Major Battles and Events • Marne - 1914-North of Paris the French stop the German advance and ruins the Schlieffen Plan. • After this point the war becomes a stalemate and they dig into the Trenches. • The front lines change little for the rest of the war. • Christmas Truce- 1914- Christmas Eve the soldiers on the front hold up candles and sing Christmas Carols. • On Christmas day they agreed not to fight and came out of their ditches to meet in the middle and hold funeral services and bury the dead. • Verdun- 1916- Place of Legendary battles, and importance, city surrounded by underground tunnels. • German offensive goal to kill (attrition) not for land, to get other side to surrender because of high body count. • Started with a heavy artillery attack, French and Germany forces clash after 9 months and 1 million dead or wounded nothing is accomplished.
Somme - 1916- North of Somme- 30 miles where the British try to break the German lines. • Fought at same time as Verdun in attempt to relieve pressure. • Artillery bombardment for 7 days believed to destroy Germans. • When the British advances across no mans land they are slaughtered 20,000 in one day. • 1 million dead or wounded in six months, 6 miles changed hands • Gallipoli- The British (Australians) assault on a Turkish peninsula in an attempt to open the strait to the Black Sea and their ally the Russians for re-supply. • British are unable to breach the high cliff and dig in at the beaches and get stuck in a stalemate. • Lost 250,000 men and withdrew in Jan. 1916. • Genocide- mass murder of a group usually ethnic based. Muslim Turks force Christian Armenians in the north by the Russian border to leave their homes and then murdered them or left them to starve in the desert. 500,000 die
Other Fronts • Western Front- 475 miles of trenches from Swiss border through France and Belgium to the Atlantic Ocean. • Italian Front- Austria- Hungary fights Italy along the northern border, they break through Italian lines late 1917- • Battle of Caporetto- but are pushed back with the help of the Allies • Balkan Front-Austria- Hungary overruns Serbia and fights the Allies along the border of Greece. • Fighting with the Turks at Gallipoli over the water ways to the black sea. • Rumania joins in with Allies, also overran. • Eastern Front- After Battle of Tannenberg Russia continues to be beaten, Germans make their way into Russia. • At first Russia does well against Austria but 1915 continues to be driven back into Russia by Austria also. • Russian army is poorly equipped, not enough food, clothing, weapons, moral is very low.
Overview • 65 million combatants from 30 countries representing every continent. • 29 million become casualties. • Naval battles around the world and land battles in Europe, Africa, and Asia. • Triple Alliance = Germany, Austria, Italy • +Turkey + Bulgaria - Italy = Central Powers • Entente Cordiale = Britain, France • + Russia + Italy + (later) US = Allied Powers • Revolutionary technology, but evolutionary tactics(?)
3 How Did the War Become a Global Conflict? EASTERN EUROPE SOUTHERN EUROPE In 1915, Bulgaria joined the Central Powers and helped crush Serbia. In August 1914, Russian armies pushed into eastern Germany. After Russia was defeated in the battle of Tannenburg, armies in the east fought on Russian soil. OUTSIDE EUROPE THE COLONIES Japan, allied with Britain, tried to impose a protectorate on China. The Ottoman empire joined the Central Powers in 1914. Arab nationalists revolted against Ottoman rule. The Allies overran German colonies in Africa and Asia. The great powers turned to their own colonies for troops, laborers, and supplies.
1914 – 1915 Illusions and Stalemate • Many Europeans were excited about war • “Defend yourself against the aggressors” • Domestic differences were put aside
1914 – 1915 Illusions and Stalemate • War would be over in a few weeks • Ignored the length and brutality of the American Civil War (prototype to World War I)
1914 – 1915 Illusions and Stalemate • Belief that Modern industrial war could not be conducted for more than a few months • “Home by Christmas”
1914 • June 28, 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is assassinated in Sarajevo. • July 28 Austria-Hungary declares war on Russia. • August 1 Germany declares war on Russia. • August 3 Germany declares war on France. • August 4 Great Britain declares war on Germany. • August 4 Germany invades neutral Belgium. • August 26-30 German army, led by Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg, achieves its greatest victory of the war on the Eastern front against Russia at the Battle of Tannenberg. • September 5-10 First Battle of the Marne halts German invasion in France. • September 15 First trenches of the Western front are dug.
“Belgium is a country, not a road” • King Albert I of Belgium denied permission • August 2, 1914 Germany declared war on France • Why??? • The Schlieffen Plan! • August 4, 1914 Great Britain declared war on Germany for violating Belgian neutrality
The Powers Prepare for WarJuly 23 – August 3, 1914 June 28, 1914 Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand July 5-6, 1914 Germany supports Austria-Hungary July 28, 1914 Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia July 31, 1914 German forces begin to mobilize August 1, 1914 Germany declares war on Russia & France With Russia mobilizing, Germany has no choice but to demand an immediate halt or to declare war before anyone else can.Russia refuses to stop it mobilization and within hours on August 1, 1914 Germany is at war with Russia.Kaiser Wilhelm II needs no excuse to declare war on France and does so two days later on August 3. This sets up the first stage of the "Schlieffen Plan".
