When Did Ww1 Start? - CLT Livre

When Did Ww1 Start?

When Did Ww1 Start
1 1939 . – 2 1945 .4 1914 . – 11 1918 .1 1916 . – 18 1916 .

How did 1st World War start?

Assassination Sparks War The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 set off a chain of events that led to war in early August 1914. The assassination was traced to a Serbian extremist group that wanted to increase Serbian power in the Balkans by breaking up the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

When did ww1 start and why?

World War I Begins – At the dawn of the 20 th century, few anticipated a global war, but what came to be known as the Great War began on June 28, 1914, with the assassinations of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, while they were visiting Sarajevo, Bosnia, a country recently annexed into the Austrian Empire.

Many Bosnians and their Serbian neighbors resented this foreign rule and the Archduke’s visit to Sarajevo provided the opportunity for a small band of Serbian dissidents to strike back. Austria responded to the assassinations by teaming up with its ally, Germany, and declaring war on Serbia. The conflict soon involved Russia, France and Belgium.

Fearful of a full-scale world war that would threaten its sea routes to other countries, Great Britain joined the fight against Germany and Austria. Each country believed the fighting would last only a few months. Nations were categorized either as Central Powers or Allies.

When did ww1 start and end and why?

World War I, also known as the Great War, started in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. His murder catapulted into a war across Europe that lasted until 1918.

Which country started ww1?

July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia, beginning World War I.

Why did Russia join WW1?

After assassination of the Austrian heir to the throne in June 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on the Russia’s ally Serbia, which made Russia enter WW1 in support of Serbia. During the war, Russia had some success against Austria-Hungary, but suffered major defeats by Germany.

When did Russia join WW1?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Russian troops in the trenches at the East Prussian frontier. European diplomatic alignments shortly before the war. The Russian Empire gradually entered World War I during the three days before July 28, 1914. This began with Austria-Hungary ‘s declaration of war on Serbia, a Russian ally. Russia sent an ultimatum, via Saint Petersburg, to Vienna, warning Austria-Hungary not to attack Serbia.

Following the invasion of Serbia, Russia began to mobilize the reserve army on the border of Austria-Hungary. Consequently, on July 31, Germany demanded Russian demobilization. There was no response, which resulted in the German declaration of war on Russia on the same day (August 1, 1914). Per its war plan, Germany disregarded Russia and moved first against France, declaring war on August 3.

Germany sent its main armies through Belgium to surround Paris, The threat to Belgium caused Britain to declare war on Germany on August 4. The Ottoman Empire soon joined the Central Powers and fought Russia along their border. Historians researching the causes of World War I have emphasized the role of Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Scholarly consensus has typically minimized Russian involvement in the outbreak of this mass conflict. Key elements were Russia’s defense of Orthodox Serbia, its pan-Slavic roles, its treaty obligations with France, and its concern with protecting its status as a world power. However, historian Sean McMeekin emphasizes Russian plans to expand its empire southward and to seize Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul ) as an outlet to the Mediterranean Sea,

Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, was assassinated by Bosnian Serbs on June 28, 1914, due to Austria-Hungary’s annexation of the mainly Slavic province. Though Austria-Hungary couldn’t find evidence that the Serbian state had sponsored this assassination, it issued an ultimatum to Serbia during the July Crisis one month later, assuming it would be rejected and thus lead to war.

Austria-Hungary deemed Serbia deserving of punishment for the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Although Russia had no formal treaty obligation to Serbia, it stressed its desire to control the Balkans, having a long-term perspective toward gaining a military advantage over Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Russia was incentivized to delay militarization, and most Russian leaders wanted to avoid war. However, Russia had yielded French support and feared that a failure to defend Serbia would harm Russian credibility, constituting a major political defeat in its goal of controlling the Balkans.

Tsar Nicholas II mobilized Russian forces on July 30, 1914, to threaten Austria-Hungary if it invaded Serbia. Historian Christopher Clark believes that the “Russian general mobilization was one of the most momentous decisions of the August crisis “. The first general mobilization occurred before the German government declared a state of impending war.

Russia’s threats against Germany resulted in military action by German forces, which followed through with its mobilization and a declaration of war on August 1, 1914. At the outset of hostilities, Russian forces led offensives against Germany and Austria-Hungary.

Why was ww1 blamed on Germany?

The topic regarding the origins of World War I is one of the most studied, debated, and disagreed-upon among historians. The question most frequently asked is, “Was Germany primarily responsible for the start of World War I?” Most historians recognize that the immediate cause of the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist in July, 1914.

  1. Most also believe that this incident would not have led to a world war by itself, but that the war was caused by series of interconnected events dating back at least four decades, creating an atmosphere that made war likely, or even inevitable.
  2. These causes included nationalism, militarism (an “arms race”), the complex system of strategic and military alliances, the economic and strategic effect of imperialism and social unrest as well as the lack of effective leadership among the nations of Europe.

The purpose of this paper is to consider whether German policies and actions were more responsible than other factors for the origin of World War I. Historians who believe Germany was primarily responsible for the war base their conclusion on the aggressive attitude of Germany’s leaders, their desire to extend Germany’s influence throughout Europe, and on the militaristic nature of the German people.

  1. The German Empire, founded in 1870 by Otto von Bismarck, was based on a strong sense of nationalism.
  2. Animosity between France and Germany existed during Bismarck’s time, but Germany established peace treaties with almost all of the other nations of Europe.
  3. Bismarck strengthened Germany’s position in Europe by establishing an alliance with Austria-Hungary and diplomatic relations with Russia.

He wanted to avoid war and maintain a balance of power in Europe with Germany as one of the major powers. Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in 1888. He took a much more aggressive stance than Bismarck had and wanted to do more than maintain the status quo.

  • He wanted to expand Germany’s power and influence in Europe.
  • He ended diplomatic relations with Russia, strengthened Germany’s alliance with Austria-Hungary, and began to build up Germany’s navy in an attempt to match the naval power of Great Britain.
  • The strongest arguments to support the claim that Germany was primarily responsible for World War I are based on documents that had been suppressed by the German government immediately after the war.

The first document gave details of a War Council held on December 8, 1912 between Kaiser Wilhelm II and the military leadership of Germany. According to that document Kaiser Wilhelm wanted to start a war of aggression immediately. He was convinced by Admiral Tiplitz and others at the council to delay the war for eighteen months to give the military the opportunity to build up arms and better prepare for the war.

