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WWI Notes 3: Progresses + Alternative Fronts

WWI Notes 3: Progresses + Alternative Fronts. World Wars Hamer February 9-11, 2011. To cover today: Progression of the Eastern Front Southern Front Gallipoli Italy Ottoman Empire African Fronts. The Eastern Front. Mythology of the Eastern Front.

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WWI Notes 3: Progresses + Alternative Fronts

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  1. WWI Notes 3: Progresses + Alternative Fronts World Wars Hamer February 9-11, 2011

  2. To cover today: • Progression of the Eastern Front • Southern Front • Gallipoli • Italy • Ottoman Empire • African Fronts

  3. The Eastern Front

  4. Mythology of the Eastern Front • Not as imprinted on popular memory as the Western Front • 1931 Winston Churchill wrote a book on the Eastern Front called The Unknown War

  5. Generalities of the Eastern Front • Different from the Western Front: • Greater mobility – not as many trenches • Enormous Scale • Outcome – Central Powers victorious • Originally Central Powers could not agree on priorities until Germany took over the military decisions for Austria-Hungary

  6. Initial Russian Victories • Initially the Russian forces invaded the East Prussia region of Germany • Russia moved early to alleviate pressure from the French in 1914 • Russia was not really ready • Russian forces outnumbered German 2 to 1 • German solution: • Brought in Colonel-General Paul von Hindenburg and Chief of Staff Major-General Erich Ludendorff to take over

  7. Tide Turns for Germany • Germans decided to attack against the Russian Warsaw army while only a few of the German cavalry troops guarded against the Russian Vilna army • Germans won Battle of TannenbergAugust 26-30, 1914 • Germans intercepted Russian un-coded communications • Poor communication between 2 Russian armies • 92,000 Russian prisoners taken • Pushed back the Vilna army in mid-September

  8. Map 1

  9. German Eastern Front Leaders • Hindenburg and Ludendorff: “Heroes of Tannenberg” • Heroes in a time of losses on Western Front • Hindenburg made Supreme Commander in East on November 1, 1914 • Basically became war dictators of Germany by 1916

  10. 1915 on the Eastern Front • Germany seized an area the size of France from Russia including: • Poland • Lithuania • Latvia • Russian forces pushed back 300 miles; retreated with scorched earth • Russians now had 2.5 million casualties (dead, wounded, or prisoners) • Tsar Nicholas II took over the army…bad call • Front stabilized by Fall and the Germans turned back to the Western Front

  11. Occupied Territory • The land seized by Germany had to be occupied – took a large effort: • Lands were demolished by war • Germans didn’t know much about the people • Poland given a civil Government • North of Poland was a military state called OberOst

  12. Austria Hungary • Split forces: one group in Russia, one in Serbia, one going back and forth • Failed a lot early on • More than 1 million casualties in 1914 • Winter of 1914-1915 fought with the Russians in the Carpathian Mountains • Germany had to come in and help A-H win some battles

  13. Brusilov Offensive • Russians launch a major offensive led by General Brusilov during June - August 1916 • Partly to draw Germany away from Verdun • Attacked the region where Germany and A-H joined • Southern areas took 250,000 A-H prisoners • Successes convinced Romania to join the allies…bad timing! • Last major success for Russia because northern armies didn’t support them – 1 million losses for Brusilov’s forces

  14. Map 1

  15. Central Powers Winning by 1917 • Bulgaria was impressed enough to join the Central Powers on September 6, 1915 • Winter of 1915: German, A-H, and Bulgarian armies overran Serbia • December of 1916: conquered Romania

  16. Russia Crumbles • Government faced mini-revolution in 1905 • Tsar taking over army made him to blame for losses • Tsar was overthrown and army crumbled • Russia was out of the war by the end of 1917 • Signed Treaty of Brest-Litovsk March 3, 1918

  17. Treaty of Brest-Litovsk • Signed by the Bolsheviks who just wanted out of the war • In all, the treaty took away a quarter of Russia's population, a quarter of its industry and nine-tenths of its coal mines (according to Wikipedia)

  18. The Southern Fronts

  19. Turkish Entry into WWI • Secret treaty joined Turkey with the Central Powers August 2, 1914 • Young Turk movement sympathized with and was influenced by Germany • Germans and Turks quickly shell the Russian port of Odessa with 2 German battleships given to Turkey on October 1914 • Goebenand Breslau

  20. Russia and the Ottoman Empire • Turkey attacks Russia through the Caucuses in the winter of 1914-1915 • Wanted to have a new Pan-Turanian Empire • Lost badly, many froze to death, only 13% of the Turkish force survived • Russia moved down from the Caucuses into Ottoman Empire and seen as liberators by some ethnic minorities, like the Armenians…

  21. Ottoman Empire in Egypt • Turks attack the Suez Canal • Important for Allied shipping; especially between England and India • Turkish Sultan declares a Jihad on November 14, 1914 in hopes to incite Muslims under Allied rule against the Allies The Suez Canal

