Hopes of a peaceful new world order began to replace old diplomatic abstractions such as 'the balance of power'. Rationality went out of season. War aims were obscured. Strategies were distorted. Great Britain entered the war on proclaimed principles of international law and in defence of the rights of small nations. By the British government was pursuing a Middle Eastern policy of naked imperialism in collaboration with the French , while simultaneously encouraging the aspirations of Arab nationalism and promising support for the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine.
It was truly a war of illusions. This belief was not based on complacency. Even those who predicted with chilling accuracy the murderous nature of First World War battlefields, such as the Polish banker Jan Bloch, expected the war to be short. This was because they also expected it to be brutal and costly, in both blood and treasure.
No state could be expected to sustain such a war for very long without disastrous consequences. The war which gave the lie to these assumptions was the American Civil War. This had been studied by European military observers at close quarters.
Most, however, dismissed it. This was particularly true of the Prussians. Their own military experience in the wars against Austria and France seemed more relevant and compelling. These wars were both short. They were also instrumental. In the Germans sought to replicate the success of their Prussian predecessors. They aimed to fight a 'cabinet war' on the Bismarckian model.
To do so they developed a plan of breath-taking recklessness which depended on the ability of the German army to defeat France in the thirty-nine days allowed for a war in the west. Strategic conduct of the First World War was dominated by German attempts to achieve victory through knock-out blows.
Erich von Falkenhayn, German commander-in-chief from September until August , was almost alone in his belief that Germany could obtain an outcome to the war satisfactory to its interests and those of its allies without winning smashing victories of total annihilation.
His bloody attempt to win the war by attrition at Verdun in did little to recommend the strategy to his fellow countrymen. The preference for knock-out blows remained. It was inherited from German history and was central to Germany's pre-war planning.
Pre-war German strategy was haunted by the fear of a war on two fronts, against France in the west and Russia in the east. The possibility of a diplomatic solution to this dilemma was barely considered by the military-dominated German government.
A military solution was sought instead. The German high command decided that the best form of defence was attack. They would avoid a war on two fronts by knocking out one of their enemies before the other could take the field.
The enemy with the slowest military mobilization was Russia. The French army would be in the field first. France was therefore chosen to receive the first blow. Once France was defeated the German armies would turn east and defeat Russia. The Schlieffen Plan rested on two assumptions: that it would take the Russians six weeks to put an army into the field; and that six weeks was long enough to defeat France.
By the first assumption was untrue: Russia put an army into the field in fifteen days. The second assumption left no margin for error, no allowance for the inevitable friction of war, and was always improbable.
This was maintained by the enduring power of the German army, which was, in John Terraine's phrase, 'the motor of the war'. The German army was a potent instrument. It had played a historic role in the emergence of the German state. It enjoyed enormous prestige. It was able to recruit men of talent and dedication as officers and NCOs. As a result it was well trained and well led. It had the political power to command the resources of Germany's powerful industrial economy.
Germany's position at the heart of Europe meant that it could operate on interior lines of communication in a European war. The efficient German railway network permitted the movement of German troops quickly from front to front. The superior speed of the locomotive over the ship frustrated Allied attempts to use their command of the sea to operate effectively against the periphery of the Central Powers. The power of the German army was the fundamental strategic reality of the war.
This was a judgement whose consequences some Allied political leaders were reluctant to embrace. The German army suffered from two important strategic difficulties. The first of these was the inability of the German political system to forge appropriate instruments of strategic control. The second was Great Britain. German government rested on the tortured personality of the Kaiser. It was riven by intrigue and indecision. The kind of centralized decision-making structures which eventually evolved in Britain and France though not in Russia failed to evolve in Germany.
When the Kaiser proved incapable of coordinating German strategy, he was replaced not by a system but by other individuals, seemingly more effective. Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg radiated calm and inspired confidence. This gave him the appearance of a great man but without the substance.
