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Imperial Germany was defeated due to a variety of different factors, some more significant than others, these included, the failure of the Schlieffen plan

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Introduction

Imperial Germany was defeated due to a variety of different factors, some more significant than others, these included, the failure of the Schlieffen plan (1914), the Battle of the Somme (1916), war on the Eastern Front, the U-boat campaigns, the USA's entry into the war (April 1917) and the Ludendorf Offensive (March 1918). I think that the failure of the Schlieffen plan was one of the most important contributory factors leading to the fall of Imperial Germany as many other factors came about as a direct result of it's failure. If the Schlieffen plan had been a success then Germany wouldn't have faced a war on two fronts, and I think that if this were the case then Germany would have probably won the war. The original aim of the Schlieffen plan was to invade France through Belgium and Luxembourg, then to defeat the French rapidly and then turn to the eastern front far a major offensive against Russia. Schlieffen attempted to ensure success by avoiding invading through the supposedly impregnable Hindenburg line, which had been built by the French to prevent such an attack, instead invading through Belgium, who he thought would put up little resistance. ...read more.

Middle

Germany thought that if political forces that were opposed to peace in Russia won the civil war, then the Eastern front would be under threat again so troops were kept there to keep Germany safe. The Battle of the Somme was aimed to break the stalemate that had continued for almost two years on the Western front, it was described as being the big push. The original aim of the big push, was to break through the German lines and split it in two by heading to Cambrai and Douai. There are many reasons as to why the Battle of the Somme failed to achieve it's targets, Prior to the attack there was a week long preliminary bombardment, which was intended to completely wipe out the German front lines, but the shells were ineffective as the British lacked high-explosive shells in their arsenal at the time and the concussion shells used only churned up no-mans land, making it even more difficult to cross. Also, due to a variety of political leaks, the German Army was warned to expect a major offensive in the near future, so when the bombardment began, they would have realised that this was the start of the offensive, and as the concussion shells were almost useless, the Germans were given a week to ready them selves. ...read more.

Conclusion

Success still lead to defeat because Germany couldn't follow up the victory, the moral of the troops was low, partly due to the blockades, and most were not willing to carry on fighting, also there was a naval mutiny, due to the navy being sent on an almost suicidal mission. I don't think that the Ludendorf offensive was the reason that they lost the war although it had an immediate impact, with out Ludendorf offensive, I think that Germany would have lost though perhaps this would have been later. Other factors also contributed to defeat. The introduction of the tank at Cambrai, may have had an Impact, it was a new form of warfare and it took the Germans by surprise. Also the blockades lowered moral, both on the German fronts and that of the German public, causing food riots and revolts. I also think that sheer bad luck also lead to Germany's defeat. I think that Germany lost the war due to a combination of all the factors, but I think that the most contributory factor was probable the failure of the Schleiffen plan at the start of the war because the consequences of it's failure continued throughout the majority of the war. I also think that a range of other factors were also to blame. ...read more.

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