  22. MAP 2

  23. Straits of Dardanelles • Joins the Black Sea with the Mediterranean • Important to Russia because 1/3 of their exports went through the Dardanelles • England promised the Dardanelles to Russia – change in former policy

  24. Gallipoli Campaign • Aims: open the Dardanelles to relieve Russia, knock the Ottomans from the war, and maybe open a backdoor to attack A-H • Plan: land in Gallipoli (peninsula at the southern end of the Dardanelles), occupy Constantinople, and take over

  25. MAP 2

  26. Gallipoli Campaign • Those in favor:“Easterners” – those who thought that another front was the way to win the war • Like Winston Churchill (1st Lord of the Admiralty) • Pros: only strategic plan of the war • Cons: tried to force the Straits by battleship, these failed and alerted the Turks to an attack; no real planning for after landing

  27. Gallipoli Invasion • Began April 25, 1915 • French, British, and Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops all landed

  28. Gallipoli Invasion • Problems – Turks had high ground and Allied troops were on the beaches • Created trench warfare and deadlock of the Western Front in the Ottoman Empire • Showed advantages of the defensive side

  29. Allied Failure at Gallipoli • British Commander Hamilton renewed assault with new landings to the North in August 1915 • These failed as well and troops were withdrawn secretly throughout December • Evacuation was successful and was completed by January 9, 1916 January 7, 1916 British Evacuees Note explosion of Turkish Shell

  30. Allied Failure at Gallipoli • 200,000 Allied soldiers died (ANZAC had 62% of casualties) • Founding experience of Australian and New Zealand identities • 1 million soldiers involved total • Churchill got blamed and lost his position • Western Front was now the only option

  31. Italy in WWI • Italy distanced itself from the Central Powers and the Triple Alliance at the outbreak of war • Instead – sacred egoism – a defense of Italy’s own interest • Led to a bidding war between the Central and Allied Powers to woo Italy • Allies won because Italy wanted A-H territory • Secret Treaty of London between Allies and Italy – April 26, 1915 • Promised ethnically Italian areas in A-H plus more land in Asia Minor • Italy declared war on May 23, 1915

  32. Italy in WWI • Not nearly as helpful as expected and would soon require Allied assistance • 2 Fronts opened against A-H with a million men total • Alpine regions to the North • Trieste to the East • 1916 took ½ million casualties

  33. Blue areas are initial areas of Italian conquest

  34. Map 3 Serbia

  35. Alpine Wars • Guns and artillery were hauled by pulleys • Called the “White War” by Italians • Rifles froze and soldiers threw rocks…

  36. Going Poorly for Italy • Fall of 1917 Germans reinforced A-H with soldiers (including Erwin Rommel!) • These troops attacked Italy in the Battle of Caporetto and the Italian lines broke • Italy lost ½ million casualties and 250,000 prisoners • After this Italy defended

  37. Serbia • Overrun by German, A-H, and Bulgarian armies in the winter of 1915

  38. Serbia • Allied expedition tried to help Serbia but was trapped in Salonika Greece • Huge Serbian retreat across the Albanian mountains and were evacuated by Allied navies • Serbia lost 1/6 of its population in this campaign Austrians executing Serbians 1917 and Serbian Retreat

  39. Salonika • Tried to help the Serbians by invading neutral Greece – ironic • Greek Prime Minister, Eleutherios Venizelos, helped the Allies and even though he was deposed, he fought to overthrow the king and eventually Greece joined the Allies in June 1917 • Allies unable to break through the Bulgarian lines to the north and ½ million Allied soldiers were stuck in Greece • “largest internment camp of the Central Powers”

  40. Map 3 Serbia

  41. Romania • Entered the war at a bad time • Romania was invaded a week after entering the war in September 1916 • Central Powers got Romanian oil and agricultural resources • British secret agents sabotaged some Romanian oil fields (set them on fire) before Central Powers could get to them • Romania lost 250,000 soldiers and 430,000 civilians in WWI – for a total of 9% of their population Falkenhayn’s cavalry entering Bucharest – December 6, 1916

  42. Results of the Southern Fronts • No backdoor into winning the war for the Allies • Solution would have to come elsewhere

  43. Colonial Fronts

  44. German Colonial Holdings - Africa • Germany’s African and Asian colonies were quickly attacked • German forces were quickly overrun in Africa: • Togo, Cameroon, German West Africa • German East Africa was really the only one that was able to defend itself • Askari (German colonial forces) plus German troops held out until the war ended in Europe against the British in Africa • 120,000 casualties from this though

  45. Map 4

  46. German Colonial Holdings - Asia • New Zealand, Australia, and Japan fought against German holdings in Asia • German protectorate in China – held out for 2 months against Japan • Japan used this to make imperialist gains in China • This freaked out America about Japan…

  47. Germany Loses its Colonies • Germany quickly lost its colonial holdings • Since they were already late to the game this was it for them • Would lead to bitterness about this in the interwar years

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