  • World War I started eighteen months later.
  • The second document discovered at this time was an Imperial German government document that identified expansion into a Russian-occupied area of Poland as a major aim of the war.
  • The purpose of this imperialistic expansion was to gain Liebensraum, or “living space”, for the German people.

This document provided historians with a link between the foreign policy of Germany in 1914 with that of Hitler in 1939. This document along with the War Council document, led many historians to place most of the blame for the start of World War I on Germany.

Historians who believe Germany was not primarily responsible for the war base their conclusion on the fact that other nations behaved just as badly as Germany did in the decades preceding the war, and that factors outside the control of any one country or individual were more responsible for the war.

Militarism, nationalism, the complex system of alliances, imperialism and economic factors, and social and political forces affected all of the countries involved in the conflict, not just Germany. Militarism was successfully used as a method to carry out imperialistic expansion by England and France.

Force or the threat of force was used whenever necessary to establish or maintain control of their colonies. It was used because it worked. Most citizens of England and France didn’t see this aspect of their government because it took place on different continents, not at home. Politicians and military leaders, however, relied on militarism to achieve their goals.

Historians believe that the tendency to resort to military action rather than compromise and diplomacy played an important role in how these countries responded when they were threatened at home. Nationalism didn’t just affect Germany. France’s nationalistic feelings date back to the French Revolution of 1789 and to Napoleon’s conquest of Europe in the early 1800’s.

The concepts of nationalism and pride in the culture and identity of groups spread to other cultures and nations. Nationalist movements in the Balkans involving Serbs had been going on for the decade leading up to World War I, and war had almost broken out several times. Russia had been embarrassed by a military defeat at the hands of Japan earlier in the century and was eager to regain national pride.

In addition to modernizing their culture and economy, winning a war was a way to regain nationalistic pride. France and Great Britain had vast overseas empires that were threatened when Germany became and imperialistic nation. Great Britain’s national pride and security were threatened when Germany threatened to build a navy to challenge Great Britain’s dominance of the seas.

As an island nation she felt particularly vulnerable if she didn’t have control of the seas. Because France and Great Britain felt that their strategic and commercial interests were threatened, they became allies to protect themselves from Germany. All of the countries joined in alliances for mutual protection, and the alliance system kept peace on the continent from the time of the establishment of the German Empire under Bismarck in 1871 to the beginning of the war.

None of the major countries, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary or Great Britain, trusted each other, so the alliances were imperfect. Once aggressive acts were initiated against any country, though, the alliance system acted to promote rather than prevent war as countries were bound to come to the defense of each other.

This can be seen as the main reason why a skirmish between Serbia, a small country, and Austria-Hungary, an empire in decline, escalated into World War I. There was social and political unrest in many European countries during the years preceding World War I. The ruling class was fighting for survival, and all of the major countries were looking for ways to gain the support of the people and strengthen their own countries.

Because of this, some historians believe all of the countries were willing to go to war to increase their power and prestige, relative to each other. At first, the countries felt that showing a willingness to go to war would act as a deterrent to war, and other countries would not risk a war with a willing and armed opponent.

However when it became apparent that attacking first would be important for success, the risk of war actually increased. Several other facts are important. In the 1890’s, two decades before the war started, Bismarck stated that Europe was a “powder keg” waiting to be set off that would lead to a war that would destroy the whole continent.

He also predicted that the spark would come from the Balkans. Winston Churchill believed war came in 1914 because of a “general restlessness” in Europe. He noted that everyone was turning to violence as a way of expressing dissatisfaction, including trade unions, suffragettes, and Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

The feeling that all great achievements can be attributed to violence was popularized by French philosopher George Sorel and may have led to this behavior. Finally, the war was seen by some as the failure of leadership in all of the major countries of Europe, and that if one person had stepped up during the five weeks between the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the start of the war, and taken a reasonable stand, the war would have been averted.

Many historians agree that German aggression and militaristic policies were responsible for some of the conditions that led to war, that Germany saw itself as likely to benefit from a war, and that as the strongest military power in Europe she could have taken actions to prevent a the war.

  • Much evidence suggests that Germany was more responsible than any other country for the start of World War I and that forces of history outside of the control of Germany contributed to all of the events that led to World War I.
  • Nationalism and pride in culture and identity spread throughout Europe following Napoleon’s conquests and put pressure on empires that had existed for centuries.

Imperialism resulted in a rise in militarism as nations established and maintained colonies around the world. Military and strategic alliances created situations where regional skirmishes between small countries could escalate to major battles involving the entire continent.

  1. Social unrest put political and economic pressure on existing governments.
  2. Finally, there were no strong leaders when they were most needed.
  3. The War Guilt Clause of the Treaty of Versailles was unfair in placing all of the responsibility for losses suffered in World War I on Germany.
  4. If Germany had won the war it is likely that another country would have signed a “War Guilt Clause” and historians would be debating the degree to which that country was actually responsible for the war.

The Historiography references show how the consensus of historians have changed over time. Between 1919 and 1939, most historians felt that Germany was not to blame. After Hitler came to power, historians saw connections between the aggressive action of Kaiser Wilhelm at the beginning of World War I and Hitler’s aggression that led to World War II.

  1. As a result, blame for the start of WWI shifted back to Germany.
  2. This point of view was strengthened further when the War Council and Liebensraum documents came to light.
  3. Based on the evidence, while Germany was more responsible for the start of World War I than any other nation, the war began primarily because of forces of history outside the control of any one country.

Sources

“Causes of WW1 – Main Causes of WW1.” ww1 and history of ww1.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.worldwar1-history.com/Causes-of-WW1.aspx >.”Causes of World War I – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_World_War_I >.Duffy, Michael, “First World War.com – Feature Articles – The Causes of World War One.”First World War.com – A Multimedia History of World War One.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm >.Hamm, Brian. “Origins of WW1.” Upload & Share PowerPoint presentations and documents.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.slideshare.net/brianphamm/origins-of-ww1 >.”Historiography of the Causes of WWI.” GCSE Modern World History.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.johndclare.net/causesWWI_Answer1.htm >.”Historiography of the Causes of World War I – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography_of_the_Causes_of_World_War_I >.Sheffield, Dr Gary. “BBC – History – World Wars: The Origins of World War One.” BBCHomepage.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/origins_01.shtml >.

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How many people died in WW1?

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I, was around 40 million. There were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded.

Why did WW1 end quickly?

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 a.m. that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower and supplies and faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France.

