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The First world war.

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Assignment 1: The First world war. Part A: In 1904, Britain and France signed a treaty called the entente cordiale; the idea of the treaty was to encourage a co-operation against the threat that Germany might pose. Russia also began to play a part in the alliance. The consequences of this, was that Germany began to suspect foul play and the possibility of an attack from the Russians on the eastern front and an attack from Britain and France on the western front. As a result, Alfred von Schliefen, the German army chief of staff, was given orders to design a strategy that could cope with a war on two fronts. In December 1905, he produced what later was called the Schliefen Plan. Schliefen's theory was that if the strategy was to work, France had to be dealt with very swiftly. If this could be carried out, by capturing Paris, then he believed Britain and Russia would be unwilling to continue the fighting. He calculated that it would take Russia six weeks to organize its attack on Germany; he took into account that Russia was a very large country with many men to call up, get organized, and mobilize. It was therefore vital that France was made to surrender before the Russians could mobilize and attack, so that the Germans could move their forces over to the East to meet the Russians. ...read more.


Barbed wire was often left in more of a tangle after barrages, therefore preventing quick charges afterwards. Though the guns could be destroyed, weapon production was soon at a maximum and so too the munition productions, supplies were almost inexhaustible. As a result, the war soon became one of attrition each side trying to grind down the other. Attacks often failed to gain any significant ground, because of the difficulties of trench warfare. There were huge amounts of barbed wire in no mans land between the two opposing trenches, Attempts were made to clear the barbed wire with artillery, but this prevented surprise attacks. Reconnaissance aircraft and observation balloons could spot soldiers building up in reserve trenches. Weapons prevented the easy capture of trenches, and awkward ground conditions and shell craters, prevented effective support to the front line, any ground won was usually surrounded in a salient and lost again. Poison gas proved to be a very useful weapon in disabling large numbers of the enemy's troops but if the wind blew the wrong way both sides would have been affected. Part C: Tanks played a very big part n breaking the stalemate; they were used for the first time at the battle of the Somme. ...read more.


However, the allies retreated hastily and soon had the Germans stretched, meanwhile all the time, volumes of American support was arriving. The Germans also had suffered heavy losses during the break through and had no reserves to call up. The Germans had ended trench warfare, but the allies had gained the advantage. It was only a matter of time before the allies had overrun the Germans pushing them back to the Hindenberg line. This almost decided the outcome of the war, because soon after the Germans asked for an armistice, as they new they could not possibly continue the war. Overall, all the reasons were important, as they all gave a combined outcome, in that the stalemate was broken in the allies favor. For example, the German offensive may have been a major changing point in the war and sealed the fate of the Germans and turned it into an open war. However, there might have never been a German offensive. Had the blockading of the German ports not happened, the Germans would have not been so eager to end the war. If the Americans had not entered the war, the Germans might have been more successful in the Ludendorff offensive. The tanks provided the British with a strong offensive and they therefore might not have been so potent in attack. Without a combination of all of these factors, the stalemate might not have been broken. ...read more.

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