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Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front?

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Introduction

GCSE History Coursework Stalemate on the Western Front Question B: Why did a stalemate develop on the Western Front? Answer: Stalemate on the Western Front was the result of a range of interconnected factors. One of the major factors was the nature in which the Schlieffen Plan failed. This was due to it being extremely ambitious as it experienced serious logistical problems caused by the speed of the advance and the long lines of communication. There were unexpectedly high levels of resistance in Belgium, mainly in the city of Liege and Mons. The resistance at Mons was aided by the British Expeditionary Force, led by Sir John French, although the force was numerically inferior with only 100,000 men, the soldiers were all well trained and played an important role in the resistance. ...read more.

Middle

General Joffre, the French Commander in Chief at the time, struck another mighty blow on the River Marne as a counter attack pushing the Germans eastward another forty miles to the River Aisne where the Germans began to 'dig in'. This is where the stalemate really began. Now that the Schlieffen Plan was seriously failing there was now a 'Race to the Sea' and a failure of outflanking manoeuvres. This occurred immediately after the Battle of the Marne and basically represented 'the last chance' in the short-term to bring the war to a swift end. The key town of Ypres was of vital strategic importance as it had channel ports. ...read more.

Conclusion

The trench systems were built in depth with reserve and support trenches which made counter attack highly successful. In 1915 counter attack proved successful at Loos and Nerve Chapelle. In 1917 at the battles of Cambrai and Somme tanks were used majorly. At the battle of Cambrai over 400 tanks broke through the German defences. The German economy was organised extremely effectively in spite of an allied blockade. In Spring 1915 there were military supplies being manufactured all over Germany. Finally the German defence system was generally very good as the trenches were built on excellent defensive ground which was high. In Autumn 1914 a German General, Falkenhagn committed Germany to a war of attrition. He realised that an effective military railway system must be constructed to allow large-scale lateral movement. Jack Lenox 11C ...read more.

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