  • The First World War left nine million soldiers dead and 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives.
  • In addition, at least five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.
  • WATCH: The Last Day of World War I on HISTORY Vault On June 28, 1914, in an event that is widely regarded as sparking the outbreak of World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire, was shot to death with his wife by Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

Ferdinand had been inspecting his uncle’s imperial armed forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina, despite the threat of Serbian nationalists who wanted these Austro-Hungarian possessions to join newly independent Serbia. Austria-Hungary blamed the Serbian government for the attack and hoped to use the incident as justification for settling the problem of Slavic nationalism once and for all.

  1. However, as Russia supported Serbia, an Austro-Hungarian declaration of war was delayed until its leaders received assurances from German leader Kaiser Wilhelm II that Germany would support their cause in the event of a Russian intervention.
  2. On July 28, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, and the tenuous peace between Europe’s great powers collapsed.

On July 29, Austro-Hungarian forces began to shell the Serbian capital, Belgrade, and Russia, Serbia’s ally, ordered a troop mobilization against Austria-Hungary. France, allied with Russia, began to mobilize on August 1. France and Germany declared war against each other on August 3.

After crossing through neutral Luxembourg, the German army invaded Belgium on the night of August 3-4, prompting Great Britain, Belgium’s ally, to declare war against Germany. For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. Most patriotically assumed that their country would be victorious within months.

Of the initial belligerents, Germany was most prepared for the outbreak of hostilities, and its military leaders had formatted a sophisticated military strategy known as the “Schlieffen Plan,” which envisioned the conquest of France through a great arcing offensive through Belgium and into northern France.

  1. Russia, slow to mobilize, was to be kept occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces while Germany attacked France.
  2. The Schlieffen Plan was nearly successful, but in early September the French rallied and halted the German advance at the bloody Battle of the Marne near Paris.
  3. By the end of 1914, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, and neither for the Allies nor the Central Powers was a final victory in sight.

On the western front—the battle line that stretched across northern France and Belgium—the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition. READ MORE: Life in the Trenches of World War I In 1915, the Allies attempted to break the stalemate with an amphibious invasion of Turkey, which had joined the Central Powers in October 1914, but after heavy bloodshed the Allies were forced to retreat in early 1916.

  1. The year 1916 saw great offensives by Germany and Britain along the western front, but neither side accomplished a decisive victory.
  2. In the east, Germany was more successful, and the disorganized Russian army suffered terrible losses, spurring the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917.
  3. By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia and immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany.

In 1918, the infusion of American troops and resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on November 11, 1918. World War I was known as the “war to end all wars” because of the great slaughter and destruction it caused.

Why did Germany declare war on Russia?

World War One and the Triggers for War The spark which set Europe (and the rest of the world) alight was the assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serb nationalist on 28th June, 1914. Austria blamed Serbia, which then looked to Russia for support.

  • Germany declared war on Russia in support of Austria and on France because of her alliance with Russia.
  • Britain declared war on Germany in support of Belgium and France, and on Turkey because of her alliance with Germany.
  • Britain declared war on Germany on August 4th 1914, but rivalry between the two countries had been growing for years.

Germany resented Britain’s control of the world’s oceans and markets, while Britain increasingly viewed a Europe dominated by a powerful and aggressive Germany as a threat which must be contained. Europe was now divided into the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and their allies) and the Triple Entente (Britain and the British Empire, France and Russia and their allies), with countries such as Spain, Albania, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden remaining neutral.

Soon however most of the major nations of the world would become involved in the war. Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand became involved as part of the British Empire. In much the same way, colonies of the other European nations also entered the war, including many Asian and African countries. Initially neutral, the United States of America entered the war on April 6th 1917.

The Path to War: 1. The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Serb nationalist – 28th June 1914 2. Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia – 28th July 1914 3. Germany declares war on Russia – 1st August 1914 4. Germany invades Belgium – 3rd August 1914 5.

  • Germany declares war on France – 3rd August 1914 6.
  • Britain declares war on Germany – 4th August 1914 7.
  • Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia – 6th August 1914 8.
  • Britain declares war on Austria-Hungary – 12th August 1914 9.
  • Russia declares war on Ottoman Turkey – 2nd November 1914 10.
  • Britain declares war on Ottoman Turkey – 5th November 1914 11.

Italy declares war on Austria-Hungary – 23rd May 1915 12. Bulgaria declares war on Serbia – 14th October 1915 13. Britain declares war on Bulgaria – 15th October 1915 14. Russia declares war on Bulgaria – 19th October 1915 : World War One and the Triggers for War

Why did France join ww1?

France’s passive role – France played only a small largely passive role in the diplomatic crisis of July 1914. Its top leaders were out of the country and mostly out of contact with breaking reports from July 15 to July 29, when most of the critical decisions were taken.

  1. Austria and Germany deliberately acted to prevent the French and Russian leadership from communicating during the last week in July.
  2. But this made little difference as French policy in strong support of Russia had been locked in.
  3. Germany realized that a war with Russia meant a war with France, and so its war plans called for an immediate attack on France – through Belgium – hoping for a quick victory before the slow-moving Russians could become a factor.

France was a major military and diplomatic player before and after the July crisis, and every power paid close attention to its role. Historian Joachim Remak says: The nation that.can still be held least responsible for the outbreak of the war is France.

  • This is so even if we bear in mind all the revisions of historical judgments, and all the revisions of these revisions, to which we have now been treated.The French, in 1914, entered the war because they had no alternative.
  • The Germans had attacked them.
  • History can be very simple at times.
  • While other countries published compendia of diplomatic correspondence, seeking to establish justification for their own entry into the war, and cast blame on other actors for the outbreak of war within days of the outbreak of hostilities, France held back.

The first of these color books to appear, was the German White Book which appeared on 4 August 1914, the same day as Britain’s war declaration but France held back for months, only releasing the French Yellow Book in response on 1 December 1914.

Why was World War 1 fought?

What was the main cause of World War I? World War I began after the assassination of Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand by South Slav nationalist Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914. Read more about why the Balkans became the ‘powder keg of Europe.’

Was Russia in World War 1?

