The nature of the first world war
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The Nature of the First World War PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Nature of the First World War. 1914-1918. Schlieffen Plan. Avoid a two front war Attack one at a time 6 weeks to take France Austria will hold off Russia Attack north through Belgium and circle around Paris Trap the French against the Alps. Early Battles of WW1.

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The Nature of the First World War

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The Nature of the First World War


Schlieffen Plan

  • Avoid a two front war

  • Attack one at a time

  • 6 weeks to take France

  • Austria will hold off Russia

  • Attack north through Belgium and circle around Paris

  • Trap the French against the Alps

Early Battles of WW1

  • Battle of the Marne – stops the Schlieffen Plan in it’s tracks. Will cause the German Army to retreat to a defensive position. Trench Warfare will ensue

  • Battle of Ypres – Germans will try to drive the British back to seize the port of Calais. Famous for Flanders Fields, and gas attacks from both sides

  • Battle of Tannenberg – Eastern Front. An outnumbered German Army will capture two Russian armies with little trouble (Bad news for Russia


  • Gallipoli (1915) – b\c of stalemate on the Western Front the British will try to open a front in the Balkans. Will suffer massive casualties and lead to the firing of the British Minister of Defense, Winston Churchill.

Trench Warfare

  • Machine guns and Heavy artillery require soldiers to take cover

  • 14 000 miles of trenches will be dug on a 750 mile front

  • The area between them would be referred to as No Mans Land

  • Western Front would be known as a war with out Flanks


  • The Front line would be made up of 4 lines of defenses with communication trenches connecting them

  • Barbed wire would be lined in front of them

  • Dugouts were dug into them

  • Sappers would dig tunnels into no mans land and set off massive explosions

Technology and the Change in Warfare

  • Mass production (could supply million man armies)

  • Trains and steamships could mass transport soldiers and goods

  • Communication – Radio(still relied on wires) and telephone

  • Machine guns, rifles that fire 1000 yards, heavy artillery (rifled 15-20 miles) creates a death zone between enemy lines.

  • War needs to take on a defensive posture. The weapons are too good

More Trenches


New Weapons

The Machine Gun

Heavy Artillery




Poison Gas (Mustard and Chlorine)

Total War

  • All these European powers went all in

  • Losing could not be an option b\c it would mean ruin

  • The Stalemate on the Western Front meant no one could win a decisive victory

  • Governments turned to their populations

  • Total War means the total resources of society are committed to the fighting effort

  • Gov’t would ration and conscript/draft soldiers into military service

  • Income tax was introduced in Canada to help pay the cost of the war

  • 6 million went to war in 1914, and 65 million by the end

Propaganda- systematic effort to spread opinions or beliefs especially by distorting the truth

Promises and Deception

  • 1915 the secret Treaty of London promised Austrian territory (Balkans) to Italy if they switched sides

  • 1917 Balfour Declaration promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine to win Jewish support

  • Britain coaxed Arab leaders into revolt by promising to liberate them from the Turks

  • 1917 – Germany sneaks Vladimir Lenin into Russia to start a Revolution

Unrestricted Naval Warfare

  • United States industrial might was supplying the British and French war effort

  • British navy defeated the German navy at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and was choking off German supply lines

  • German high command declares the Waters around Europe a battle ground and any ship carry supplies to England or France is to be sunk

  • The United States will declare war on Germany

Late Battles

  • 1916 – Jutland: the show down between the German and British navies. Germany realized how quickly they could have lost their fleet that cost billions of dollars. They will resort to their U-Boats

  • 1916 – Verdun: Symbol of French military glory. 1 million German shells bombing seven French forts. 280 000 Ger. And 315 000 French and the Germans gain 7 km.

The Battle of the Somme

  • 1916 – Counter the Ger. Offensive

  • July 1st 748 of the Newfoundland Reg. will be lost at Beaumont Hamel

  • 60 000 British Casualties on the first day

  • 450 000 Ger. And 420 000 British Casualties for 10 km of ground


  • April 9th 1917 – first offensive lead and fought by Canadians

  • Arthur Currie (School Teacher) commands

  • Creeping Barrage – Use the artillery as a shield to protect infantry

  • Every one knew their job and was on a strict time line

  • Counter Battery took German Artillery out of the game (Sound ranging and flash spotting)

More Vimy

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