What was the Schlieffen Plan?
-To have a surprise attack on France by going through Belgium as the French would've expected them to come through Alsace Lorraine and then defeating them in 6 weeks knocking them out of the war
-as Russia would be slow to mobilize their armies, they'd have time to move to that front to fight the Russians
-Britain wasn't expected to join the war
- it was a risky plan
Why was the Schlieffen plan made?
To avoid fighting a war on two fronts so Von Schlieffen, the man who came up with the Schlieffen plan, decided the best idea was to defeat the French first
What actually happened with the Schlieffen Plan?
- The Belgian army slowed down the German army when they attacked on the 4th August as they put up a strong frontier defence buying the French and British time to mobilize
- Britain joined the war due to Belgium's neutrality being broken by Germany
- didn't reach or defeat the French in the 6 weeks
-Russia moved faster than expected
What happened at the Battle of Mons?
-the BEF led by Sir John French was sent over to France and met the advancing Germans on the 23rd August
- the troops were well led by Lieutenant General Douglas Haig and were using Lee Enfield rifles that could shoot accurately
- they had some initial successes
- but had to pull back as they were greatly outnumbered
- though managed to slow the Germans down
What happened at the Battle of Marne?
- Germans had to pull 100,000 troops to fight against Russia as they had invaded Germany
- then they decided to go straight to Paris instead of swinging around it like originally planned
- french troops immediately sent there by trains, foot, and taxis
- french and British troops combined stopped Germans from entering Paris, past the line of the River Marne but couldn't push them out of France
What were the consequences of the Battle of Marne?
- neither side could make any progress so by 8th September both sides were digging trenches protected by barbed wire
- stalemate was beginning
How did stalemate begin?
-German generals decided to try and go around the enemy's lines as they couldn't break them on 12th October
- the race to the sea began
- every time it seemed that the Germans were about to break through, the French and British would block them
-So by 1914 it was a deadlock
What were the conditions like in the trenches?
-not all time in trenches was spent charging enemy trenches in fcat far from it
- a lot of it was routine such as digging new, repairing old trenches and spending time in secret listening in posts near the enemy trenches
- millions of men and horses lived together
- soldiers were infested with lice or "chats" as they called it
-trenches infested with rats that fed on dead bodies
- trenchfoot was common due to standing in water for hours and days
Why did soldiers put up with the horrible conditions in the trenches?
due to many factors such as
- humour - many soldiers produced humourous newspapers and was handed out to soldiers; it kept the morale high they usually poked fun at their commanders
-comradeship - many men joined the army in groups of friends and many battalions were made up of close friends and many men did not want to let each other down
-comforts - british soldiers recieved the best rations in fact the average man gained 10kg more weight because he was so well fed
soldiers received many letters and parcels regularly from home
they also received luxuries like tobacco and alcohol
What was the "over the top" attack?
- would start with an artillery bombardment - the "barrage"
- followed by an infantry charge
-attempting to take the enemy trench
- a race between the attackers and defenders now -
the defenders usually had the advantage
-if the attackers did manage to capture the positions they had to hold on to them and this generally proved impossible
Describe the development of artillery in the war
- the first world war was an artillery war
-artillery actually caused the most casualties
-at the start of the war, they weren't very accurate often ended uip bombarding own forward trenches
- in the end, they became very powerful
- also, the tactics became much more sophisticated by 1918
-after 1916 british performance had improved and become much more effective
Describe the development of machine guns in the war
- at the start, they were very heavy though were still very destructive as they could mow down a whole brigade in minutes
- it made it inevitale that lives would be lost during an infantry chrage
- in the end, lightweight machine guns developed and every platoon had their own
-it was a futuristic weapon
-it proved to be very effective for the british in future attacks like in the Hundred Days
Describe the development of poison gas
- the evry first gas attck was in April 1915
- at the start, it was used to disable enemy troops
- scientists on both sides perfected lethal gases such as mustard gas
- mustard gas burned, blinded and slowly killed victims
- but scientists also perfected gas masks and thanks to this only 3,000 British troops were killed from gas attacks
-the significance of poison gas was the pschological impact it had
Describe the development of tanks
-it was a British invention that was at first rejected but Winston Churchill saw the potential of them and funded the development of them
- 2 years later used at Battle of the Somme for the first time by the British
- at first not very reliable, nit manouverable and moved at a walking pace
- but by November 1917at Cambrai tanks achieved great successes in fcat they were too sucessful and blasted through the enemy lines too fast and the infantry couldnt keep up
describe the development of aircraft
- in 1914, they were extremely primitive, unreliable and highly dangerous, losses were very high
- but soon they were used quite effectively for reconaissance
- pilots had pistols on them to attack other pilots at first
- in 1915, machine guns were attached to the planes
- in 1918, air battles were common
- planes helped slow down German advances
- planes also played a part in the Hundred Days
- in the duration of 4 years, aircraft went from simple flying machines to quite advanced
- also the Royal Naval Air Force and and the Royal Flying Corps went from having 37 planes to 23,000
Why did the Verdun, 1916, happen?
