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The Great War – World War One

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					The Great War –
World War One
Europe Transformed
From the Marne to Verdun

 German strategy, planned by Alfred von Schlieffen,
  called for attack on weak left flank of French army by
  overwhelming German force
   attacking through Belgium

 on Eastern borders with Russia, smaller force to maintain
  defensive stance
   waiting for Russian army to mobilize
   estimated at 6 weeks by Schlieffen

 plan to have captured France within 6 weeks, be ready
  to turn and face Russians on Eastern Front
Schlieffen Plan

 but, Schlieffen Plan weakened from outset by opposition
  by von Moltke

 detached forces from German right wing, weakening
  attack that was supposed to smash through Belgium

 done to reinforce left wing in Alsace-Lorraine

 even still, Germans quickly occupied most of Belgium
  and advanced on Paris
„Victory by Christmas‟

 German high command promised ‘Victory by Christmas’
   a real possibility, but all combatants are promising their
    citizens the same

 initial French effort focused on drive east through Lorraine
   but halted by Germans, August 22
   massive numbers of French casualties (upwards on 300,000)
   foreshadowing ghastly statistics that characterize WWI
First Battle of the Marne

 German intention had been to sweep to west of Paris
  and encircle city

 but, opposition in Belgium and northern France slowed
  German advance

 September 3rd – Germans cross Marne River
   French government moves south to Bordeaux
The Marne
             September 6 – 9, 1914

             German advance on Paris halted by
              French at Marne River by Allies
               Germans within 30 miles of capital

             but, for unknown reasons, general
              German retreat ordered after the
              battle

             Germans fall back to behind Aisne
              River

             effective end of the Schlieffen Plan
              and relentless German advance
Race to the Sea

 failure of Schlieffen Plan in east prompts German high
  command to transfer 4 divisions from Belgium to eastern
  front, late August 1914
   result: German army at Aisne smaller than intended
   vulnerable because far in front of supply lines from rapid
    advance

 from Aisne, Germans attempt second move west to
  outflank Allied armies

 to stop Germans, Allies also move west, begin ‘race to
  the sea’
First Battle of Ypres

 last battle in “race to the sea”

 German thrust after Marne toward English Channel ports
  of Dunkirk and Calais halted by the British at Ypres
   but in the process, British Expeditionary Force of 100,000
    reduced by half!

 during series of battles, some of hardest-fought
  engagements of war
Ypres


         October – November, 1914 – First
          Battle of Ypres

         at conclusion of battle, point where
          two armies reach the sea becomes
          northwest end of 400-mile line of
          demarcation
Trench Warfare

 by November 1914, line is completely fixed

 runs roughly along French and Belgian border down
  French and German border to Switzerland

 only place of this line which is flat and hard to defend is
  in northwest, among fields in Flanders
In the Trenches
Trench Warfare

 Winter 1914, both Allies and Germans begin rapidly
  building trenches
   become permanent defensive structures
   more like cramped underground barracks
   mere shelters from hail of bullets and shells

 by this point, notion of ‘Victory by Christmas’ transformed
  into lengthy and nightmarish warfare of previously
  unknown kind in history
War in the East

 Russia mobilizes rapidly in August 1914, in attempt to
  relieve the German pressure on France

 as a result, early gains made by Russians
   Russian armies advance into east Prussia and into Galacia

 move had desired effect, Germans withdraw armies from
  France and move them to eastern front
Russian forces

 but, soon evident that Russia unprepared for war
   before end of August 1914, disaster will strike!

 several contributing factors:
   large Russian army in east Prussia ill-fed and exhausted
   Russian commanders send each other uncoded radio
    messages, intercepted by Germans
Russian Disaster

 result: much smaller German force able to trap Russians
  in devastating pincer movement at Tannenberg (August
  – September, 1914)
   90,000 Russian prisoners taken
   commander Aleksandr Vasilyevich Samsonov committed
    suicide
   after battle, Germans advance into Warsaw

 further south, Russians having slightly more success in
  invasion of Austria-Hungary
   by end of 1914, much of Galacia still in Russian hands
Austria & Serbia

 local campaign (which sparked larger war) began mid-August,
  with Austrian invasion of Serbia

 but, within 2 weeks, Austrians are driven back by Serbs, suffer loss of
  50,000 men

 another invasion more successful 3 months later
    November 30, Austrians occupy Belgrade for 2 weeks
    but by end of year, Serbs have again recovered all their territory

 however, further east, combined German-Austrian efforts had
  pushed Russians out of most of Poland

 Fall 1915, Central Powers held a line from Riga to Chernovtsy
      The Search for Support
 Britain entered war with support of most of Dominions
    willingly in Australia and Canada, resented in South Africa by Boers

 but, Central Powers are first to gain unexpected ally!
    before war‟s outbreak, Germany attempting to befriend government
     in Istanbul
      Young Turks, took power in coup, 1908

