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Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front during World War One?

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Coursework Assignment 1 The First World War b) Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front? A stalemate developed on the Western Front for four main reasons, one being that the Schlieffen plan failed, another reason was that the French were unable to defeat the Germans completely at the Battle of the Marne, another reasons was the "race to the Channel" and the last reason was that defending positions was far easier than attacking. The Schlieffen Plan failed for a number of reasons, one being that Moltke, the German commander, had altered the balance of the forces so that the right wing had only three times as many troops as the left wing and since the right wing was smaller it advanced more slowly than had been planned. ...read more.


Blocking their way, however, assembled by the River Marne were the British and French troops. The reasons why the French were unable to defeat the Germans completely at the Battle of the Marne were numerous; one of the reasons was that no matter how ill spirited the German armies were, they were still large and well prepared. The French and British troops however had almost been "thrown" together and in comparison to the vast amounts of German soldiers, the British and French had an exceedingly small army. The German armies also had far more munitions than the British and French. Joffre did however manage to form troops from the east to Paris, yet they were weak and tired and so did not really help a considerable amount. ...read more.


When attacking you had to leave the safety, protection and concealment of the trenches, you were out in the open and comparatively defenceless as all that faced you was "no-man's-land" and you knew that beyond there was hundreds of opposing troops ready to blow you down with their machine guns, and so attacking became suicidal. Staying in your trench was by far the better option; you were hidden and highly armed. Communications were high and so trenches were supplied adequately and defence was mechanised, reinforcements and food could arrive by rail at anytime. So, due to all these reasons, and in particular the last one, a strong, fortified stalemate developed on the Western Front, and seemingly nothing could break it. Emilie Murphy 10F May 5th 2002 ...read more.

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