-in February 1916, Germany were determined to capture the French forts surrounding Verdun
- the German commander FALKENHAYN decided to wear the enermy down so that there was no resistance by "bleeding France white"
What is the significance of Verdun?
- the first major battle for aircraft
- large defensive war
- brought British assault forward
What were the events and consequences of Verdun?
- Germany used a new gun "the flamethrower"
- they fired 2 million shells in the 8-hour bombardment in Feb but it didn't go as planned
-France tried to gain airspace to gain insight on the German artillery
- the French failed to recapture lost land
-the french led by General Petain held out but by the summer became very close to breaking point also Germany had more resources
- by July 700,000 men died
-both sides suffered roughly equal losses
Why did the Battle of the Somme, 1916, happen?
- the aim was to take the pressure off the French
What were the events of the first day of the Battle of the Somme?
- after a week-long artillery bombardment, Lochnager mine was detonated starting the battle
- British overestimated their bombardment and decided to walk over no man's land
- in fact, Germans had dug deep trenches and had ferocious barbed wire defenses so they managed to survive and ended up mowing down the infantry charge
What were the consequences of the first day of the Battle of the Somme?
- 57,000 British casualties, 20, 000 dead
- the bloodiest day in British military history
- the inflexibility of British commanders meant the Schwaben redoubt was lost to germans
How did tactics change over the whole of the battle of the Somme?
-radical changes made for the British like inflexible commanders removed and the responsibility was given to commanders on the ground
-dawn starts stopped as it meant counter attacks could happen
- the creeping barrage introduced
- tanks used
- air observation improved
What were the consequences of the tactic changes in the battle of the Somme?
- creeping barrage worked incredibly well
- tanks surprised germans - had a psychological impact
What was the significance of the battle of the Somme?
- relived the French and allowed them to get their lost land back and to undo everything germans did
- Britain gained thiepval ( huge morale hit for germans)
- by end of July 80,000 germans wounded, captured, dead
Why did the battle of Passchendaele (31 July - 6 nov 1917) happen?
Haig wanted a British attack in Flanders( Belgium)
What happened at the battle of Passchendaele?
- on 7th June 19 mines were exploded at the same time killing about 10,000 Germans at Messines Ridge + took 3 hours for British to take over German trenches
- firing 4. 5 million shells for two weeks churned up the ground and ruined the drainage system
- the ground turned into a heavy bog as the heaviest rain for 30 years fell in the next few days
- thick mud clogged up rifles and demobilized tanks
What was the significance of the battle of Passchendaele?
showed how weather dependent technology was meaning it wasn't always reliable
Why was there an attack on Gallipoli?
Russia needed supplies and the British saw that if they gained access to the Black Sea they could get to Russia much easier
- also casualties were mounting on the western front
Why did the Gallipoli campaign seem like a good idea?
Britain had the most powerful navy
What happened at Gallipoli?
In March 1915 warships began their assault and bombarded strong forts that lined the strait
But shell fire and mines from the forts doomed the attcak
the british decided they needed a land asault
In April a harshly assembled force of brits, the French and ANZAC troops attacked Helles Beach but the Turks strengthened by the Germans had strong defence and dug trenches
Though the Allies managed to take some trenches, it wasn't enough
Both sides dug trenches and deadlock soon occurred
What went wrong at Gallipoli after deadlock?
In the blistering heat the corpses decayed and disease was prominent
Neither side could break deadlock
What happened in December during the Gallipoli campaign?
It became clear that there was no prospect of success so the allies pulled out
Although the withdrawal was sucessful, the campaign was seen as a failure and Churchill was humiliated
What were the new developments in technology regarding the war at sea?
What did the new developments do?
They helped to destroy enemy shipping
-torpedoes could be launched from ships, submarines or the air
- improved radio made ships keep in better contact with each other
What was the British Blockade and what did it do?
german ships were blocked at their own ports and no other ship could reach them so essential supplies were blocked from getting there
what was the significance of the British Blockade?
it practically "starved Germany into submission"
How did the Germans fight back to the blockade?
They used U-boats(submarines) and sank ships carrying supplies to Britain from the British Empire and the USA
What happened in 1915 with the U-boats?
A German U-boat sank a British liner (Lusitania) killing 1198 citizens including 128 US citizens
How did the Kaiser respond to what happened in 1915 with the U-boats?
As the killing of US citizens angered the US government and the Kaiser didn’t want the US to join the war it made the Kaiser stop attacking American ships
What happened in 1917 with the U-Boats?
Germans became so desperate that they started attacking American ships again
it almsot worked as by May 1917 it left Britain with 6 weeks of supply left
But in April 1917 American president Woodrow Wilson persuaded the congress to declare war on Germany
What were convoys?
Where merchant ships travelled in groups but protected by fast moving destroyers
Soon the number of ships destroyed by German U- boats decreased
What was the significance of the convoy system?
it helped allied shipping
When was the battle of Jutland?
