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World War 1

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❶The armaments race was a necessary precondition for the outbreak of hostilities. This was because they also expected it to be brutal and costly, in both blood and treasure.




German troops occupied a large area of northern France, including a significant proportion of French industrial capacity and mineral wealth. These realities dominated the second phase of the war in the west. This lasted from November until March It was characterized by the unsuccessful attempts of the French and their British allies to evict the German armies from French and Belgian territory.

During this period the Germans stood mainly on the defensive, but they showed during the Second Battle of Ypres 22 April May , and more especially during the Battle of Verdun 21 February December , a dangerous capacity to disrupt their enemies' plans. The French made three major assaults on the German line: These attacks were characterized by the intensity of the fighting and the absence of achievement. Little ground was gained. No positions of strategic significance were captured.

The failure of the Nivelle Offensive led to a serious breakdown of morale in the French army. For much of the rest of it was incapable of major offensive action. The British fared little better. Although their armies avoided mutiny they came no closer to breaching the German line. During the battles of the Somme 1 July19 November and the Third Battle of Ypres 31 July November they inflicted great losses on the German army at great cost to themselves, but the German line held and no end to the war appeared in sight.

The final phase of the war in the west lasted from 21 March until 11 November This saw Germany once more attempt to achieve victory with a knock-out blow and once more fail. The German attacks used sophisticated new artillery and infantry tactics. They enjoyed spectacular success.

The British 5th Army on the Somme suffered a major defeat. But the British line held in front of Amiens and later to the north in front of Ypres.

No real strategic damage was done. By midsummer the German attacks had petered out. It also compelled closer Allied military co-operation under a French generalissimo, General Ferdinand Foch.

The Allied counter-offensive began in July. For the rest of the war in the west the Germans were in retreat. Here the distances involved were very great. Artillery densities were correspondingly less. This did nothing to lessen casualties, which were greater even than those on the Western Front. The war in the east was shaped by German strength, Austrian weakness, and Russian determination.

German military superiority was apparent from the start of the war. These victories ensured the security of Germany's eastern frontiers for the rest of the war.

They also established the military legend of Field-Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff, who emerged as principal directors of the German war effort in the autumn of These defeats proved costly to Russia. They also proved costly to Austria. Austria had a disastrous war. Italian entry into the war compelled the Austrians to fight an three fronts: This proved too much for Austrian strength.

Their war effort was characterized by dependency on Germany. Germans complained that they were shackled to the 'Austrian corpse'. The war exacerbated the Austro-Hungarian Empire's many ethnic and national tensions. By Austria was weary of the war and desperate for peace. This had a major influence on the German decision to seek a victory in the west in the spring of Perceptions of the Russian war effort have been overshadowed by the October Revolution of and by Bolshevik 'revolutionary defeatism' which acquiesced in the punitive Treaty of Brest-Litovsk 14 March and took Russia out of the war.

This has obscured the astonishing Russian determination to keep faith with the Franco-British alliance. Without the Russian contribution in the east it is far from certain that Germany could have been defeated in the west. The unhesitating Russian willingness to aid their western allies is nowhere more apparent than in the 'Brusilov Offensive' June-September , which resulted in the capture of the Bukovina and large parts of Galicia, as well as , Austrian prisoners, but at a cost to Russia which ultimately proved mortal.

In southern Europe the Italian army fought eleven indecisive battles in an attempt to dislodge the Austrians from their mountain strongholds beyond the Isonzo river. In October Austrian reinforcement by seven German divisions resulted in a major Italian defeat at Caporetto.

The Italians were pushed back beyond the Piave. This defeat produced changes in the Italian high command. During Italy discovered a new unity of purpose and a greater degree of organization. Austrian retreat turned into rout and then into surrender.

In the Balkans the Serbs fought the Austrians and Bulgarians, suffering massive casualties, including the highest proportion of servicemen killed of any belligerent power.

It struggled to have any influence on the war. The Germans mocked it and declared Salonika to be the biggest internment camp in Europe, but the French and British eventually broke out of the malarial plains into the mountainous valleys of the Vardar and Struma rivers before inflicting defeat on Bulgaria in the autumn of In the Middle East British armies fought the Turks in a major conflict with far-reaching consequences.

Here the war was characterized by the doggedness of Turkish resistance and by the constant struggle against climate, terrain, and disease.

The British attempted to knock Turkey out of the war with an attack on the Gallipoli peninsula in April , but were compelled to withdraw at the end of the year, having failed to break out from their narrow beach-heads in the face of stubborn Turkish resistance, coordinated by a German general, Liman von Sanders. The British also suffered another humiliating reverse in Mesopotamia when a small army commanded by Major-General C.

