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Explain the importance of the war at sea to the final outcome of WWI

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Introduction

Explain the importance of the war at sea to the final outcome of the war. The war at sea played quite a vital role in World War I, unlike the war at air, but possibly not as big a role as the war on land. Each side knew how vitally important it was to control the seas, as the land war was closely linked to the sea war, much more than the war at air was. It was unusual, in that there were not particularly any major sea battles or proper fighting - it was more of a struggle of stealth and caution to gain control of the seas. This is seen in the land war as well, which was meant to be a rapid affair yet turned out to be completely the opposite. The aim of the war at sea, therefore, was not necessarily to destroy as many enemy ships as possible in all out war but to cut off enemy supply lines and stop the enemy from cutting of your supply lines. This saw the rise of a new warfare strategy - submarine warfare. It was clear to everyone, especially the Germans now that the war had started, that the British navy was superior to everyone else's before the war and the years leading up to it. ...read more.

Middle

Each side utilised the naval surface technology - Dreadnoughts. The aim for the Germans was to remove the blockade of its seaports and harbours by British ships. Ultimately the main objective failed, although the Germans did destroy more British ships than British destroyed German. The German fleet remained in port for the rest of war after this battle ended. The U-Boat campaign resumed in 1917, with an overall larger fleet of submarines to carry out the job for the Germans. Many had been newly built and were unleashed to sight as many ships as possible and destroy them. Neutral ships and warships were targeted, the former with the most emphasis. The main aim now was to starve the Allied population of vital supplies and materials to halt their war effort. This still involved destroying ships related to the USA and they entered the war soon after the launch of the second campaign. Germany did not care now whether or not the USA entered the war, as they saw it as a reasonable gamble to defeat the British navy and trade ships before the USA had time to properly enter the war. Germany was feeling the strain of the naval blockade at this point and the deadlock on the Western front was placing severe strain on German forces for supplies. ...read more.

Conclusion

German people and their soldiers died of starvation without vital supplies increasingly more as the war grinded on. The war at sea was directly responsible for this, although nearly not as much as the war on land was. Germany, although had some sporadic minor victories at sea, never really placed a blockade on Britain as harsh as Britain placed upon them. Though the blockade didn't have immediate effect on the Germans, it did have an effect in the long run, nonetheless. This is seen in the Ludendorrf offensive and the later years of the war, when Germany was forced to give up the warfare of attrition for all out attack. However, their supply lines were low and German soldiers raided British supply huts for food and water. USA intervention (although due to the Germans because of the need to remove the blockade) proved decisive in the final year of the war. Any sea battle in the war was, on the whole, irrelevant to the outcome. Arguably, though, the war at sea contributed only partly to the land war. This part, however, was much bigger than the war in the air's contribution. The Western Front was the main culprit for using up the most amounts of supplies and material. In conclusion, the war at sea played quite a significant role in deciding the outcome of the war, again not as decisive as the Western Front though. ...read more.

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