World War I — Russia Russia entered the first world war with the largest army in the world, standing at 1,400,000 soldiers; when fully mobilized the Russian army expanded to over 5,000,000 soldiers (though at the outset of war Russia could not arm all its soldiers, having a supply of 4.6 million rifles). Europe: 1914 The Russian Ministry of War was commanded by General Sukhomlinov. Though Tsar Nicholas wished to lead the Russian Army into battle personally, he was persuaded otherwise and instead named his uncle, the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich, Commander in Chief. Russian Artillery in formation The first offensive Russia launched was in August 1914, against Germany in East Prussia, The Russian First Army (commanded by Rennenkampf) aimed straight into the heart of East Prussia (held by the German Eight Army), while the Russian Second Army (commanded by Samsonov) aimed to cut off the Eighth army’s line of retreat.

Once Eastern Prussia was secure, the Russian Ministry of War planned to march on Berlin. The Battle of Tannenberg: The First and Second Russian Army rapidly compromised the German positions in East Prussia, moving with such zeal that they outran their logistical support. After weeks of loses, the remaining German Eighth Army (led by Ludendorf), left their defensive positions and marched between the advanced positions of both Russian armies.

The German Army turned West and attacked the flank of the Russian Second Army. Within four days of fighting, bogged down in lakes and swamps, the Russian Second Army was defeated. Samsonov shot himself. A week later, General Hindenburg led the Eighth German Army, bolstered by reinforcements, to drive the Russian First Army completely out of Prussia.

Also in August, to the South, Russia engaged Austria-Hungary with much better success. The Russian Army quickly shattered their front line on the border of Galacia, forcing the Austrian army to retreat. On September 3, 1914, the Southern Russian Army captured Lemberg, the capital of Galacia (present-day L’vov in Western Ukraine).

Undaunted by success, the southern army continued to push on to Cracow (present-day Kraków of Poland) and aimed to continue into Silesia (South-Western portion of the German Empire — present-day Czechoslovakia). Russian artillery bombardment of Galicia Shortly after the fall of Lemberg, General Hindenburg assembled a new army in Eastern Prussia, designated the Ninth German Army, to assist Austria and prevent the Russian Army from advancing on Silesia. The Ninth aimed to cut straight through Poland (a territory of Russia), capture Warsaw, and continue on into Galicia to engage the Russian Southern Army.

Once the German Ninth army got underway, it met extremely heavy resistance in Poland. Despite seven months of intense fighting the army was unable to capture Warsaw. Meanwhile, to the South, the Russian Southern Army was unable to penetrate Silesia but kept hold of Galicia. The German High Command, realising a war with two fronts would be impossible maintain, told the troops on the Western Front to dig in and hold their ground — a shifted their attention to Russia.

By September 1915, two-thirds of the German Army were deployed on the Eastern front. The German offensive opened on April 15 (28), 1915, and sent the Russian Army, short of ammunition and supplies, falling back to the East. On June 9 (22) Lemberg was recaptured.

With the Russian Southern Army front compromised and in retreat, on June 30 (July 12) the German Twelfth Army, coming from the NorthWest (East Prussia and Pomerania ) spearheaded into Poland. The Russian and Polish soldiers in Poland were being crushed. After a month of desperate battle, the Russian Ministry of War conceded to let their troops retreat from Poland on July 9 (22), 1915.

The German Army followed at the heels of the retreating Russians, but by the end of September the German advance halted to reinforce all the gains it had made: the new front was established from the Southern border of the Russian state of Moldavia straight up to kilometers outside Riga in Latvia.

  1. Poland and Lithuania, inhabitited by some 23 million people, had been lost to Germany.
  2. Amid increasingly tense political protests in Russia, General Sukhomlinov (Minister of War) was arrested in the beginning of 1916 (though released in the following Autumn), and was replaced by General Alexis Polivanov.

In August, Tsar Nicholas dismissed Nikolai Kikolaevich and assumed personal command of the Russian Military. On May 22 (June 4), 1916, Russian launched its second and last major offensive of the war. The Russian Army opened offensive operations along an enormous front: from Pinsk (in SouthWest Byelorussia) to the Russian border with Romania — an advance nearly 400 kilometers long.

  • The advance continued for ten weeks, inflicting heavy loses on the Austrian-Hungarian Army whose efforts in the main had been re-directed to fighting in Italy.
  • Despite the Russian offensive, however, the front remained largely intact.
  • Domestic protests continued in Russia, breaking out in masse with the new offensive.

The government responded with political shuffling: several Generals, adminstrators, etc, were dismissed. Workers, peasants and soldiers, remained in unwavering support of ending the war. Thousands were arrested. Russian soldiers running from advancing German troops (July, 1917) On October 26, 1917, the Soviet government issued a decree of peace, insisting that all belligerent powers open immediate negotiations for a democratic peace without annexations, and guarantee the right of every nation to self-determination (Russia was the only nation to do so at the end of the war, allowing all the former territories of Russia to self-determination.

  • Independence was short lived however, as each republic was later incorporated/annexed into the Soviet Union by Stalin.),
  • The Entente refused to recognise the Soviet government, and continued the war.
  • The Soviet government signed the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on March 3, 1918, ending four years of aggression between Russia and Germany.

Defeat: The loses Russia suffered in the world war were catastrophic. Between 900,000 and 2,500,000 Russians were killed. At least 1,500,000 Russians and possibly up to more than 5 million Russians were wounded. Nearly 4,000,000 Russian soldiers were held as POWs (Britain, France and Germany had 1.3 million POWs combined).

  • Economically Russia was devastated.8,000,000,000 rubles in war debts were outstanding, strangling the national economy of its breath.
  • Inflation soared; the gold reserves (then backing the currency) were nearly empty, revenues were exceedingly low while reconstruction costs were huge.
  • Russia was on the verge of complete collapse.

Domestic: Kulaks: The Russians that prospered the most during the war were peasant land-owners: Kulaks, Cunning muzhiks bribed local officials to prevent conscription and saw a field of opportunity open up during the war. While more and more peasants were sent to their deaths on the front lines, kulaks grabbed up their land in a free-for-all.

  1. By 1917, kulaks owned more than 90% of the arable land in European Russia, where once the majority or arable land had been in the hands of peasant communes.
  2. The most valuable commodity throughout the war was grain, and kulaks understood this with absolute clarity: food prices climbed higher than any other commodity during the war.
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In 1916, food prices accelerated three times higher than wages, despite bumper harvests in both 1915 and 1916. The price of grain in 1916, already at two and a half rubles per pud, was anticipated to raise up to twenty five rubles per pud. Hoping to raise prices, the kulaks hoarded their food surplus.

Throughout 1916, the average urban labourer ate between 200 and 300 grams of food a day. In 1917, the urban populations of Russia were allowed to buy only one pound of bread per adult, per day. In practice, workers sometimes went days without food. As a result of the Land Decree of October 26, 1917, when the peasants took back their land from the kulaks, food slowly came back into the cities again.