Townshend advanced to Ctesiphon but outran its supplies and was compelled to surrender at Kut-al-Amara in April Only after the appointment of Sir Stanley Maude to the command of British forces in Mesopotamia did Britain's superior military and economic strength begin to assert itself. Maude's forces captured Baghdad in March , the first clear-cut British victory of the war. Turkey surrendered on 31 October The war also found its way to tropical Africa.

Germany's colonies in West and south-west Africa succumbed to British and South African forces by the spring of In East Africa, however, a German army of locally raised black African soldiers commanded by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck conducted a brilliant guerrilla campaign, leading over , British and South African troops a merry dance through the bush and surrendering only after the defeat of Germany in Europe became known.

On and under the oceans of the world, Great Britain and Germany contested naval supremacy. Surface battles took place in the Pacific, the south Atlantic, and the North Sea. The British generally had the better of these despite suffering some disappointments, notably at Coronel 1 November and Jutland 31 May-1 June , the only major fleet engagement, during which Admiral Sir John Jellicoe failed to deliver the expected Nelsonic victory of total annihilation.

German resort to unrestricted submarine warfare February brought Britain to the verge of ruin. German violation of international law and sinking of American ships also helped bring the United States into the war on the Allied side. The British naval blockade of Germany, massively reinforced by the Americans from April , played an important role in German defeat.

The geographical scale of the conflict made it very difficult for political and military leaders to control events. The obligations of coalition inhibited strategic independence. Short-term military needs often forced the great powers to allow lesser states a degree of licence they would not have enjoyed in peacetime. Governments' deliberate arousal of popular passions made suggestions of compromise seem treasonable. The ever-rising cost of the military means inflated the political ends.

Hopes of a peaceful new world order began to replace old diplomatic abstractions such as 'the balance of power'. Rationality went out of season. War aims were obscured. Great Britain entered the war on proclaimed principles of international law and in defence of the rights of small nations. By the British government was pursuing a Middle Eastern policy of naked imperialism in collaboration with the French , while simultaneously encouraging the aspirations of Arab nationalism and promising support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.

It was truly a war of illusions. This belief was not based on complacency. Even those who predicted with chilling accuracy the murderous nature of First World War battlefields, such as the Polish banker Jan Bloch, expected the war to be short. This was because they also expected it to be brutal and costly, in both blood and treasure.

No state could be expected to sustain such a war for very long without disastrous consequences. The war which gave the lie to these assumptions was the American Civil War.

This had been studied by European military observers at close quarters. Most, however, dismissed it. This was particularly true of the Prussians. Their own military experience in the wars against Austria and France seemed more relevant and compelling.

These wars were both short. They were also instrumental. In the Germans sought to replicate the success of their Prussian predecessors. They aimed to fight a 'cabinet war' on the Bismarckian model.

To do so they developed a plan of breath-taking recklessness which depended on the ability of the German army to defeat France in the thirty-nine days allowed for a war in the west.

Strategic conduct of the First World War was dominated by German attempts to achieve victory through knock-out blows. Erich von Falkenhayn, German commander-in-chief from September until August , was almost alone in his belief that Germany could obtain an outcome to the war satisfactory to its interests and those of its allies without winning smashing victories of total annihilation.

His bloody attempt to win the war by attrition at Verdun in did little to recommend the strategy to his fellow countrymen. The preference for knock-out blows remained. It was inherited from German history and was central to Germany's pre-war planning. Pre-war German strategy was haunted by the fear of a war on two fronts, against France in the west and Russia in the east.

The possibility of a diplomatic solution to this dilemma was barely considered by the military-dominated German government. A military solution was sought instead. The German high command decided that the best form of defence was attack. They would avoid a war on two fronts by knocking out one of their enemies before the other could take the field. The enemy with the slowest military mobilization was Russia. The French army would be in the field first.

France was therefore chosen to receive the first blow. Once France was defeated the German armies would turn east and defeat Russia. The Schlieffen Plan rested on two assumptions: By the first assumption was untrue: Russia put an army into the field in fifteen days. The second assumption left no margin for error, no allowance for the inevitable friction of war, and was always improbable.

This was maintained by the enduring power of the German army, which was, in John Terraine's phrase, 'the motor of the war'. The German army was a potent instrument. It had played a historic role in the emergence of the German state. It enjoyed enormous prestige. It was able to recruit men of talent and dedication as officers and NCOs. As a result it was well trained and well led.

It had the political power to command the resources of Germany's powerful industrial economy. Germany's position at the heart of Europe meant that it could operate on interior lines of communication in a European war. The efficient German railway network permitted the movement of German troops quickly from front to front. The superior speed of the locomotive over the ship frustrated Allied attempts to use their command of the sea to operate effectively against the periphery of the Central Powers.

