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WHY DID A STALEMATE DEVELOP ON THE WESTERN Front? As the First World War began, many countries were eager about the prospect of conflict. Many thousands of eager young men, wanted to sign up to fight for their country. But they had no idea what to expect and most of them thought it would be over by Christmas. Many of the alliance system countries had war plans: French Plan XVII The French, still angry from their defeat in 1871 and losing the provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, wrote a plan to defeat Germany. This plan was to attack through Alsace-Lorraine into Berlin. They assumed that once the German capital was captured Germany would fall. German Schlieffen Plan This plan, named for after its inventor, Count Alfred von Schlieffen, was to invade France and take Paris within six weeks and then go back to Germany to defend itself from Russia. They were confident that they would be able to defeat France as they had already done this in 1871. ...read more.


They lost over 200,000 troops in 12 days and retreated back to defend Paris. The Battle of the Marne In this battle the British and French had two distinct advantages. Firstly the German Supreme Commander Moltke had to pull 100,000 troops out of the army advancing towards Paris because the Russians had mobilized far quicker than expected and already invaded Germany. The other was that they didn't have very many supplies. The advance had been so fast that the food and ammunition supplies could not keep up. The plan was also altered. Von Cluck, the German commander decided that they could not swing round Paris so headed directly towards it. While the Germans were advancing on foot the French were using rail and even taxis! The French and British army easily stopped the German army and pushed them back to the River Aisne. But they didn't manage to get them out of France completely. When neither side could make any more progress a stalemate developed and the troops started digging trenches so they would be protected from shells and snipers. ...read more.


Digging the Trenches By 1914 the British had been destroyed and the French had lost around 1 million soldiers (dead or wounded) in only 10 weeks. Even after this loss the French still tried to break through the German lines in Artois and Champagne in December but they were beaten and suffered heavy losses. By the end of 1914 the fighting had become a stalemate. Millions of soldiers had dug lines of trenches stretching from the west sea to the east Alps. This area became known as the western front. Conclusion I think the main reason that a stalemate developed was the trenches. When the trenches had been dug the troops on both sides felt pretty safe from their enemies. This view was reinforced by the fact that, as they had machine guns the other side wouldn't want to attack as they knew they would be easily cut down by machine gun fire. The new technology such as shells and gas made the troops want to stay in their trenches even more as they probably felt safest there. ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Merrison ...read more.

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