The Schlieffen Plan • Invade western front 1st • After defeating France concentrate on the Eastern front • Avoid fighting a 2 front war
Schlieffen Plan • Germans want to finish off French before Russia is ready to fight. • Germans believe French will immediately try to retake Alsace-Lorraine. • Original plan called for economy of force on the left while heavily weighting the right flank • Von Moltke revised and distributed forces more evenly across the front. • Plan failed when Germans were held up by Belgians, then stopped by French and British at the Battle of the Marne. • Russians also mobilized more quickly than expected.
German Aggression Leads the WayThe Outbreak of War (1914) • Germany had prepared a battle-plan well in advance of the outbreak of war & used the Russian mobilization as an excuse to launch their attack • THE SCHLIEFFEN PLAN • (Germany’s 2-Part Plan for the War) • Attack France thru NEUTRAL Belgium to avoid forts along the French-German border (defeat France in a matter of weeks) • Reverse course and attack Russia before it was fully mobilized for war • The “Offensive” strategy & attack thru Belgium will be critical in Germany being blamed for “starting” WWI The Schlieffen Plan 1914
The Schlieffen Plan’s Destructive Nature • Germany made vast encircling movement through Belgium to enter Paris • Underestimated speed of the British mobilization • Quickly sent troops to France
The Schlieffen Plan’s Destructive Nature • Sept 6-10, 1914 • Battle of Marne • Stopped the Germans but French troops were exhausted • Both sides dug trenches for shelter STALEMATE
The German AttackAugust 4, 1914 August 4, 1914 German forces invade neutral Belgium August 26-30, 1914 Battle of Tannenberg October-November, 1914 First Battle of Ypres December 25, 1914 Unofficial Christmas Truce on the Western Front The French thought that Germany's advance into Belgium was a diversion. Most of the French army moved northeast to attack Germany through the lost provinces of Alsace and Lorraine. The first major battle on the Eastern front occurred when German forces surrounded and destroyed the Russian army at the Battle of Tannenberg. This August 1914 battle was Germany's greatest victory of the war.
First Battle of the MarneSeptember 5 -10, 1914 German plans for the Western Front began to fall apart in September of 1914. As the German right flank drove deeper, it was separated from the rest of the invading German force. This made it vulnerable and forced the Germans pulled up twenty-five miles short of Paris. This was France’s chance to attack. What followed was the First Battle of the Marne where the German advance was stopped
The German army quickly advanced through northern France and after only one month of fighting were barely 25 miles from Paris. • The French, however, would not give up. The Aftermath • The French paid a heavy price, as countless red-coated French troops had fallen in the battle. • Despite the loss of life, it helped the Allies by giving Russia more time to mobilize for war. • Once Russia mobilized, Germany had to pull some of its troops out of France and send them to fight Russia on the Eastern Front, which stretched from the Black Sea to the Baltic Sea. The Battle • The French launched a counterattack along the Marne River east of Paris on September 7, 1914. • This battle became known as the First Battle of the Marne. • 2 million men fought on a battle-front that stretched 125 miles. • After five days and 250,000 deaths, the French had rallied and pushed the Germans back some 40 miles. The First Battle of the Marne
BATTLE OF THE MARNE • The 1st Battle of Marne - The First World War - Sept 1914 • Germans continued their push towards Paris. This was part of the Schlieffen Plan • British and French troops retreated to positions south of the Seine and Marne rivers. French 6th Army launched a counter attack. • French managed to save Paris. (Reinforcements were sent in taxi's from Paris.)
BATTLE OF THE MARNE • Around 600 taxis used to transport 6,000 French troops to battle. • Over 2 million troops fought in First Battle of the Marne. • 260,000 ALLIED CASUALTIES • 250,000 GERMAN CASUALTIES
Battle of the Marne Sept.-Nov. 1914 • Germans encounter heavy • resistance at the Marne River • French & Germans dig • defensive trenches • Halts German offensive
A Massive “Meat Grinder”: The Western Front • Early Battles of the War --The Battle of the Marne (September 6, 1914) • Immovable front for two and a half years • Trench warfare --25,000 miles of trenches • Cavalry gives way to infantry
Eastern Front of the great war had a profound impact on the remainder of the 20th century • Grim statistics for the Eastern war: • more than three-million men dead, • more than nine-million men wounded, • and every major country which participated lost its form of government. • Russia collapsed completely and catastrophically
State of the Russian Army • Russian Army of World War One has become notorious for its reputation as a large, ill-equipped force • Russia's Imperial Troops were actually well trained and equipped • Real problem: inadequate transportation infrastructure, which was not able to supply and maintain Russian field formations at wartime establishments, and poor command decisions • Equipment: the average Russian soldier in the 1st and 2nd Line had sidearms, rifles and machine guns equal to his German counterparts, and probably superior to the Austrians • standard Russian Field Guns, the 76.2 mm and 122 mm, were robust enough to be used in World War Two and still be in reserve units in the 1980's
Pre-War Decisions • Russian Army High Command had maintained a lively pre-war debate over what action would be taken in case of war with Germany • by 1910 it was decided to launch major offensive operations immediately upon the outbreak of any war • decision catered to the "spirit of the offensive" which then pervaded European military thought, and as a result most Russian fortress units were deactivated • age-old Russian strategy of defense-in-depth supported by counteroffensives was cast aside • would exact a brutal toll in Russian lives, which in turn helped to spur later unrest
Austria-Hungary • Austro-Hungarian Army of 1914 had been starved of proper equipment and resources throughout the pre-war period • composed of an increasingly nationalistic soldiery, three-quarters of whom were from Slavic recruiting districts • these troops proved to be reluctant to follow Austrian officers into combat against their Russian brethren • became a major liability, especially after the enormous losses suffered during the first year of war.
