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Why was there a stalemate on the Western front?

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Introduction

15th October 2003 Why Was There A Stalemate On The Western Front? As the prospect of war drew closer, the people of Britain were confident that if war began, it would all be over by Christmas and they were looking forward to see their troops come back with a victory. The British were very self-assured of their naval supremacy and had not only the largest, most powerful and well-trained navy in the world but also the most experienced in warfare. Everyone thought that the Triple Entente, (consisting of Britain, France and Russia), would be too great for Germany and its allies Italy and Austria-Hungary. On the other hand, the Germans were so convinced about the effectiveness of the Schlieffen Plan, they failed to anticipate Britain entering the war in defence of "the scrap of paper" as the German Kaiser dismissively called the treaty that Britain had signed to defend Belgium's neutrality. Germany's initial plan to move through Belgium for a quick and decisive victory over France was met with strong resistance from Belgium, and British troops, much to Germanys surprise, helped defend them. ...read more.

Middle

By the end of 1914 the offensive approach had been abandoned in favour of a defensive line of trenches that stretched along the Western Front from the North Sea to the Swiss border. The result by the end of the year was the stalemate that all had dreaded and the quickly fading hope that the war would indeed be over before Christmas. Consequently, at the beginning of 1915, millions of men on both sides were stuck in an impasse. Neither army could move forward, since both lines of trenches were heavily defended and No Man's Land was the easiest place to get picked off by enemy fire. The new and improved technologies of the machine gun, heavy artillery and barbed wire all made attacking very difficult, especially when there were no ways of transporting infantry quickly. But that didn't stop both armies from trying to end the stalemate. The British and French armies tried to launch a series of attacks designed to bring about a breakthrough. However they failed with horrific casualties. ...read more.

Conclusion

The bombardment of the soldiers was a successful killing method but it called for extreme accuracy or you could end up killing your own men. One and three-quarter million shells were fired by the British alone in the three days "softening up" German positions for the offensive on the Somme. Using Gas - the use of gases such as mustard gas was an option that both sides came to use. Gas was highly feared but dangerous to use as it was often dependent on the vagaries of the wind. If the wind direction changed it could be blown back upon your own troops. Drive tanks over No Man's Land towards adversary trenches - the immediate impact of the first tanks terrified the German infantry, who ran away. But after their initial use, the Germans came to realise how vulnerable and slow they were and came to know how to deal with them. Also, the tanks were slow and were too few in number, so they broke down all too easily on the muddy battlefield. If these didn't work, how was the stalemate ever going to be broken? Written By Emily James 10D ...read more.

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