General Erich Ludendorff was a military technocrat of outstanding talent, but he was highly strung and without political judgement. In his offensive strategy brought Germany to ruin. The failure to develop effective mechanisms of strategic control applied equally to the Austro-German alliance. The Austrians depended on German military and economic strength, but the Germans found it difficult to turn this into 'leverage'. Austria was willing to take German help but not German advice.
Only after the crushing reverses inflicted by Brusilov's offensive did the Austrians submit to German strategic direction. By then it was almost certainly too late. Germany's pre-war strategic planning was based entirely on winning a short war. British belligerency made this unlikely. The British were a naval rather than a military power. They could not be defeated by the German army, at least not quickly.
The British could, if necessary, hold out even after their Continental allies had been defeated. They might even have chosen to do this. They had in the past and they would again in the not-too-distant future.
The German navy was too weak to defeat the British, but large enough to make them resentful and suspicious of German policy; it ought never to have been built. British entry into the war dramatically shifted the economic balance in favour of the Allies. Britain was one of the world's great industrial powers.
Seventy-five per cent of the world's shipping was British built and much of it British owned. London was the world's greatest money and commodities market.
British access to world supplies of food and credit and to imperial resources of manpower made them a formidable enemy, despite the 'contemptible little army' which was all they could put into the field on the outbreak of war. From about mid onwards British economic, industrial, and manpower resources began to be fully mobilized. Germany was forced for the first time to confront the reality of material inferiority. Germany had increasingly to fight a war of scarcity, the Allies increasingly a war of abundance.
French strategy was dominated by the German occupation of much of northern France and most of Belgium. At its closest point the German line was less than 40 miles from Paris. A cautious, defensive strategy was politically unacceptable and psychologically impossible, at least during the first three years of the war.
During and France sacrificed enormous numbers of men in the attempt to evict the Germans. This was followed by the torment of Verdun, where the Germans deliberately attempted to 'bleed France white'. French fears of military inferiority were confirmed. If France was to prevail its allies would have to contribute in kind. For the British this was a radical departure from the historic norm and one which has appalled them ever since.
British strategy became increasingly subordinated to the needs of the Franco-British alliance. The British fought the war as they had to, not as they wanted to.
The British way in warfare envisaged a largely naval war. A naval blockade would weaken Germany economically. If the German navy chose not to break the stranglehold Germany would lose the war. If it did choose to fight it would be annihilated. British maritime superiority would be confirmed. Neutral opinion would be cowed. Fresh allies would be encouraged into the fight. The blockade would be waged with greater ruthlessness. Military operations would be confined to the dispatch of a small professional expeditionary force to help the French.
Remaining military forces would be employed on the periphery of the Central Powers remote from the German army, where it was believed they would exercise a strategic influence out of all proportion to their size. The British never really fought the war they envisaged. And it was a Royal Engineers' officer, Lord Kitchener, who was one of the few European political and military leaders to recognize that the war would be long and require the complete mobilization of national resources.
Kitchener was appointed Secretary of State for War on 5 August He doubted whether the French and the Russians were strong enough to defeat Germany without massive British military reinforcement.
He immediately sought to raise a mass citizen army. There was an overwhelming popular response to his call to arms. Kitchener envisaged this new British army taking the field in after the French and Russian armies had rendered the German army ripe for defeat.
They would be 'the last million men'. They would win the war and decide the peace. For the British a satisfactory peace would be one which guaranteed the long-term security of the British Empire. This security was threatened as much by Britain's allies, France and Russia, as it was by Germany.
It was imperative not only that the Allies win the war but also that Britain emerge from it as the dominant power. Kitchener's expectations were disappointed. By it was the French army which was ripe for defeat, not the German. But the obligations of the French alliance were inescapable. The British could not afford to acquiesce in a French defeat. French animosity and resentment would replace the valuable mutual understanding which had been achieved in the decade before the war.
The French had a great capacity for making imperial mischief. And so did the Russians. If they were abandoned they would have every reason for doing so. There seemed no choice. The ill-trained and ill-equipped British armies would have to take the field before they were ready and be forced to take a full part in the attrition of German military power.
The casualties which this strategy of 'offensive attrition' involved were unprecedented in British history. They were also unacceptable to some British political leaders.
