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The course of the war
Transcript of The course of the war
The Western Front
Germany planned to invade France through Belgium in order to capture Paris. The troops would then rush to the eastern front to drive back the Russians.
However, the plan failed and they had to leave some troops fighting in France while the rest went to combat the Russians in East Prussia (Germany).
What would had been a supposed quick victory became the struggle against the fierce French and British resistance in the Marne River.
The next strategy was capturing the port cities and then getting back to Paris. This time the Germans were stopped in Ypres, Belgium.
The Eastern Front
Meanwhile, the Russians had some victories in eastern Germany. Later they were beaten in Tannenberg.
It wasn't easy to combat the well trained German forces with a badly organized army who suffered hunger since they couldn't get supplies from their allies since the Baltic Sea was blocked by the German fleet and the Ottomans controlled the way to the Mediterranean Sea.
In March 1917 the czar abdicated, and in November 1917 a new government took over. Russia withdrew from the war signing the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany.
The role of the United States
President Woodrow Wilson tried to maintain neutrality until the last moment. Britain and France made an effort to gain support by sending all sort of
and many Americans became anti-German. The war appeared to be a conflict between
Both, British and German interfered with the shipping of neutral countries. When the Lusitania was sunk carrying 128 Americans in 1915, the U.S. was closer to enter the war. To justify the sinking, the Germans said that there were arms being transported as well.
Asia and the Pacific
Japan joined the Allies since the beginning of the war and moved to the German spheres of influence on China's Shandong Peninsula.
In the meanwhile, the British Dominions of Australia and New Zealand seized other German islands in the Pacific.
British and French forces seized German coastal colonies (Togoland and Kamerun/ Cameroons).
The Union of South Africa took over the colony of South-West Africa.
In German East Africa a small army was never clearly defeated. They didn't surrender until they found out the war was over.
The case of Russia
The African campaign
The Ottomans planted mines along the Dardanelles in Turkey to prevent the allies from sending aid to Russia and to keep the Russians bottled up in the Black Sea.
A coalition of British, French, Australian and New Zealanders tried to take control of the Dardanelles by land. The Ottomans resisted with German help and the Allies had to withdraw.
In the Middle East, the allies were more successful.
Taking advantage of the aversion of the Arab nations towards Ottoman rule, British forces found help in Arab nationalism in order to drive the Ottomans out of the different areas. In October 1918, they were out of the war.
In 1917, German diplomat Arthur Zimmermann tried to get Mexico as an ally. A telegram was sent to President Carranza asking his government to support Germany. In return, Mexico might gain back Texas and other territories. The Mexican government reported the situation to the U.S. and remained neutral.
In April 1917, the U.S. declared war on Germany. Since Russia had left the war, German troops where now concentrated in France where they faced large numbers of American troops.
The Germans knew that the defeat was eminent. They were facing shortages of food, medicine, oil and weapons.
In October and November the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary surrendered while rebellions in Germany pushed the kaiser to give up the throne. The new German republic agreed to the armistice terms. It was signed on November 11, 1918.
-Long range guns
During the first four months of the war 1,500,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in the trenches.