It started on the 31st May 1916
In the battle of Jutland who had the initial advantage and why?
Germany because their fleets led by Admiral Scheer had powerful guns and the British squadron under vice-admiral Beatty was under great pressure
In the battle of Jutland, how did the British get rescued?
The other part of the grand fleet under Admiral Jellicoe arrived
The fighting continued during the night but by morning the German fleet had returned to the safety of its port
In the battle of Jutland, how many losses were there?
Britain lost 14 ships and 6,000 soldiers Germany lost 13 ships and 2,500 soldiers
What were the consequences of the Battle of Jutland?
Germany lost less but they never came out of their ports again leaving Britain to control the sea for the rest of the war
Why did America join the war?
A combination of the Germans attacking American ships even after the incident of 1915 and the discovery of the fact that Germany had been atempting to ally with Mexico to attack america
America declared war on the 6th April 1917
What were the consequences of America joining the war
- psychological blow to Germany
- The USA had the 3rd largest navy
- The USA willing to lend money to Britain
- they could also help out with britain's shortage of food
- The USA had a lot of manpower - only sent 1 million troops in summer 1918
Why did Russia leave the war?
In Nov 1917 A second revolution (Bolshevik revolution) brought a communist government under LENIN who immediently declared that it wasn't going to fight but made peace with Germany in March 1918 and withdraw
What were the consequences of Russia leaving the war?
Germany’s troops could now all focus on the western front and they had a chance now to attack the western front before the USA join in significant numbers
The terms of the treaty of Brest-litovsk were harsh; it caused Russia to lose a substantial amount of land which provided food and raw materials for industry
How had military developments hinder Germany’s war effort?
As Britain had better search lights, anti Aircraft guns and better planes, German aircraft couldn’t attack England
Also by 1918, there had been a huge increase in number of planes in the Royal Flying Corps - over 20,000 aircraft
What were the problems facing Germany in 1918?
- The allies’ blockade had starved the country of food and raw materials
- allies gaining 50,00 troops per month, Heavy guns and tanks from America
- allies’ tactics developed with more innovative and attacking tactics, utilsiing the latest technology
-overall Germany was not the quality fighting machine it used to be
What was the Ludendorff Offensive?
A plan that was made up in March 1918 by the Commander Ludendorff as Germans realised before the Americans fully join in, this was their only chance to defeat the allies
What was the plan of the Ludendorff offensive?
-start with a bombardment and gas attacks
-Instead of an infantry charge, storm troops were used
-the idea was to stop the Allies massing their defence in one area
Describe what “storm troops” mean
smaller bands of specially trained and lightly equipped soldiers who struck during a heavy fog along the entire front line
What were the initial successes of the Ludendorff offensive?
-Germans gained 64km
- broke through allied lines
-21,000 allied prisoners captured
-Allied communication lines and positions destroyed
Why did the Ludendorff offensive fail?
-German army had no reserves
- the army of 1918 weren’t as good as 1914
- they were less well fed and equipped
-German soldiers held up during advances to loot villages for food
-huge losses(lost 400,000 men)
-they were cominng up against strong, well fed, well equipped troops
How did the allies respond?
-Bewteen May and August Germany had made no further progress it became clear that they had run out of time and resources
-Counter attacked on the 8th August
- this day became known as the German "Black Day"
- by September they had reached the Hindenburg line (heavily defended German line) and the Germans were in full retreat by this time
- this period became known as The Hundred Days
Why did the Hundred Days go well?
- at this time well equipped and fed troops had come from America
-tanks and, aircraft and artillery had improved
- by 1918 , guns had improved so that they could shoot with impressive accuracy
What was the impact of the blockade on Germany?
Number of deaths rose from 88,000 to 294,000 in 3 years
What was happening by November 1918 in Germany?
-Riots in many cities
crowds marching through the streets of Berlin and sailors mutinying in
-generals wanted kaiser to give more power to politicians so they could negotiate a fair end to the war
What happened on the 9th November 1918?
Germany became a republic after the kaiser abdicated after riots had spread through the cities and it was seen as the only option to restore peace
When was the armistice signed and by who?
On 11th November by German delegates including Ebert
What were some of the terms of the armistice?
-Germany to pay For all costs
- severe reduction of army, navy and Air Force
-territory occupied in France, Belgium, Alsace Lorraine and Luxembourg had to be given back
-allies prisoners released
- 5,000 guns 25,000 machine guns had rto be handed back
Who gave the terms of the armistice?
Marshal Foch (French chief) when he met with the German delegates and there was to be no negotation
How did Douglas Haig contribute to Germany’s defeat?
- Captured nearly 200,000 prisoners
-promoted and encouraged new startegies and technologies that aided the Allied victory
-his strategies proved sucessful in 1918
-led a determined resistance against the Germans during the Spring Offensive in Spring
- working under Foch, led british army against German army
How did Marshal Foch contribute to Germanys defeat?
-he was a leading French general but later appointed as Commander-in-chief
-Spearheaded the planning that halted the German offensive
-planned with Haig the counter attack