Though the Kulaks were overwhelmed by the peasants at home and those returning from the front, many responded later in the year, during the coming Civil War.

Was Russia behind WW1?

Dr Heather Jones – associate professor in international history, LSE – Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia A handful of bellicose political and military decision-makers in Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia caused WW1. Relatively common before 1914, assassinations of royal figures did not normally result in war.

But Austria-Hungary’s military hawks – principal culprits for the conflict – saw the Sarajevo assassination of the Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Bosnian Serb as an excuse to conquer and destroy Serbia, an unstable neighbour which sought to expand beyond its borders into Austro-Hungarian territories.

Serbia, exhausted by the two Balkan wars of 1912-13 in which it had played a major role, did not want war in 1914. Broader European war ensued because German political and military figures egged on Austria-Hungary, Germany’s ally, to attack Serbia. This alarmed Russia, Serbia’s supporter, which put its armies on a war footing before all options for peace had been fully exhausted.

Did Russia win WW1?

Total: ~9,882,000+ casualties

2,590,075 dead

Civilian deaths: 2,000,000+ Russian Empire: 410,000 civilians died due to military action 730,000 civilians died of war-related causes Kingdom of Romania: 130,000 civilians died due to military action 200,000 civilians died of war-related causes Austria-Hungary: 120,000 civilians died due to military action 467,000 civilians died of war-related causes

The Eastern Front or Eastern Theater of World War I ( German : Ostfront ; Romanian : Frontul de răsărit ; Russian :, romanized : Vostochny front ) was a theater of operations that encompassed at its greatest extent the entire frontier between Russia and Romania on one side and Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire, and Germany on the other.

It stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south, involved most of Eastern Europe, and stretched deep into Central Europe as well. The term contrasts with the Western Front, which was being fought in Belgium and France, During 1910, Russian General Yuri Danilov developed “Plan 19” under which four armies would invade East Prussia,

This plan was criticised as Austria-Hungary could be a greater threat than the German Empire. So instead of four armies invading East Prussia, the Russians planned to send two armies to East Prussia, and two armies to defend against Austro-Hungarian forces invading from Galicia,

  1. In the opening months of the war, the Imperial Russian Army attempted an invasion of eastern Prussia in the Northwestern theater, only to be beaten back by Germany after some initial success,
  2. At the same time, in the south, they successfully invaded Galicia, defeating the Austro-Hungarian forces there.

In Russian Poland, the Germans failed to take Warsaw, But by 1915, the German and Austro-Hungarian forces were on the advance, dealing the Russians heavy casualties in Galicia and in Poland, forcing them to retreat, Grand Duke Nicholas was sacked from his position as the commander-in-chief and replaced by Tsar Nicholas himself.

  1. Several offensives against the Germans in 1916 failed, including the Lake Naroch Offensive and the Baranovichi Offensive,
  2. However, General Aleksei Brusilov oversaw a highly successful operation against Austria-Hungary that became known as the Brusilov offensive, which saw the Russian Army make large gains.

Being the largest and most lethal offensive of World War I, the effects of the Brusilov offensive were far reaching. It helped to relieve the German pressure during the Battle of Verdun, while also helping to relieve the Austro-Hungarian pressure on the Italians.

As a result, the Austro-Hungarian Armed Forces were fatally weakened, and finally Romania decided to enter the war on the side of the Allies, However, the Russian human and material losses also greatly contributed to the Russian Revolutions, Romania entered the war in August 1916. The Allied Powers promised the region of Transylvania (which was part of Austria-Hungary) in return for Romanian support.

The Romanian Army invaded Transylvania and had initial successes, but was forced to stop and was pushed back by the Germans and Austro-Hungarians when Bulgaria attacked them from the south. Meanwhile, a revolution occurred in Russia in March 1917 (one of the causes being the hardships of the war).

Tsar Nicholas II was forced to abdicate and a Russian Provisional Government was founded, with Georgy Lvov as its first leader, who was eventually replaced by Alexander Kerensky, The newly formed Russian Republic continued to fight the war alongside Romania and the rest of the Entente in desultory fashion.

It was overthrown by the Bolsheviks in November 1917. Following the Armistice of Focșani between Romania and the Central Powers, Romania also signed a peace treaty with the Central Powers on 7 May 1918, however it was canceled by Romania on 10 November 1918.

How big was Russia in 1914?

Population

Year Population of Russia (millions) Notes
1812 42.8 includes Finland
1816 73.0 includes Congress Poland, Bessarabia
1897 125.6 Russian Empire Census, excludes Finland
1914 164.0 includes new Asian territories

How was the Russian Empire in 1914?

Overview – The Russian Empire, governed at the time by Tsar Nicholas II, stretched from what is now Finland in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. It entered the conflict on 1 August 1914, when Germany declared war. Its capital, Saint-Petersburg, was renamed Petrograd on 31 August in order not to sound too German.

A series of military defeats on the Eastern Front increased social instability on the Home Front and revolution broke out in 1917. It led to the abdication of Nicholas II, the signing of a separate armistice and a peace treaty with Germany and her allies. It also eventually led to the Russian Civil War.

By the time the Russian Empire ceased hostilities, about 15 million men had been mobilised and about two million of them had died.

How big is the Russian army?

Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
ё ́ ́ ́
Emblem of the Russian Armed Forces
Banner of the Russian Armed Forces
Founded 1721 ( Imperial Russian Army )
Current form 7 May 1992
Service branches Ground Forces Navy Aerospace Forces Strategic Rocket Forces Airborne Forces
Headquarters Ministry of Defence, Moscow
Leadership
Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin
Minister of Defence Sergei Shoigu
Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov
Personnel
Military age 18
Conscription 12 months
Active personnel c.  1,150,000 ( ranked 5th )
Reserve personnel c.  2,000,000
Expenditures
Budget US$86.4 billion (2023) ( ranked 3rd )
Percent of GDP 4.1% (2023)
Industry
Domestic suppliers See list:
Foreign suppliers Belarus ( MZKT ) Italy ( Iveco ) Iran ( HESA )
Annual imports US$905 million (2010–2021)
Annual exports US$74.535 billion (2010–2021)
Related articles
History Military history of the Russian Federation
Ranks Army ranks Navy ranks Aerospace Forces ranks

The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation ( Russian : ё ́ ́ ́, Vooružjonnyje Síly Rossíjskoj Federácii ), commonly referred to as the Russian Armed Forces, are the military of Russia, In terms of active-duty personnel, they are the world’s fifth-largest military force, with 1.15 million and at least two million reserve personnel,

According to the CIA, Russia plans to expand its active personnel force to 1.5 million by 2026, which will make it the third largest in the world, after China and India. The country has four branches of service: the Ground Forces, the Navy, and the Aerospace Forces, as well as two independent arms of service: the Strategic Rocket Forces and the Airborne Forces,

In addition, the Special Operations Forces Command was established in 2013, with an estimated strength in 2022 of 1,000, possibly with additional supporting staff. In 2023, Russia had the world’s third-highest military expenditure, allocating a budget of approximately US$86.4 billion to the military.

