WW1, 1914-17

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  • War 1914-17
    • War 1914
      • night of the 4th of August, German's unleashed the Schlieffen plan, the blueprint of the victory on the two fronts.. Knocking France out before Russia
      • throughout August, armies made strong progress as they advanced through Belgium - despite meeting resistance.
        • schlieffen plan did not work as expected because the advance was slowed as supplies failed to keep pace with it.
      • in the east, the armies under the command of general Hindenburg and Ludendorff won two great battles at Tannenburg and the Masurian lakes. they = heroes.
      • at the first battle of the Marne, the German armies were halted within the shelling distance of Paris.
        • they withdrew to the River Aisne and started to dig in. For the rest of the year, both sides attempted to outflank the other in a 'race to the sea' - the result was stalemate.
          • The result of the stale-mate was that hundreds of miles of trenches and around 650,000 german casualties on both fronts by the end of 1914, the best opportunity for military victory for Germany had passed
    • War 1915
      • the new chief commander of the General staff in 1915 was Erich von Falkenhayn, his responsibility to regain respect after schlieffen plan.
      • fighting war on two fronts couldn't happen as Germany was not strong enough. The solution was to win a decisive victory on the western or eastern front. The debate with the OHL was which one they'd put more time on
      • the decision was taken to attack in the East, and a hugely successful campaign in Galicia in Poland threw the Russian army back over 250 miles.
        • despite Russian losses it was not enough to knock Russia out of the war, on the western front the allies had suffered great losses attacking German defensive positions for little gain, and their campaign against Germany's Turkish allies at Gallipoli had been a dismal vfailure.
      • Falkenhein then saw that they should have knocked out the British with an aggressive submarine campaign. Germany sunk the Lustitania in 1915 - bringing America closer to war. - towards the end, German soldiers were stretched across Europe.
      • Untitled
    • 1916 - war of attrition.
      • Falkhenhayn had come to the conclusion that war could  be won only through attrition and endurance (ermittling)
      • Germany launched an assault on Verdun with the aim of wearing down French armies to a point of capitulation.
        • 700,000 casualties from both sides - no gain.
      • in the war at the sea, the German's managed to sink more vessels, they disengaged and retreated to port and the crippling royal navy blockade continued.
      • Western allies made an offensive on the Somme with equally murderous results. In Galicia in the east, the Russians launched an attack against Austria.
        • Germans were forced to send reserves to shore up their Austrian allies and they eventually managed to hald and then reverse the Russian attack known as the Brusilov offensive
        • German armies became even more stretched when in August 1916 the Romanians entered the war on the side of the Allies. At the end of the month Falkenhayn had fallen from position, broken by the attrition that he had planned.
          • German casualties - 1916 = 1.5 million
    • war 1917
      • the German navy sank 875,000 tones of allies shipping, the adoption of the convoy system however by the British meant that they had huge successes.
      • in 1917 the USA declared war on Germany, In response to the campaign of the unrestricted warfare.
      • German troops on the Western Front withdrew to behind the long lines of defensive works known as the Hindenburg and Siegfried line
        • German military commanders began to train elite troops in a new form of warfare, one of movement rather than one that was static.
          • the allies attempted in vain to break the German lines with a series of costly offensives; The British at Arras and Ypres and the French chamin des Dames. Such was the high cost to the French that in May-June troops from 16 corps of the French army mutinies.
          • in the east, a crushing defeat for the Italians at Caporetto in October followed by the disintegration of the Russian armies in the wake of another failed Galician campaign and then the Bolshevik revolution in Nov, argued well for Ludendorff's plan for the breakthrough in 1918.


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