Chapter 23, Part 2

World War I

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Trench Warfare Warfare in the trenches of the Western Front produced unimaginable horrors. Battlefields were hellish landscapes of barbed wire, shell holes, mud, and injured and dying men. The introduction of poison gas in 1915 produced new forms of injuries.

trench warfare

1912 Practice Trenches in Northern England Today – a national monument

Belgium Trenches
Apart from my visit to Auschwitz, probably one of the most unsettling places I've ever been. This is a section of the trenches called Sanctuary Wood, outside Ypres, (Belgium) where the Wood farmer who owned the field preserved the land as it was when the war ended. ended

Around and beside these trenches, there are shell holes big enough to drop an average-sized car in. In the 85-odd years since the end of the war, a forest has grown up around the trenches. The most unsettling thing about this place was the silence - I was there in mid-summer, yet it was dead quiet, no birds in the woods, no animals, nothing.

The Second Battle of Ypres

Preparing for mustard gas attacks

Tactics of Trench Warfare

•Attacks rarely worked •Advancing unprotected across open fields could be fired at by the enemy’s machine guns

•In 10 months at Verdun, France in 1916, 700,000 men were killed over a few miles of land

“France’s Stalingrad”
• The Battle of Verdun resulted in more than a quarter of a million battlefield deaths and at least half a million wounded. • Verdun was the longest battle and one of the most devastating in World War I and more generally in human history. • A total of about 40 million artillery shells were exchanged by both sides during the battle.

A Killing Ground @ Verdun

Map of World with Participants in World War I – Allies in green Central Powers in orange - neutral in grey

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate (cont.)

• The Western Front turned into a stalemate, with neither side able to push the other out of the system of trench warfare they had begun. ⇓ • The trenches stretched from the English Channel nearly to the Swiss border. ⇓ • For four years both sides remained in almost the same positions.

"Gott strafe England" was a common slogan of the German Army, which means "May God punish England".

Ineffective Strategy – 3rd Ypres (Paschendale) Paschendale

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate (cont.)

• On the Eastern Front, the war was far more mobile. ⇓ • The Russians defeated Austria-Hungary and dislodged them from Serbia. • The Russian army moved into eastern Germany but was defeated at the Battle of Tannenberg and the Battle of Masurian Lakes, making Russia no longer a threat to invade Germany. ⇓

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate (cont.)

• The Italians, who had been allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary, broke their alliance in 1915 and attacked AustriaHungary. ⇓ • The Germans came to the aid of the Austrians and together they defeated the Russians in several battles and drove them back. ⇓ • About 2.5 million Russians had been killed, captured, or wounded.

'Working people arise!'
the Russian Revolution's idealized self-image by painter V SEROV.

1914 to 1915: Illusions and Stalemate (cont.)

• The Russians were almost out of the war. Russian Revolution about to begin.⇓
• After defeating Serbia, Germany turned its attention back to the Western Front.

The war spread to the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Entry of the United States

• The United States tried to stay neutral in the first years of World War I. ⇓

• This became more difficult as the war dragged on.

Woodrow Wilson


Lusitania Sinks

Sinking of the Lusitania & Telegraph


Texas & New Mexico will become Mexican Territory if the Central Powers win the war.

Entry of the United States (cont.)

• The Germans did not think that the United States would enter the war before the British were starved. ⇓ • However, in April 1917, the United States responded to unrestricted submarine warfare by declaring war on Germany. ⇓ • Though large numbers of American troops did not arrive until 1918, the Allies were given a powerful psychological boost as well as money and supplies.

The Doughboys

September 15th, 1916

The Last Year of the War

• During 1917, the Allies had been defeated in their offensives on the Western Front, and the Russians had withdrawn from the war. ⇓
• The Central Powers appeared to have the advantage.

• The German military official Erich von Ludendorff decided to take a military gamble. ⇓

The Last Year of the War (cont.)

• In March 1918, the Germans launched a large offensive on the Western Front and came to within 50 miles of Paris. ⇓ • The Germans were stopped at the Second Battle of the Marne by French, Moroccan, and American troops and hundreds of tanks.

WWI – Major Turning Point for U.S.