The Russian Armed Forces maintain the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, and possess the world’s second-largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines ; they are also one of only three national militaries (alongside those of the United States and China ) that operate strategic bombers, With certain exceptions, Russian law mandates one year of military service for all male citizens aged 18–27,

In spite of Russia’s perceived military strength, as recorded in various assessments, deficiencies have been noted in the country’s combat performance on both the tactical and operational scales. According to multiple reports, endemic corruption within the Russian Armed Forces has had a major impact on Russia’s ability to effectively project hard power,

  1. Amidst the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, severe logistical failures have greatly impacted the operational performance of Russian troops, as different service branches have struggled to coordinate and work together.
  2. Continuous shortcomings have led Russia’s war effort to suffer extensive setbacks since the initial invasion; the Russian Armed Forces have experienced successive losses of occupied/annexed territory, the large-scale destruction and squandering of their equipment, and a notably high casualty rate.

Researchers from the RAND Corporation have observed that Russia continues to struggle with military professionalization. Directly controlled by the Security Council of Russia, the Russian Armed Forces form part of the country’s defence services under Russian law, fulfilling this capacity alongside the Border Guard of the Federal Security Service, the National Guard, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Federal Protective Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service, and the Ministry of Emergency Situations,

Why did Germany start ww1?

July: crisis and war – In early July 1914, in the aftermath of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the immediate likelihood of war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, the German government informed the Austro-Hungarian government that Germany would uphold its alliance with Austria-Hungary and defend it from possible Russian intervention if a war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia took place.

  1. Austria depended entirely on Germany for support – it had no other ally it could trust– but the Kaiser lost control of the German government.
  2. Bethmann Hollweg had repeatedly rejected pleas from Britain and Russia to put pressure on Austria to compromise.
  3. German elite and popular public opinion also was demanding mediation.

Now in late July he reversed himself, and pleaded, or demanded, that Austria accept mediation, warning that Britain would probably join Russia and France if a larger war started. The Kaiser made a direct appeal to Emperor Franz Joseph along the same lines.

However, Bethmann Hollweg and the Kaiser did not know that the German military had its own line of communication to the Austrian military, and insisted on rapid mobilization against Russia. German Chief of Staff Moltke sent an emotional telegram to the Austrian Chief of Staff Conrad on July 30: “Austria-Hungary must be preserved, mobilise at once against Russia.

Germany will mobilise.” Vienna officials decided that Moltke was really in charge—which was true—and refused mediation and mobilized against Russia. When Russia enacted a general mobilization, Germany viewed the act as provocative. The Russian government promised Germany that its general mobilization did not mean preparation for war with Germany but was a reaction to the events between Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

The German government regarded the Russian promise of no war with Germany to be nonsense in light of its general mobilization, and Germany, in turn, mobilized for war. On 1 August, Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia stating that since both Germany and Russia were in a state of military mobilization, an effective state of war existed between the two countries.

Later that day, France, an ally of Russia, declared a state of general mobilization. The German government justified military action against Russia as necessary because of Russian aggression as demonstrated by the mobilization of the Russian army that had resulted in Germany mobilizing in response.

  • After Germany declared war on Russia, France with its alliance with Russia prepared a general mobilization in expectation of war.
  • On 3 August 1914, Germany responded to this action by declaring war on France.
  • Germany, facing a two-front war, enacted what was known as the Schlieffen Plan, which involved German armed forces needing to move through Belgium and swing south into France and towards the French capital of Paris.

This plan aimed to gain a quick victory against the French and allow German forces to concentrate on the Eastern Front. Belgium was a neutral country and would not accept German forces crossing its territory. Germany disregarded Belgian neutrality and invaded the country to launch an offensive towards Paris.

This caused Great Britain to declare war against the German Empire, as the action violated the Treaty of London that both Britain and Prussia had signed in 1839 guaranteeing Belgian neutrality and defense of the kingdom if a nation reneged. Subsequently, several states declared war on Germany in late August 1914, with Italy declaring war on Austria-Hungary in 1915 and Germany on 27 August 1916; the United States on 6 April 1917 and Greece in July 1917.

Germany attempted to justify its actions through the publication of selected diplomatic correspondence in the German White Book which appeared on 4 August 1914, the same day as Britain’s war declaration, In it, they sought to establish justification for their own entry into the war, and cast blame on other actors for the outbreak.

Why was Germany blamed for ww1?

The topic regarding the origins of World War I is one of the most studied, debated, and disagreed-upon among historians. The question most frequently asked is, “Was Germany primarily responsible for the start of World War I?” Most historians recognize that the immediate cause of the war was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist in July, 1914.

Most also believe that this incident would not have led to a world war by itself, but that the war was caused by series of interconnected events dating back at least four decades, creating an atmosphere that made war likely, or even inevitable. These causes included nationalism, militarism (an “arms race”), the complex system of strategic and military alliances, the economic and strategic effect of imperialism and social unrest as well as the lack of effective leadership among the nations of Europe.

The purpose of this paper is to consider whether German policies and actions were more responsible than other factors for the origin of World War I. Historians who believe Germany was primarily responsible for the war base their conclusion on the aggressive attitude of Germany’s leaders, their desire to extend Germany’s influence throughout Europe, and on the militaristic nature of the German people.

The German Empire, founded in 1870 by Otto von Bismarck, was based on a strong sense of nationalism. Animosity between France and Germany existed during Bismarck’s time, but Germany established peace treaties with almost all of the other nations of Europe. Bismarck strengthened Germany’s position in Europe by establishing an alliance with Austria-Hungary and diplomatic relations with Russia.

He wanted to avoid war and maintain a balance of power in Europe with Germany as one of the major powers. Kaiser Wilhelm II came to power in 1888. He took a much more aggressive stance than Bismarck had and wanted to do more than maintain the status quo.