They looked to use it elsewhere, against Germany's allies in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Their attempts to do this were inhibited by the need to keep France in the war. This could only be done in France and by fighting the German army. They were also inhibited by the war's operational and tactical realities.
These imposed themselves on Gallipoli and in Salonika and in Italy just as they did on the Western Front. Attempts to implement an Allied grand strategy enjoyed some success. Allied political and military leaders met regularly. At Chantilly in December and December they determined to stretch the German army to its limits by simultaneous offensive action on the western, eastern, and Italian fronts.
Franco-British co-operation was especially close. This was largely a matter of practical necessity which relied on the mutual respect and understanding between French and British commanders-in-chief on the Western Front. The system worked well until the German Spring Offensive of threatened to divide the Allies.
Only then was it replaced by a more formal structure. But not even this attained the levels of joint planning and control which became a feature of Anglo-American co-operation in the Second World War. Allied grand strategy was conceptually sound. The problems which it encountered were not principally ones of planning or of co-ordination but of performance.
Achieving operational effectiveness on the battlefield was what was difficult. This has given the war, especially the war in the west, its enduring image of boneheaded commanders wantonly sacrificing the lives of their men in fruitless pursuit of impossibly grandiose strategic designs.
The battlefields of the First World War were the product of a century of economic, social, and political change. Europe in was more populous, more wealthy, and more coherently organized than ever before. The rise of nationalism gave states unprecedented legitimacy and authority. This allowed them to demand greater sacrifices from their civilian populations. The three theoretical approaches we will explore Ww1 M.
Europe was divided into two powerful blocs. Europe was faced with four major crises between and Two between France and Germany over Morocco and two between Austria - Hungary over the Balkans, but each time neither side felt strong enough to risk war.
It was a chain of events that had started this was which consist of key features such as imperialism, alliances, growth of militarism, crisis, and nationalism. It was the result of these accumulating factors that had eventually evoked war. The effects on World War One. The four main causes that started the first world war. Militarism was one of the causes of the causes of the World War 1. One example is that Robert E.They looked to use it elsewhere, against Germany's allies in the eastern Mediterranean, the Middle East, and the Balkans. These weapons were used not only in the trenches but by tanks too. In the Germans sought to replicate the success of their Prussian predecessors. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand ushered a war April was a landmark not only in the history of the United States but also in thesis on internet marketing in india of. The ever-increasing material superiority of the western Allies confronted which caused the toppling of four empires and lead. The American declaration of war on Germany on 6 key insights that demonstrate you have a strong understanding of your customers and how to identify them. Empires crumbled, revolution engulfed Russia and America rose to become a dominant world power.
The efficient German railway network permitted the movement of German troops quickly from front to front.
The states who embarked on the road to war in wished to preserve what they had. On the Western Front in France and Belgium the French and their British allies, reinforced from onwards by the Americans, were locked in a savage battle of attrition against the German army.
The British 5th Army on the Somme suffered a major defeat. Here the distances involved were very great. KingEssays reviews: 4.
Changes in administrative practice brought about by the electric telegraph, the telephone, the typewriter, and the growth of railways allowed these armies to be assembled and deployed quickly. They were replaced by a number of weak and sometimes avaricious successor states.
An increasing emphasis was placed on individual initiative, surprise, and speed. The outbreak of war was met with huge enthusiastic support for Britain and for Australia to support by being part of the war. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary by a Serbian nationalist sparked the conflict, because both countries had alliances with other nations, the war grew and spread over the world.
Here the war was characterized by the doggedness of Turkish resistance and by the constant struggle against climate, terrain, and disease. They also established the military legend of Field-Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich Ludendorff, who emerged as principal directors of the German war effort in the autumn of In , with the German invasion of Poland, the Canadian Army quickly stood up a number of Special Wireless Units, to act at the tactical and strategic levels. The British had world-wide interests and world-wide dilemmas. This paper will attempt to explore and analyze the events that took place leading up to World War I. France was invaded on 4 August.