 Germany and Turkey hostile to Russia, Germany helps with
  construction of Turkish navy

 29 October 1914, German admiral commands Turkish fleet in
  bombardment of Russian ports in Black Sea
    November 1, Russia declares war on Turkey
    Nov. 5, France and Britain do the same
The Search for Support, cont‟d

 other major European power sitting the war out so far:
  Italy
   in spite of Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary,
    treaty does not commit Italy in war of aggression

 by Spring 1915, Italy being swayed to join Allies
   offer of remaining Italian-speaking territories in A-H and
    German-speaking South Tirol
Italy into the Fray

 with this agreement, Italians declare war on A-H, May
  1915

 prolonged trench warfare with Austrians along Isonzo
  river as futile and costly as Flanders

 over next 18 months, 10 battles of Isonzo
   little change in territory
   half a million Italian casualties
Balkan Powers into the Fray

 in response to similar bribes, Bulgaria joins Central Powers,
  September 1915
   promised to receive Serbian Macedonia

 Romania joins Allies, August 1916
   promised several neighbouring parts of Hapsburg Empire
Portugal & Greece into the Fray

 Portugal joins war from the beginning

 August 1914, new republican government offers military aid
  to Britain

 Portuguese troops in Africa seize German ships in Portuguese
  ports
   February 1916, Germany declares war on Portugal

 Greece is last European nation to enter war, November 1916
   joins Allies after two years of bitter internal disagreement over
    which side to support
Neutral Nations

 Switzerland, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway,
  Spain all declare their neutrality on outbreak of hostilities

 but outside Europe, United States also remains neutral
    population made up of nationalities from all belligerent
     powers
    but, determined to remain isolated, stay out of Old World
     affairs

 however, German submarine strategy seems well-
  calculated to wake the “sleeping giant”
War At Sea: 1914 - 1915

          war at sea immediately takes on
           character of “world war”

          fleets of two main combatants,
           Germany and Britain, already scattered
           around the globe

          both Germany and Britain working to
           cut off each other‟s maritime supply
           lines
War At Sea, cont‟d

 for Britain, relatively easy
    heavily mined English Channel prevents German ships from
     reaching North Sea and Baltic from South
    only other means of access around north of Scotland,
     permanently protected by British fleets

 on other hand, Germany needs to close entire North
  Atlantic to stop British supply lines
    only means to stop maritime trade is by submarine warfare
    Germans achieve astonished success, even though
     submarine only recently developed as practical sea-worthy
     vessel
    Submarines




 originally, Germans provide warning to ships before torpedoing

 but, by January 1915, Germans firing without warning, even on
  neutral ships

 neutral countries, including USA, protesting damage to
  international trade – but, Germans not fazed, continue attacks
Lusitania

 7 May 1915

 British passenger liner Lusitania sunk by German submarine

 Germans rightly claim ship is also carrying ammunition for
  Britain

 more than 1000 civilians dead, including 128 Americans

 Lusitania incident dangerous for Germany
   began crucial shift in American perceptions regarding war
     from committed neutrality to growing sympathy to Allied
      cause
War in the Air: 1914 - 1918

          early October 1914, British planes bomb
           railway station in Cologne, destroy
           German Zeppelin at Düsseldorf

          December 1914, Germans retaliate
            bombing raids by airplanes, then by
             massive Zeppelins during the night

          most intense Zeppelin raid: 2 September
           1916
            14 German Zeppelins drop 35,000 lbs of
             bombs on London
War in the Air, cont‟d

 meanwhile, development of fighter planes proving to be
  decisive factor in skies

 early in war, single- and double-seater planes used for
  reconnaissance

 initially unarmed, but rival pilots fire on each other with
  pistols and rifles

 1915 – single-seater planes armed with machine guns
    synchronized to fire between blades of revolving propeller
    pilots also equipped with radios, to communicate with each
     other
The Red Baron

 most famous fighter pilot: Manfred von
  Richthofen
   Red Baron
   shoots down 79 British, 1 Belgian aircraft
    before being killed himself, 1918
     German Africa

 early months of war see energetic attacks by Allies on most
  significant part of German Empire: African colonies

 Togo and Cameroon invaded by British and French neighbouring
  colonies, August 1914, defeated by February 1915

 in South West Africa, main neighbour is South Africa
   but, policy of war against Germany resented by Boers, including most
    distinguished commanders from Boer War
   some of leaders rebel, desert to German side
   rebellion fades out by February 1915, but has delayed any effective
    action against German colony
   July 1915, Germans forced to capitulate in colony
       Warfare in Africa
 German East Africa – warfare much more
  prolonged, due to skill and persistence of Paul
  von Lettow-Vorbeck
   commander of German army in colony
   defeats initial Allied attacks
   by 1915, Lettow-Vorbeck working to transform
    German East Africa into self-sufficient territory

 subsequent Allied invasions too strong for
  Germans to confront head-on, so transforms
  German forces in colony to guerrilla army

 by November 1918 Lettow-Vorbeck still active as
  guerrilla, but finally surrenders after news of
  armistice reaches him
Beleaguered Russia, 1915