  • He wanted to expand Germany’s power and influence in Europe.
  • He ended diplomatic relations with Russia, strengthened Germany’s alliance with Austria-Hungary, and began to build up Germany’s navy in an attempt to match the naval power of Great Britain.
  • The strongest arguments to support the claim that Germany was primarily responsible for World War I are based on documents that had been suppressed by the German government immediately after the war.
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The first document gave details of a War Council held on December 8, 1912 between Kaiser Wilhelm II and the military leadership of Germany. According to that document Kaiser Wilhelm wanted to start a war of aggression immediately. He was convinced by Admiral Tiplitz and others at the council to delay the war for eighteen months to give the military the opportunity to build up arms and better prepare for the war.

  • World War I started eighteen months later.
  • The second document discovered at this time was an Imperial German government document that identified expansion into a Russian-occupied area of Poland as a major aim of the war.
  • The purpose of this imperialistic expansion was to gain Liebensraum, or “living space”, for the German people.

This document provided historians with a link between the foreign policy of Germany in 1914 with that of Hitler in 1939. This document along with the War Council document, led many historians to place most of the blame for the start of World War I on Germany.

Historians who believe Germany was not primarily responsible for the war base their conclusion on the fact that other nations behaved just as badly as Germany did in the decades preceding the war, and that factors outside the control of any one country or individual were more responsible for the war.

Militarism, nationalism, the complex system of alliances, imperialism and economic factors, and social and political forces affected all of the countries involved in the conflict, not just Germany. Militarism was successfully used as a method to carry out imperialistic expansion by England and France.

  • Force or the threat of force was used whenever necessary to establish or maintain control of their colonies.
  • It was used because it worked.
  • Most citizens of England and France didn’t see this aspect of their government because it took place on different continents, not at home.
  • Politicians and military leaders, however, relied on militarism to achieve their goals.

Historians believe that the tendency to resort to military action rather than compromise and diplomacy played an important role in how these countries responded when they were threatened at home. Nationalism didn’t just affect Germany. France’s nationalistic feelings date back to the French Revolution of 1789 and to Napoleon’s conquest of Europe in the early 1800’s.

The concepts of nationalism and pride in the culture and identity of groups spread to other cultures and nations. Nationalist movements in the Balkans involving Serbs had been going on for the decade leading up to World War I, and war had almost broken out several times. Russia had been embarrassed by a military defeat at the hands of Japan earlier in the century and was eager to regain national pride.

In addition to modernizing their culture and economy, winning a war was a way to regain nationalistic pride. France and Great Britain had vast overseas empires that were threatened when Germany became and imperialistic nation. Great Britain’s national pride and security were threatened when Germany threatened to build a navy to challenge Great Britain’s dominance of the seas.

  • As an island nation she felt particularly vulnerable if she didn’t have control of the seas.
  • Because France and Great Britain felt that their strategic and commercial interests were threatened, they became allies to protect themselves from Germany.
  • All of the countries joined in alliances for mutual protection, and the alliance system kept peace on the continent from the time of the establishment of the German Empire under Bismarck in 1871 to the beginning of the war.

None of the major countries, Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary or Great Britain, trusted each other, so the alliances were imperfect. Once aggressive acts were initiated against any country, though, the alliance system acted to promote rather than prevent war as countries were bound to come to the defense of each other.

  1. This can be seen as the main reason why a skirmish between Serbia, a small country, and Austria-Hungary, an empire in decline, escalated into World War I.
  2. There was social and political unrest in many European countries during the years preceding World War I.
  3. The ruling class was fighting for survival, and all of the major countries were looking for ways to gain the support of the people and strengthen their own countries.

Because of this, some historians believe all of the countries were willing to go to war to increase their power and prestige, relative to each other. At first, the countries felt that showing a willingness to go to war would act as a deterrent to war, and other countries would not risk a war with a willing and armed opponent.

However when it became apparent that attacking first would be important for success, the risk of war actually increased. Several other facts are important. In the 1890’s, two decades before the war started, Bismarck stated that Europe was a “powder keg” waiting to be set off that would lead to a war that would destroy the whole continent.

He also predicted that the spark would come from the Balkans. Winston Churchill believed war came in 1914 because of a “general restlessness” in Europe. He noted that everyone was turning to violence as a way of expressing dissatisfaction, including trade unions, suffragettes, and Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland.

The feeling that all great achievements can be attributed to violence was popularized by French philosopher George Sorel and may have led to this behavior. Finally, the war was seen by some as the failure of leadership in all of the major countries of Europe, and that if one person had stepped up during the five weeks between the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the start of the war, and taken a reasonable stand, the war would have been averted.

Many historians agree that German aggression and militaristic policies were responsible for some of the conditions that led to war, that Germany saw itself as likely to benefit from a war, and that as the strongest military power in Europe she could have taken actions to prevent a the war.

Much evidence suggests that Germany was more responsible than any other country for the start of World War I and that forces of history outside of the control of Germany contributed to all of the events that led to World War I. Nationalism and pride in culture and identity spread throughout Europe following Napoleon’s conquests and put pressure on empires that had existed for centuries.

Imperialism resulted in a rise in militarism as nations established and maintained colonies around the world. Military and strategic alliances created situations where regional skirmishes between small countries could escalate to major battles involving the entire continent.

  • Social unrest put political and economic pressure on existing governments.
  • Finally, there were no strong leaders when they were most needed.
  • The War Guilt Clause of the Treaty of Versailles was unfair in placing all of the responsibility for losses suffered in World War I on Germany.
  • If Germany had won the war it is likely that another country would have signed a “War Guilt Clause” and historians would be debating the degree to which that country was actually responsible for the war.

The Historiography references show how the consensus of historians have changed over time. Between 1919 and 1939, most historians felt that Germany was not to blame. After Hitler came to power, historians saw connections between the aggressive action of Kaiser Wilhelm at the beginning of World War I and Hitler’s aggression that led to World War II.

  1. As a result, blame for the start of WWI shifted back to Germany.
  2. This point of view was strengthened further when the War Council and Liebensraum documents came to light.
  3. Based on the evidence, while Germany was more responsible for the start of World War I than any other nation, the war began primarily because of forces of history outside the control of any one country.

