 1914 Womens battle cry is Work, Work,
Work! as the absence of men began to have an impact on key industries, attitudes
By November 1918 there were 7 million women employed in war work
Three kinds of jobs:
- Jobs normally done by men clerks, bus drivers, farming, policing
- War-related industries munitions etc
- Members of the army auxiliary
Munitions workers 60% were women made shells, guns & aircraft
Good money - paid triple the female industrial wage of 1914
Dangerous work
Armed Services
25,000 women served on the front in Europe, Asia & Africa
Nursing served in the war zone, subject to the same dangers as the soldiers

Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) give help to the sick & wounded unpaid in
1914, or poorly paid, mostly middle/upper class volunteers faced opposition from
professional nurses
Womens Land Army formed 1916, to attract women to work on the land (food
production the priority) agriculture, forestry & forage 1917, 260,000 workers
Womens Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) February 1917 November 18, 57,000
had served long hours, strict discipline, barely adequate conditions & facilities

Most suffragettes supported the war
National Union of Womens Suffrage Society coordinated activities establishing
Claridge Hotel in Paris as a hospital
Push for the vote put on the backburner during the war
Some reductions in class barriers e.g. domestic servant numbers dropped
Women from all classes worked proved to be competent employees women paid
less than men some continued to work post war
Employment led to growth in womens financial independence young women able
to leave home no longer restricted to staying home
Vote for women reward for work in the war 1918 women aged 30+
Marriage patterns altered divorce rates rose 300% (still restricted to upper class)
More relaxed social behaviour skirts shorter, women smoked in public
8. Russian withdrawal
Russian Withdrawal
1917 Russian army in a state of collapse lack of supplies, food & ammunition lead
to indiscipline, attacks on officers, mutinies and desertion
Faced with social, economic & political breakdown & loss of military support, Tsar
Nicholas II was forced to abdicate provisional government took power in March
Had to share power with Soviet of Workers & Soldiers Deputies (socialists)
Mistake of government continue war with Germany
Lenin revolutionary Bolshevik party leader called for end of war & land to peasants
October Bolsheviks overthrew Provisional Government
Knew that to build socialist society, it was essential to end the war
Decree in Peace no war, no peace strategy failed German army moved in
Trotsky signed Treaty of Brest Litovsk on March 3rd 1918 (about to be invaded,
promised peace, Lenin anticipated socialist revolution in Germany)
Harsh terms severe reductions in the Russian empire, 33% of arable land, and 75%
of iron & coal mines
Gave Germany a window of opportunity no longer had to worry about a war on
two fronts
Germany was able to transfer troop from Eastern from to Western Front, where battle
was entrenched, with what seemed little likelihood of a German breakthrough

The Russian withdrawal led to Ludendorffs great gamble to finish the war
Operation Michael
Even though America was on Allied side Germany had reinforcements from the
Eastern front who were well trained & experienced
Utilised by Ludendorff to launch a final major push to attempt German victory

9. Entry of the USA

At outbreak of war USA declared neutrality to preserve trade with both sides
Had sympathy for the democracies Britain & France but consideration for the large
German immigrant community in America
President Wilson protested against both the British naval blockade & the German
submarine campaign
Sinking of the Lusitania claimed American civilians among the 1200 who died
caused Germany to alter its submarine campaign to try to avoid America joining the
Allied side reduced the effectiveness of the campaign
Faced with trade imbalance (effective British blockade), in an attempt to break the
stalemate unrestricted submarine warfare reintroduced all merchant ships heading
for Britain would be sunk without warning
Zimmerman Telegram Germany to Mexico to encourage Mexico to invade USA
7th April 1917 US congress voted to declare war on Germany
Took a year for US to draft, train & transport army to Europe early 1918, 500,000
US soldiers were in France
US troops played a large role in stopping Ludendorffs Spring Offensive and in the
Allied counter offensive giving Allies more man power
Greatly boosted Allied moral enthusiasm & excitement not seen in European troops
since 1915
Relieved more experienced French & British troops & gave them time to rest away
from the frontline
Supply of reserves gave Allies an advantage that Germany could not match, despite
the boost of troops transferred from the Eastern front
10. Ludendorffs Spring Offensive & the Allied Response
Operation Michael
Ludendorff knew that Germany would only achieve victory if it acted before the full
power of the USA army could be brought to bear
This came after Russias withdrawal, when Ludendorff was able to transfer troops
from east to western front
Operation Michael 21st March 1918 with the battle of Picardy
France could not support Britain as it was focused on defending Paris
Doullens Conference 26th March 1918 gave French General Foch authority to
coordinate all Allied forces
April Germans had captured more ground than in all the Allied attacks throughout
the war but only tactical gains, not strategic ones

