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Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front?

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Introduction

Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front? When war was declared in August 1914, it was expected by both sides to be a short war, over by Christmas. However, this was not the case, a stalemate developed on the Western Front, and for three years the front line, established when the Germans were driven back, did not really moved much. There were four main reasons as to why a stalemate developed on the Western Front. These were: * The failure of the Schlieffen Plan * The inability of the French to follow up their victory at the Marne * The outcome of the 'Race to the Channel' * The Strength of defence over attack Through the Schlieffen Plan the Germans expected the war with France to end after 42 days. ...read more.

Middle

However, although the French won the First Battle of the Marne they did not have the manpower to force the Germans to retreat back to Germany. This was due to the French having a smaller army than that of Germany and the failure of Plan XVII (the French plan to win the war). The idea of Plan XVII was an all out attack on Germany in the east. However, the French were mown down by the German machine guns, which led to severe French casualties and a weakened French army. Joffe did, however, manage to work out what the Germans had planned to do through the Schlieffen Plan and managed to move his troops to Paris, from the eastern border. ...read more.

Conclusion

It became like a game of chess and ended up with both sides having trenches opposite each other, which extended from the Belgian coast in the north to Switzerland in the south. Once these trenches had been dug it became evident to both sides that in this war defence would be easier than attack. New technology, for example the machine gun, meant it was far much easier to defend your trench, by shooting anyone who tried to attack you, than it was to cross no man's land in order to attack and capture the enemy's trenches. Also, good communications ensured that supplying your own trenches was also easier than attacking the enemy's. As both sides were defending and neither army was really attacking at the Western Front, it hardly changed its position for three years. This was the stalemate on the Western Front. ...read more.

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