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World War One: Stalemate

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Question 3: The following were equally important reasons why the stalemate on the Western Front was finally broken: The German U-boat Campaign, the American Entry into the war, the blockading of German ports, and The German offensive in March 1918 Explain how far you agree with this statement. For four years the Western front had been locked in a state of stalemate, a situation in war where neither side can make any progress and no land can be gained. Both sides (the Allied and German forces) had been fighting a war of attrition were both sides tried to wear the other side down with continuous bombardment and constant attacks. Due to this and the fact that both sides were approximately evenly matched the stalemate had lasted for more than four years and no significant progress had been made. Unlike in 1914 the war was not a war of movement and this deadlock seemed sure to last for many more years. The stalemate can be said to have been broken by many reasons, both direct and indirect some more important than others. ...read more.


This plan was devised by the German Admiral von Pohl to effectively starve Britain into submission. This was massively promoted by the tensions in the northern part of Germany and the desire to end the war quickly. The plan was largely successful; in fact at one point Britain only had six weeks' worth of food left. Although this did not directly lead to the breaking of the stalemate it did serve to increase pressure on Britain to end the war, it also prompted the US to join the war, due to the loss of their ships. During the first few years of the war the USA had been officially neutral but had been supplying loans and equipment to the Allies. The German plan to starve Britain out with unrestricted submarine warfare was in full swing in 1917. This tactic also involved the sinking of American ships notably the Lusitania in 1916 which had 198 American citizens on board. The USA, under President Woodrow Wilson, declared war on Germany in April 1917 prompted by their ships being sunk on the British coast and an intercepted telegram from Germany to Mexico suggesting an alliance and that Mexico declare war on the US. ...read more.


Unfortunately the advance was held up due to the poor discipline of the soldiers as they stopped to look for food. This gave the allied forces time to counter attack. Even though it didn't win them the war it did create significant movement and decisively ended the attrition warfare that had been the underlying tactic for four years. Although it did break the stalemate the Ludendorff offensive would not have happened if Germany had not been desperate. I believe that all the above listed causes played a big part in the breaking of the stalemate, some more directly than others. For instance, the German U-boat campaign indirectly led to the stalemate being broken by getting the Americans involved. The Ludendorff offensive was the only direct act which can be said to have ended the stalemate but the other three points are just as crucial. However, based on my research I have decided that the Blockading of German Ports was the most influential point because it prompted the German U-boat campaign which in turn led to the USAs involvement which itself led to the Germans last great attack, The Ludendorff offensive. ...read more.

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