The Germans continued their advance as late as June supplies were running short
presence of American troops being felt
Late July Germans tiring & had to face Allied counter offensive
August Allies crossed the Somme Paris saved

The Allied Counteroffensive

8th August counter attack launched on Germany at Amiens caught Germany by
surprise high British losses
8th August Ludendorff recalls as Germanys Black day
German advanced not progressed evenly- by September, bulge on German side
Foch ordered French troops to attack the salient Soissons
Foch aware that Germany was fully stretched when Germany was forced to withdraw
Foch changed tactics to hit the enemy at different points, never giving them a chance
to recover
Various attacks surprised Germany tactically, with concentrated use of tanks and
strategically & with coordination, simultaneously attacked areas
Exhausted German forces & resources
Germany unable to match power of Allies from American troops
Strangled by blockade
Facing unrest on the home front
Ludendorff advised the government to put out peace feelers
11. Events leading to the Armistice
British army better equipped than ever before factories producing large quantities of
tanks, machine guns, trench mortars and shells
Each British battalion lower in the number of men than before the war but very well
armed more than the Germans
British were also supported by tanks and aero planes.
Allies began pushing the initial success of the Germans during the Spring Offensive back
the German Armys morale collapsed
65km advance in 7 days had exhausted the men with their supply wagons far behind
traveling in the cratered and difficult terrain
The Germans found out that the British were far better supplied than their propaganda
told them led to mass desertions
The Army was also now made up of replacement units mostly boys lacked the
patriotic thinking as their predecessors
Influenza epidemic spreading through the German army
German eastern reinforcements talked of socialism and peace
Disciplinary problems in German Army increasing desertion
German Army was in tatters by August 1918
Peace without Victory
8th January 1918 American President Wilson announced Fourteen Points a basis
for world peace

Germans wanted peace on their terms - believed that if they gained enough territory it
would force the Allies to accept their terms
British broke through the Hindenburg Line in September 1918 German attitude to
Fourteen Points changed Ludendorff admitted to Kaiser that they couldnt win the
28th September 1918 Ludendorff began negotiations with the USA asked for an
armistice based on the Fourteen Points
USA refused
Ludendorff recommended that Germany adopt a more democratic government in hope
of a lesser punishment
Ludendorff resigned
Kaiser abdicated
Freidrich Ebert leader of the Social Democratic Party given the Chancellorship.
11th November 1918 Germany granted an

12. Allied Victory

Failure of the Schlieffen Plan (War on two-fronts)
Aimed to quickly knock out France in six weeks & then take on Russian in the East
Germanys failure at Marne & race to the sea France & Britain survived
Germany burdened with a war on two fronts had to divide resources
Even after Russian defeat, Germany could never bring its full weight to the Western
front as it had to maintain an army of occupation in the east
Schlieffen Plan failed meant German resources were stretched throughout the war
Ultimate economic & military advantages of the Allies
Allied & German economic strength were evenly matched during most of the war
Each side had generals with little understanding of the nature of modern warfare
The longer the war went on more casualties, resources wasted & strains on home
More likely Allies would win as the war dragged on
Allies able to draw on economic strength & resources of the British & French Empires,
Russia, Italy & the United States + minor powers
Germany only had its own resources + three minor partners
Allied Blockade
Germanys ability to keep the war effort going was astounding- superb organisation of
home front, government controls, exploitation of occupied territories resources &
development of ersatz products
1914 Allied Naval Blockade stoped essential imports from reaching Germany
Enormous hardship on German economy
Limits on the ability of Germany to supply its armies & placed vast strains on the home
Weakness of German home front
1916 major strains apparent
Queuing, inflation, shortages of essentials, inequality resentment
Casualties disillusionment & war-weariness
Major strikes, war production weakened & domestic moral dropping