Sources

“Causes of WW1 – Main Causes of WW1.” ww1 and history of ww1.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.worldwar1-history.com/Causes-of-WW1.aspx >.”Causes of World War I – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_World_War_I >.Duffy, Michael, “First World War.com – Feature Articles – The Causes of World War One.”First World War.com – A Multimedia History of World War One.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.firstworldwar.com/origins/causes.htm >.Hamm, Brian. “Origins of WW1.” Upload & Share PowerPoint presentations and documents.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.slideshare.net/brianphamm/origins-of-ww1 >.”Historiography of the Causes of WWI.” GCSE Modern World History.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.johndclare.net/causesWWI_Answer1.htm >.”Historiography of the Causes of World War I – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.” Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historiography_of_the_Causes_of_World_War_I >.Sheffield, Dr Gary. “BBC – History – World Wars: The Origins of World War One.” BBCHomepage.N.p., n.d. Web.9 Dec.2012. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/origins_01.shtml >.

How could Germany have won ww1?

A hundred years ago today, September 26th, the greatest artillery bombardment in U.S. history—more shells in a few hours than had been fired in the entire American Civil War—fell silent and 350,000 American soldiers got to their feet and began to advance across no-man’s-land toward the German trenches in the Meuse-Argonne.

With the French and British stalled in their sectors, the Doughboys aimed to cut the German army’s principal supply line on the Western Front and end World War I. The American role in the First World War is one of the great stories of the American Century, and yet it has largely vanished from view. Most historians tell us that the U.S.

Army arrived too late on the Western Front to affect the war’s outcome, an outcome determined by Allied grit, better tactics, the British blockade of German ports, and, ultimately, German exhaustion and revolution. It must be baldly stated: Germany would have won World War I had the U.S.

Army not intervened in France in 1918, The French and British were barely hanging on in 1918. By year-end 1917, France had lost 3 million men in the war, Britain 2 million. The French army actually mutinied in 1917, half of its demoralized combat divisions refusing to attack the Germans. The British fared little better in 1917, losing 800,000 casualties in the course of a year that climaxed with the notorious three-month assault on the muddy heights of Passchendaele, where 300,000 British infantry fell to gain just two miles of ground.

By 1918, French reserves of military-aged recruits were literally a state secret; there were so few of them still alive. France maintained its 110 divisions in 1918 not by infusing them with new manpower – there was none – but by reducing the number of regiments in a French division from four to three.

The British, barely maintaining 62 divisions on the Western Front, planned, in the course of 1918 – had the Americans not appeared – to reduce their divisions to thirty or fewer and essentially to abandon the ground war in Europe.1918, eventually celebrated as the Allied “Year of Victory,” seemed initially far more promising for the Germans.

The French army limped into the year, effectively out of men and in revolt against its officers; British divisions, 25 percent below their normal strength because of the awful casualties of Passchendaele, had not been reinforced. Prime Minister David Lloyd George refused to send replacements to Field Marshal Douglas Haig’s army on the Western Front, so controversial were Haig’s casualties.

Lloyd George feared social revolution in Britain if casualties continued to mount, and lamented that Haig “had smothered the army in mud and blood.” The waning of the French and British in 1917 could not have come at a worse moment, when the Germans had crushed the Russians and Italians and begun deploying 100 fresh divisions to the Western Front for a war-winning offensive in 1918: 3.5 million Germans with absolute artillery superiority against 2.5 million demoralized British and French.

What saved the day? The Americans. The United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, drafted a million-man army (the A.E.F.) in the ensuing months, and deployed it hurriedly to France in the winter of 1917-18. In June 1918, the Germans brushed aside fifty French divisions and plunged as far as the Marne River, just fifty miles from Paris. Marching up dusty roads past hordes of fleeing French refugees and soldiers—” La guerre est finie !”—the Doughboys and Marines went into action at Château-Thierry and Belleau Wood and stopped the German onslaught on the Marne. With Haig facing defeat in Flanders, actually warning London in April 1918 that the British had their “backs to the wall,” American troops— the manpower equivalent of over 100 French or British divisions—permitted Foch to shift otherwise irreplaceable French troops to the British sector, where a dazed Tommy, sniffing the tang of the sea air over the stink of the battlefield and apprised that Haig had spoken of British backs to the wall, replied, with a glance at the English Channel, “what bloody wall?” The Americans saved Britain and France in the spring and summer and destroyed the German army in the fall.

Most historians argue that the war was won by Marshal Ferdinand Foch’s famous Hundred Days Offensive – a coordinated Anglo-French-American envelopment of the German army on the Western Front – and most emphasize the performance of the British and French and speak of the American battles at Saint-Mihiel and in the Meuse-Argonne as sideshows.

They were anything but. After rousing success in August and September, the British and French offensives had stalled. Haig suffered nearly half a million additional casualties in 1918, and so did the French. They spent their dwindling strength breaching the Hindenburg Line and had little left for the Meuse, Moselle, or Rhine lines, where the Germans would stand fast.

  • Lloyd George’s war cabinet warned Haig that the shrinking army he was conducting slowly eastward was “Britain’s last army,” and it was going fast.
  • As winter approached and the Allies sagged, everything hinged on the pending American thrust northward from Saint-Mihiel and Verdun toward Sedan– aimed at the vital pivot of the whole German position west of the Rhine.

Verdun had always been a thorn in the German side, forcing the German front in France to bend sharply around it—compressing Hindenburg’s vital railways into a narrow space—and offering great opportunities to the Allies, if only they had the manpower, to thrust upward from Verdun to cut the famous four-track railroad line through Sedan and Mézières that conveyed most of the German army’s men, matériel, and supplies.

The American battle in the Meuse-Argonne, from September 26 to November 11, 1918, pierced the most redoubtable section of the Hindenburg Line, reached Sedan on both banks of the Meuse—denying the Germans the river as a defensive shield—and cut the vital four-track railway there, which carried 250 German trains a day.

With it, the Germans had moved five divisions every two days to any point on the Western Front; without it, they could barely move a single division in the same span. The American offensive was, a British war correspondent concluded, “the matador’s thrust in the bull-fight.” It cut the German throat.

  1. The Doughboys won the war by trapping the German army in France and Belgium and severing its lifeline.
  2. Looking at 1918 in this new way, restoring the enormous impact of the U.S.
  3. Military to its proper scale and significance, achieves two important things.
  4. First, it fundamentally revises the history of the First World War.

Second, it brings out the thrilling suspense of 1918, when the fate of the world hung in the balance, and the revivifying power of the Americans saved the Allies, defeated Germany, and established the United States as the greatest of the great powers.

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