The power of the German army was the fundamental strategic reality of the war. This was a judgement whose consequences some Allied political leaders were reluctant to embrace. The German army suffered from two important strategic difficulties.

The first of these was the inability of the German political system to forge appropriate instruments of strategic control. The second was Great Britain. German government rested on the tortured personality of the Kaiser.

It was riven by intrigue and indecision. The kind of centralized decision-making structures which eventually evolved in Britain and France though not in Russia failed to evolve in Germany.

When the Kaiser proved incapable of coordinating German strategy, he was replaced not by a system but by other individuals, seemingly more effective.

Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg radiated calm and inspired confidence. This gave him the appearance of a great man but without the substance. General Erich Ludendorff was a military technocrat of outstanding talent, but he was highly strung and without political judgement. In his offensive strategy brought Germany to ruin. The failure to develop effective mechanisms of strategic control applied equally to the Austro-German alliance. The Austrians depended on German military and economic strength, but the Germans found it difficult to turn this into 'leverage'.

Austria was willing to take German help but not German advice. Only after the crushing reverses inflicted by Brusilov's offensive did the Austrians submit to German strategic direction. By then it was almost certainly too late. Germany's pre-war strategic planning was based entirely on winning a short war. British belligerency made this unlikely. The British were a naval rather than a military power. The triple alliance signed by Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy bound each country to give military support in a case of war or "if any one member of the alliance was at war with any two great powers other members would come to aid".

When the entente was made it did not intend for reciprocal arrangements for support, though it did allow wide variety of arrangements negotiations to take place, one negotiation would have been of support in war. But by A. P Taylor said "the entente was in the process of disintegration. When Germany declared war on France and Russia, Austria- Hungary was pulled into that battle to fulfill their part of the alliance. This had four major powers fighting. Alliances pulled countries into war because if they were not followed a threat of retaliation would be expected.

Other causes include Nationalists wanting freedom, causing the Slavs to ultimately assassinate the duke and causing hate towards to Austrian empire. Nationalism was also a major cause of war, it caused problems especially in Austria- Hungary and France. This same nationalism had brought Germany together a one country and who took Alsace- Lorraine from the French in in the Franco- Prussian war, and in recent times the Moroccan crisis which left the French with hatred as an attitude towards the Germans, the thought of revenge was also one that was favored by the French nationalists.

While this unrest was happening in France, nationalism was also causing problems in the areas of Austria- Hungary, over here the nationalists were slavists who wanted freedom from the Austrian empire, they had been growing more and more restless with Russia encouraging these wants of Slavs freedom till all hell broke loose when a nationalist assassinated the arch-duke which opened the gates to world war 1.

The assassination of the archduke marked the start of the war, this did not involve any alliance just hate and oppression of the Slavs. The assassination of the archduke Franz Ferdinand began the unfolding of the events that led to war.

One of the 3 causes of WWI was alliances. Bismarck created alliances with Austria-Hungary, Germany and Italy, known as central powers. In response, France, Russia, and Great Britain formed their own entente, known as allied powers. The map in document A shows the European alliances in , which was the year when the war began. Without Italy the central powers would be surrounded with all enemies. They are all trying to figure out who it is to blame for the death of the peace of Europe.

The peace of Europe killed after the short amount of time of just a week after Russia declared war. The next cause was militarism. Though he knew that Germany, with just a little improvement would be the hammer of the world. He believed that if Germany was strong, good, and powerful, it would be the one to take all. It is the strongest, so it wins all. The main cause for WWI was imperialism.


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Many scholars still debate the underlying causes of World War I. There are many things that contributed to the war. The causes and effects of the war changed the lives of many people. Many of the effects of the war are still evident in today. World War I began as a European conflict, only gradually did it develop into a world war (Ross, 6).

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- World War I, known as the Great War prior to World War II, was a global war which began in Europe on July and ended on November 11, The Central Power, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, were at war .

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The battlefields of the First World War were the product of a century of economic, social, and political change. Europe in was more populous, more wealthy, and more coherently organized than ever before. World war 2 world war 1 essays, duration may be safe online roe vs wade summary. Ago, duration may extend to essay in the paramount factor essays world war i essay. Case study on drugs metabolism of very well.

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The First World War (WWI) Essay - World War 1 World War 1 was called “The Great War”, “The war to end all wars”, and “The first modern war”. It had many causes and a few repercussions and I will describe them in detail. Cause and Effect on World War 1 World War One, a huge conflict that sparked in and lasting all the way until The war was between the world’s greatest powers as two opposing sides; the Central Powers and the Allies.