 1915, Russia at war with 3 powerful neighbours:
   Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey
   effectively cut off from contact with allies in west

 weakest of Central Powers is Turkey

 early 1915, Russia sends message to Britain and France to
  attack Turkey
   create diversion on one of three fronts
Russo-Turkish Front

 Russian front with Turkey less disastrous than with
  Germany and Austria-Hungary
   Russians control Black Sea
   separated from Turkey in West by Romania and Bulgaria

 by July 1915, Russian troops have reached line from
  Trabzon to Erzincan
   but success with trigger one of war‟s worst atrocities, in
    Armenia
Armenian Genocide

 Armenian people live in region of Caucasus divided by
  Russia and Turkey
   have no wish to be a part of either empire
   but if given choice, likely would go with Christian brethren in
    Russia

 Turkish defeats in 1915 lead Turks to fear that Armenians
  straddling supply lines to warfront a danger
   decision made to move entire Turkish-Armenian population
    (approx 1.6 million people) from homeland to desert regions
    of Syria, 250 miles south
  Armenian Genocide, cont‟d
 in rush to implement policy and in face of Armenian
  resistance, Turkish troops massacre tens of thousands of
  Armenians

 even more men, women, children perish from hunger,
  disease, exhaustion as they are driven south

 first major example of genocide that will haunt twentieth
  century
Gallipoli

 in response to Russian request to open front with Turkey to
  relieve pressure on eastern front, British and French
  strategists plan new strategy to open deadlock in war

 plan to force passage through Dardanelles, reach and
  capture Istanbul
   if successful, would cripple Turkey, force it out of war
   easy supply route to Russia would be opened
   attack along Danube vs Austria-Hungary could be launched
 18 March 1915, 6 British and 4 French battleships
  bombard Turkish defences on shores on Dardanelles
   begin to force way through straits
   but, disaster strikes when ships run into line of undetected
    mines, 3 ships sunk

 disaster causes change of plans, land invasion initiated
  to clear Turkish defences from Gallipoli peninsula
   to allow ships to steam through straits in greater safety
Gallipoli
 April 25, Australian and New Zealand troops land on west
  of peninsula (Anzac Cove)
   British land on southern tip
   French land on opposite side of straits as a diversion




     Anzac, the
     landing 1915 -
     George Lambert,
     1922
      Gallipoli, cont‟d


 both Anzacs and British experience much heavier resistance
  than expected
   Anzacs lose 2000 men on first day of fighting
   very limited beachheads established & large reinforcements in
    August make little difference

 eventually, Gallipoli campaign abandoned, December 1915
   but 8-month campaign has cost Allies more than 200,000 casualties
    to absolutely no advantage
Battles Along the Western Front:
1915 - 1917

 1915, Germans move first to break deadlock of trench
  warfare

 April 1915, Germans push from northwest near Ypres

 May 1915, French retaliate further south, begin Allied dual
  campaigns in both north and south (British & French)
      Western Front - Verdun
 1916, first offensive is German
  attack toward Verdun

 21 February 1916, Battle of Verdun
  begins
   lasts until end of year
   severely stretches resources of
    French defenders, commanded
    by Philippe Pétain (“They shall not
    pass!”)
   328,000 German casualties to
    French 348,000 in battle of attrition
Verdun to the
Somme
 pressure of Verdun eased 1 July 1916

 Allied advance in valley of Somme
   single most deadly engagement of entire war
   on first day alone, 60,000 British troops killed
   after 4 months of fighting, when torrential rain brings battle to an
    end, British have lost 420,000 men, French 195,000, Germans more
    than 600,000
Hindenburg Line

 Allied strategy disrupted, March 1917 by surprise German
  withdrawal from between Arras & Reims

 pull back, reinforce line with concrete pillboxes housing
  machine guns – Hindenburg Line
Second Battle of Ypres

 by this point in war, both French and Germans have
  learned value of defensive warfare
   but British commander, Field Marshal Haig, still convinced
    that aggression will ultimately prevail

 31 July 1917, Second Battle of Ypres launched after
  massive artillery bombardment of 4.5 million shells

 3 months of brutal fighting, but nothing achieved
     Passchendaele
 early November 1917, last-
  ditch advance by British and
  Canadians at Passchendaele

 results in capture of village,
  just 5 miles from where battle
  started in July
   since then, 250,000 British
    dead

				
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