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Why Was The Stalemate of World War One Broken in 1918?

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Why Was The Stalemate of World War One Broken in 1918? By 1918, World War One had already been fought for 4 years. At first it was a 'war of movement', but by 1915 the increasing usage of machine guns led to trench warfare, with each side digging a system of trenches on each front. This then made it exceedingly difficult for any advances to be made and any new land to be secured by either side, but in 1918 this situation of stale was to be broken. At the beginning of 1918 there seemed little hope of ending the war. Both sides, the Allies and Germany, had suffered tremendous losses, diminishing the morale of all the countries involved. The war of attrition had taken its toll and it was now a question of which side could hold out the longest and continue to batter the enemy. The Allies did have one great advantage over the Germans. ...read more.


The Allied attacks continued and the Germans, worn down by 4 years of war and devastated by the failure of their offensive, were unable to prevent their supply lines to the Western Front from being cut. They had no choice but to seek an armistice, which was eventually signed in November 1918, bringing an end the First World War. It is debatable how much new technology contributed to breaking the stalemate in 1918. Gas was used with the intention of disorientating or knocking out soldiers so that attacking them would be easier. Gases caused problems, as trenches couldn't immediately be taken as the gas had to settle. Sometimes the gases even blew back into the attackers trenches. When used properly gas could be useful during attacks, but it was not a war winning development. Tanks provided soldiers with a way of moving forward to attack the enemy and at the same time covered them from enemy machine gun fire. ...read more.


In October, there was a revolution and the Bolsheviks, led by Lenin, a communist, overthrew Kerensky. Lenin didn't agree with the war and called for a peace settlement with Germany. Germany agreed and Russia had to give them a great deal of land in return. This now left Germany with a million troops on the eastern front that could now be moved to the western front to use in the final German offensive. This obviously affected the timing of the final offensive as the Germans now had more troops and therefore a larger chance of overcoming their enemy. So, the revolution in Russia affected when the stalemate was broken. Overall, a combination of factors led to a breakthrough in the stalemate in 1918, but most important of all was the German's final offensive in 1918, triggered by the entrance of the United States on the side of the Allies. If America had not entered the war, Germany may not have been forced into a final offensive and the stalemate may have continued, prolonging the war. ...read more.

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