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Fighting WWI

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David Mitiguy

on 13 March 2018

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Transcript of Fighting WWI

Allies overwhelm Germans with technology and soldiers
British Tanks
Massive American Army (2,000,000)
German Miscalculation
Germany did not believe America would enter the war
Resumed unrestricted sub warfare sinks numerous US ships
America enters the war as Russia is withdrawing
Breaking the Stalemate
The Schlieffen Plan
The main idea:

Destroy France before Russia could mount an effective offensive against the weaker German defenses on the eastern front

Main goal was to avoid a two-front war
The Plans
Fighting and Finishing WWI
Problems with the Plan
Made WWI a "war by timetable"

Required huge amounts of logistical planning

Committed Germany to a two front war
Germany had to attack first, even if they weren't ready
France did not fortify Belgian border as they believed Germany would not violate Belgian neutrality
The Schlieffen Plan had the main German military effort accessing France through Belgium
Afred von Schlieffen
German Chief of Staff
Started planning over a decade before the war
Logistically impossible, so lines are established creating "static" warfare
Massive Lines of Trenches Spread Across the Front
400 miles of trenches dug reaching from Switzerland to the North Sea
Numerous chemicals used to help break the stalemate
Chlorine (lungs)
Mustard Gas (blisters)
Tear Gas (eyes)
Phosgene (burned skin, eyes, etc)
over 180,000 deaths from chemical attacks
Peripheral Operations
Ottoman Empire enters the war, Halloween 1914 on the side of Germany and Austria-Hungary

Britain sees Ottoman lands as key to victory

Numerous failed campaigns are fought on the borders of Ottoman Empire
Gallipoli = 552,000 deaths
Frontal Attacks
Attack on Verdun
Lasts from Feb. 21, 1916 - Dec. 19, 1916
Begins with a 12 hour bombardment of Verdun
More than 700,000 casualties
All occurs in an area less than 4 square miles (smaller than Vermont's smallest town)
Battle of the Somme
July 1, 1916: England attacks Germans at the Somme River in an attempt to divert them from Verdun
Day 1: More than 60,000 British casualties
Fighting continues until November, more than 600,000 combined casualties
British Mark 1
England begins developing tanks in 1914 and begins using them in 1916, but with little success

Battle of Cambrai, Nov. 20, 1917, nearly 500 tanks deployed

Pushed the Germans back 3 miles (first time since trenches established)

Land quickly reclaimed by Germany
Bulgaria - Sept. 30, 1918
Ottoman Empire - Oct. 30, 1918
Austria Hungary - Nov. 4, 1918
Germany - Nov 11, 1918 (Veteran's Day)
Full transcript