People suffered far more in Germany than Allies

Due to home front crumbling, German High Command reinstated its unrestricted
submarine warfare campaign in February 1917 hoped to end the war

Entry of USA
Sub warfare prevent any supplies from reaching Britain particularly from USA
USA & Canada food, ammunitions and resources helped maintain Allied war effort
Ludendorff believed that once this crucial lifeline had been broken, Britain would be on
its knees
Impact Germans were expecting brought USA into the war on Allied side
Ludendorff though subs could finish Britain off before USA could mobilise wrong
Allied moral lifted as German moral fell
American naval policies had a serious effort on the German effort to continue fighting &
American forces played key role in counteroffensive of 1918

13. German Collapse

Exhaustion of German Army
Despite fears of its success from Allies, Ludendorffs Spring Offensive of 1918 did
not break the Allied forces Allies just held on
Germans threw everything they had at the Allies in the Spring Offensive
Allies had the fresh American troops Germany had no reserves
Lloyd Georges work in the Munitions Ministry was coming to fruition with Allies
bountifully supplied German industry nearing state of collapse
German army was literally exhausted
Arrival of USA
July 1918 American forces major force on Western front
Allies now had advantage of reserve troops, unlike Germans
USA played major role in Allied counter offensive
Improved Allied Generals
1918 new junior officers gained experience in the field
Combined shrewd tactics with logistical planning and technological know-how
Allied commanders learnt some lessons from the years of slaughter
Knew how to use tanks to break enemy trench lines
Germans lacked technological & industrial know-how & military expertise to make
use of tanks
Allies mass tank formations break German lines break German morale & gave
the Allies a distinct edge during the counteroffensive
Ludendorffs role
Failure to develop tank warfare
Good in individual battles, but lacked plans should the offensive fail
No large-scale strategic plan
Foch describes Ludendorffs attack as Buffalo Tactics
German forces quickly broke down while the home front collapsed into vilence,
mutiny & revolution

14. Roles & Goals of the Big Three; Wilson, Lloyd George, Clemenceau
Woodrow Wilson
Sentimental Internationalist
Obstinate, arrogant and unwilling to bend
Inexperienced in diplomacy
Little understanding of the nature of European politics & what the war meant to
Britain & France
Georges Clemenceau
Tough and ruthless nicknamed the tiger
No-nonsense old man
Volcanic temperament
Intransigent French nationalist
Good judge of character and how far to push people
Could be coarsely satirical and cynical also showed literary and artistic insight,
strong and wise enough to control himself
In debate, had a readiness, tact and delicacy
David Lloyd George
Popular and energetic war leader
Nationalist looked out for British interests particularly economy
Home front Situations
United States
Wilson had lost touch with America public opinion
1918 to 1920 USA became increasingly isolationist
Americans wanted the boys back home
Wilson lost power in senate senate refused to join the League of Nations
France desired security after the war
Devastated by the destruction of the war on the home front
People demanded Germany pay!!
Hysterical anti-German atmosphere in 1919 Britain
Britain was never invaded & suffered only minor bombings
In Britains interests not to punish Germany to keep economy running
Home front hounded Lloyd George to punish the Germans needed to satisfy the
domestic population
Lloyd George had just won an election expected punishment of Germany
Pressure from press
Territorial Provisions
Germany lost 13% of its European territory
Split land between Belgium, Denmark, Lithuania, Poland, Czechoslovakia
France and LN and Allied administration

Versailles settlement forced Germans to live under Czech, Polish, French and
Lithuanian rule forbade union with Austria

