• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why did stalemate develop on the Western Front?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Why did stalemate develop on the Western Front? The main reason trenches developed on the western front is due to the failure of the Schlieffen plan, if it had not been for this elaborate quick way to win the war by Germany, trench warfare may never have developed in WWI. As the Germans were being pushed back from Marne they had to dig trenches to protect themselves from the advancing allies, and the allies mirrored them and did the same. The conventional explanation offered by historians for the stalemate on the western front (an area stretching from Belgium all the way down to the Alps) is that by 1914 technology and industrialism had overtaken military strategy and tactics, making them obsolete. Supposedly machine guns and rapid-fire artillery had made the traditional tactics worthless; linear tactics and cavalry charges were things of the past by 1914, and also bad choices were made by inexperienced commanders. It makes one wonder had the British commanders really been clued up to the art of modern warfare maybe the war might not have been so disastrous in terms of casualties. ...read more.

Middle

The Germans had, however, stuck by this new technology and were duly rewarded, a single one was known to be able to kill hundreds of oncoming troops. this alone is damaging, enough to tip the balance of warfare, but with the Germans setting up a crossfire and the fact that the British were simply walking over "No man's land" - it was all too easy. Some may say that the lack of aerial reconnaissance, the fact that Germany was prepared (through their own aerial reconnaissance) or the ineffectiveness of the shelling to take out enemy fortifications , troops and guns (i don't think it was their place to use such an untested weapon and to place it on the lives of thousands of men when the soldiers were so inexperienced in using such a device) resulted in the poor performance of the generals but ultimately i think it comes down to a lack of respect for human life (to the extent that it can be held without putting oneself at a disadvantage in warfare) ...read more.

Conclusion

New weapons were being developed, like gas shells and bombs, which could kills masses depending on which way the wind was blowing. As the commanders were rookies in the art of modern warfare, they refused to place much trust in tanks and aircrafts, which if used effectively may have been a weapon that could enable them to break through enemy lines. To achieve the element of surprise was extremely hard in the First World War, as not only were the men watching no-mans land almost 24/7, all attacks normally followed, a long artillery bombardment, or were just generally predictable, and even when on no-mans land, it was not easy to traverse due to large craters in it due to artillery fire. Compared to previous wars Britain had been in, it is not like any of them, the warfare was completely different, and also Germany was an equal opponent to them, with the same developing technologies, and a bigger army. All in all, stalemate on the western front was a combination of the failure of the Schlieffen plan, the incompetence of commanders, the development of technology and the fact that they were two very equally matched sides. Stuart Butcher 11R ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Explain how the Schlieffen Plan was meant to work?

    This source may be similar to Source H; however I don't think that it supports it. Source G states that the Germans lost the war because of the huge numbers lost, 'most experienced and most reliable officers and men were no longer in their places/this was marked as the heavy losses'.

  2. Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front

    Although the German Army suffered heavy losses from British rifle fire, Sir John French (British commander) was forced to instruct his outnumbered forces to retreat. French favoured a withdrawal to the coast but the British war minister, Lord Kitchener, ordered the British Expeditionary Force to retreat to the River Marne.

  1. What Broke the Stalemate Stalemate is the word used to describe the situation on ...

    The idea was to prevent Germany from getting essential supplies to soldiers, civilians and to strangle German industry. This was a very important factor in breaking the stalemate as it left the Germans with less money so it was harder for them to fund a large scale war.

  2. The First World War - questions and answers on the Schlieffen plan, and the ...

    In the trenches the living conditions were so unsuitable, there were rats eating the dead corpses and left over food. Following on, in The Battle of Passendale, the ground became so sodden that men were laying duck boards in their trenches.

  1. How important was Haig's tactics on the Western Front in bringing an end to ...

    Just be there were sent out of the trenches, they had been instructed to walk, not run. It was thought that this would ensure they would be able to overcome the muddy grounds and attack in more a less straight line, were as if the untrained volunteer troops were running,

  2. Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front?

    Schlieffen knew of this treaty but did not believe that Britain would uphold it. Schlieffen also believed that because France was so bitter about the loss of Alsace and Lorraine, the French troops would be sent there first which would leave the capital open and vulnerable to attack.

  1. Forrest Gump; the Modern Day Fairytale

    As Forrest ages still his appearance becomes disheveled and less intact, than the handsome clean shaven Forrest that we see at the bus stop, the clever use of hair and makeup contributes to this untidy image; as if he hasn't washed for a long time!

  2. The failure of the Schlieffen Plan - Stalemate.

    miles short of target * Germans did not have the depth to press their advantage, & failed to use latest techniques * By 27 May 1918 only 60 Kms from Paris - but German army very battle weary. * 15 July 1918 - offensives ran into Petain's defences - strong

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work