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Why did a stalemate form on the Western Front?

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Introduction

A stalemate formed on the Western Front due to four main reasons, one being that the Schlieffen plan had failed, another reason was that the French were defeated by the Germans at the Battle of the Marne, the "race to the Channel" was another factor that resulted in the stalemate and the last reason was that defending positions was far easier than attacking. The Schlieffen Plan began to fail when Moltke, the German commander, altered the balance of the forces so that the right wing had three times as many troops as the left wing and as the right wing was smaller it advanced considerably slower than had been originally planned. There was also more resistance from the Belgian, British and French forces than had been expected this caused the right wing to slow down and allowed the British and French forces to retreat and then counter-attack. ...read more.

Middle

As the Schlieffen plan was failing miserably the German troops lost a great ammount of morale, however, the German army continued until they were only 40km away from Paris. Unfortuanately, by the River Marne the British and French troops were blocking their way. The French were unable to defeat the Germans at the Battle of the Marne as; firstly no matter how ill spirited the German army was, they were still well prepared and larger than the French army. The German army were also better equipt as they possesed far more munitions than the British and French. Joffre, the French comander-in-chief, did, however, manage to form troops on the east side of Paris, unfortuanately the troops were incerdiably tired and weak so did not provide a great ammount of service. ...read more.

Conclusion

During these next four years the positions of each side hardly changed and more and more trenches were built. As the French, British and German troops had basically burried themselves into defensive positions defending was far easier than attacking when in the trenches and this was another reason for the stalemate. Whilst attacking one would have to leave the safety and concealment of the trenches. When out in "no-man's-land", practicaly defensless, hundreds of opposing troops could easily slaughter attacking forces. Attacking was almost a form of passive euthenasia! Staying in a trench was a much safer option, however, severe punishments were issued to individuals who displayed cowardly symptoms. 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. ...read more.

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