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Why was there a stalemate at the western front?

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Why was there a stalemate at the western front? The conventional explanation offered by historians for the stalemate on the western front (an area stretching from Belgium all the way down to the Alps) is that by 1914 technology and industrialism had overtaken military strategy and tactics, making them obsolete. Supposedly machine guns and rapid-fire artillery had made the traditional tactics worthless; linear tactics and cavalry charges were things of the past by 1914. This explanation is accurate to a degree; as far as it goes, it explains the situation. I contend, however, that this explanation ignores the crucial factor: leadership. It makes one wonder had the British commanders really been clued up to the art of modern warfare or maybe even taken a lesson in sanity maybe the war might not have been so disastrous in terms of casualties. ...read more.


violated the most. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 60,000 British soldiers died due mostly to ignorance but also to the fact that the commanders tended to attack the most strongly defended positions (which were supposed to have been destroyed by a barrage of artillery lasting a week), destroyed by shelling or not , this is ludicrous. The British seemed to have, not only an enormous amount of faith in their own ability but also the skill of hugely underestimating the enemy's. The passage above does not seem to me so obviously to me the writings of a genius who has succinctly analysed the very soul of warfare, creating on his journey tactics that would baffle the most intelligent of men rather a man with a keen eye for common sense (something the commanders lacked). ...read more.


Some may say that the lack of aerial reconnaissance, the fact that Germany was prepared (through their own aerial reconnaissance) or the ineffectiveness of the shelling to take out enemy fortifications , troops and guns ( i don't think it was their place to use such an untested weapon and to place it on the lives of thousands of men when the soldiers were so inexperienced in using such a device) resulted in the poor performance of the generals but ultimately i think it comes down to a lack of respect for human life (to the extent that it can be held without putting oneself at a disadvantage in warfare) and the general insularity of the generals with regards to the recent advances in the technique of warfare, preferring to relive the glory in battle of the Napoleonic era. ...read more.

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