Treaty of Versailles did not contain an actual total for reparations that Germany was
to pay
Negotiations between Germans and Allies failed to reach an agreement
Left to a reparations Commission to work out
High emotions press and politicians demanded compensation bill high
Britain, France, Italy represented on commission not US
Final amount decided on 28th April 1921
US$40 billion
France 52%
Britain 22%
Italy 10%
Belgium 8%
Others 8%
Amounts Germany already paid not enough nothing already paid would be
credited against the reparations bill
Germany accepted bill on 11th May 1921
Germany didnt have the capacity to pay
German economy fallen apart after the war couldnt borrow trade balance in
Reparations unfair & impossible to pay
1st instalment of reparations paid Germany could not continue with more France
invaded Ruhr
1920s reparations scaled down ended in 1922 at height of the Depression
Did much to poison the international environment
Rationale: BLAME GERMANY few Germans accepted this
Kept the passions of war alive created resentment, suspicion & international
Economic Provisions
Treaty of Versailles break Germanys economic strength
Allies massive reparations paid by German for damages
Belgium & France receive large amounts of German machinery, locomotives &
rolling stock
Allies supplied with large amounts of coal by Germans paid to France, Belgium and
Military Provisions
Treaty of Versailles break Germanys military power prevent it launching another
1914-style invasion
Army reduced to only 100,000 people
Germany not allowed any tanks or heavy artillery
Germany denied an air force
Germanys navy reduced no subs or large ships, only six battleships and light
cruisers, twelve destroyers and torpedo boats

Naval base of Helgoland was to be destroyed

Colonial Provisions
German deemed unworthy of colonial possessions
AIM: prepare these ex-German colonies for eventual statehood
Originally German colonies given to other powers as mandates
Australia given New Guinea
South Africa given Southwest Africa
Britain given German East Africa
Japan given Germanys North Pacific colonies
War Guilt
Clause 231 blamed Germany for the war & all its damage
Angered Germany
German people found it humiliating
Called for Germany to accept responsibility for all loss and damage to the Allies
Features and Consequences of Dtente

Features and consequences of Dtente

US President Nixons dramatic visit to Bejing (where he negotiated normal relations with China
recognition of Red China and Chinese Admission into the UN) And Moscow in 1972
enormously important in demonstrating Americas new found willingness to ignore ideological
differences and establish good relations with communist powers.
Regular meetings between US and Soviet Leaders followed the initial summit in 1972
Brezhnev visited Washington in 1973
Brezhnev met Nixon in Moscow and Gerald Ford in Vladivostok in 1974
Carter and Brezhnev met in Vienna in 1979 to sign SALT II (The frequency of summits was a
sign of improved relations)
Singing of SALT I (1972) and SALT II (1979) arms control agreements
1972 the Basic Treaty established normal diplomatic relations between East and West Germany
1972 Sea Bed Treaty banned nuclear weapons from the sea floor outside the territorial waters of
each country
In 1972 there was a ceasefire in Veitnam (US believed it was thanks to pressure from Moscow)
1975 Helsinki Leaders from 35 nations agreed to accept existing European borders, seek greater
economic cooperation and respect human rights Helsinki Agreement (Brezhnev confused about
final point and Soviet approach to human rights reignited tension between them)
Trade between US and Soviet Union increased
Number of cultural and educational exchanges took place, e.g. 1975 US and Soviet spacecraft
linked up whilst in Orbit
High point triangular diplomacy conducted by Nixon and Kissinger from 71 to 74 China
admitted to the UN, ending 22 Years of isolation Bejing Summit in 1972

There were some tense moments

Before ceasefire in 1972, the US resorted to massive bombing campaigns in an effort to bring the
North Vietnamese to the negotiating table the North was backed by the USSR
In October 1972 the US supplied Israelies and the USSR supplied Arabs in the Yom Kippur War
Israelis gained the upper hand USSR threatened to intervene US put its forces on ralert
both supported a ceasefire (Feature of early stages of dtente that such crises could not disrupt the
improved relations.)