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The First World War Sources Questions

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Introduction

Jonathan Clay History Coursework First topic The First World War Why did the Germans fail to achieve victory in the west in 1914? 1. Look at sources A and B. Explain how Moltke modified the Schlieffen Plan. Use the maps your knowledge and any other sources that may be relevant. Moltke made some very significant changes to the original Schlieffen Plan. The original Schlieffen Plan wanted the German infantry be concentrated in one force as it shows in source A. Alfred von Schlieffen wanted the German infantry to be concentrated in a single sweep so that all the forces would go through Belgium and down to Paris (France). However, Moltke wanted to spread out the forces instead of concentrating them in one place as it shows in both source A and source B. Moltke proposed to position the forces down the western border shared with France. He also wanted to withdraw forces away from the western frontier and put them on the Russian border as a precaution in case of a Russian attack. This meant that forces in the western frontier would not be as strong as they could have been. Source A shows that General Moltke did not put any forces where General Schlieffen wanted them. Moltke spread his forces out too much so that each force would be too weak. ...read more.

Middle

Source F will also be quite useful to a historian because it shows cavalry retreating from possibly the battle Ypres, it is not mentioned in the source. However, cavalry did retreat from the battle of Ypres so that photograph is historically accurate and useful to a historian. However, Source F could be useful to a historian as it shows that the British soldiers using Lee Enfield rifles, which is accurate, and it would be useful to a historian. Furthermore, source F shows that the infantry fought alongside the cavalry, which was correct in 1914. This would also be useful to a historian. This shows that both sources could be useful to a historian studying the First World War. 4. Read sources H and I. Which of the two German comments on the failure of the Schlieffen plan is likely to be more reliable? Give reasons for your answer. Both comments are relatively reliable as they are both written at appropriate times (both sources are written around the time of the First World War). Furthermore, both sources are written by highly respected German generals. Source I seems to be more reliable because General Ludendorff was explaining the reason for the failure of the German offensive. This means that he would be willing to be truthful about the blame. ...read more.

Conclusion

Source G shows the first Battle of Ypres and shows the British holding their positions and stopping most of the Germans from breaking through. This source disagrees with the statement because it is saying that the British stopped the German offensive in 1914. Source H says that the German army is very tired and that is why it is ineffective. This shows that this source disagrees with the statement because it does not say that the German offensive of 1914 failed. Source I shows that General Ludendorff believed that the weakness of the German right wing contributed to the failure of the German offensive. This source then agrees with the statement as it is against the Schlieffen Plan because it is saying that some parts of the German offensive were too weak as a result of the Schlieffen plan. Overall, it seems that the opinions of the sources are very close to being neutral. Many sources agree that the Schlieffen plan was the only reason for the Failure of the 1914 German offensive. These sources agree with the statement. However, there are also a high number of sources that agree that the British Expeditionary Force defence ("the old contemptibles") was the dominant reason for the failure of the 1914 German offensive. There is also a minority of sources that believe that the German Offensive did not fail. These two opinions both disagree with the statement. The sources are balanced the opinions are split three ways. ...read more.

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