Germany on the East • main German armies in the East operated with characteristic efficiency • troops enjoyed the luxury of fighting the battles of maneuver for which they had been trained • Russian front saw the rise of the great German "artillery virtuosos" of the war like Lieutenant Colonel Georg Bruchmüller • Bruchmüller orchestrated artillery firepower with ferocious efficiency • undertook aggressive training measures to assure near perfect coordination between the artillery and infantry branches of the army
Conduct of War • German attack in the West • French counter-attack but are pushed back • Russian speed of mobilization surprised Germans so Germany was forced to move some troops to the Eastern front • Stagnation and trench warfare in the West
Opening the War on the Eastern Front • Eastern half of the Great War began on August 17, 1914 w/ the Battles of Stalluponen and Gumbinnen • Russian General Pavel Rennenkampf's First Army invaded Eastern Prussia in a full scale offensive • Two days later, General Alexander Samsonov's Second Army attacked around the right flank of the German Eighth Army commanded by General Friedrich von Prittwitz • This was achieved despite the fact that Second Army was fighting at two-thirds strength due to the slow Russian mobilization. • Prittwitz, certain that he could not hold against the two armies facing him, informed high command that he intended to withdraw to the Vistula River, abandoning most of East Prussia including Königsberg
Battle of Tannenberg • Prittwitz was relieved of duty and replaced by Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg and his new Chief-of-Staff, Erich Ludendorf. • Along with the staff at East Prussian Army Headquarters, they planned a counteroffensive against the Russians. • By August 27 they had already laid the plans and fallen on Samsonov's weak Army, taking it in both flanks in a near perfect double envelopment • The Battle of Tannenberg ended by August 30 when Samsonov's entire command disintegrated at a cost of 92,000 captured and tens of thousands of other casualties.
Battle of Tannenberg May-August 1914 • Germans & Austrians push Russians • out of East Prussia & Carpathian Mts. • Russians retreat beyond Brest-Litovsk, • Poland. • Russia--one million killed or wounded; • one million captured.
Battle of the Masurian Lakes • German forces under General August Mackensen defeated Rennenkampf at the Battle of Masurian Lakes within a week • the Russians lost another 100,000 casualties • inadequate logistic support hampered Russian movement and supply. • against an industrialized opponent, these shortcomings quickly assumed catastrophic proportions.
The Austrians Attack… • In the south of Poland, Austrian Chief-of-Staff Conrad von Hoetzendorf launched his own attack northward toward Warsaw • Russia had concentrated four fully supplied armies opposite the 39 Divisions of Austrian troops, and on August 30 they opened their offensive • third week in September: Hoetzendorf ordered a general retreat. • province of Galicia was abandoned by the Austrians at a cost of over 130,000 casualties! • year ended with limited attacks toward Warsaw by Mackensen and Russian probing assaults into the Carpathian passes.
The Winter War of 1914-1915 • Winter 1914-15: von Hoetzendorf appealed to the Germans to support an offensive he hoped would force the Russians off the Carpathian Mountains • German senior command agreed on a thrust deep into Russian lines out of East Prussia • resulting "winter war" inflicted 90,000 casualties on the Russians, but petered out when the Austrian forces to the south utterly failed to dislodged the Russians. • Austria suffered another embarrassing defeat, and even lost control of Dukla Pass, a prime route onto the Hungarian plains • severe weather and their unfortunate supply situation prevented the Russians from moving into Austria-Hungary
German Control • May 1915: Germans took over command of the Eastern Front • used their units to support the fragmented Austrian formations • next offensive came on May 1, with a sharp attack on the Russian lines at Gorlice • offensive penetrated more than two-hundred miles in two weeks • triggered the collapse of the entire Russian Southern Front • German and Austrian formations pushed northward capturing Warsaw in August • September: Gen. Max von Gallwitz' Twelfth Army attacked into the Courland toward Riga • Russian front line fell apart • strongholds of Novo-Georgiesk and Brest-Litovsk fell to the Germans • Took until the end of September for the Russian line to re-form
The Eastern Front • Russian army moved into Eastern Germany on August 30, 1914 • Defeated • The Austrians kicked out of Serbia • Italians attacked Austria in 1915 • G. came to Austrian aid and pushed Russians back 300 miles into own territory
Nicholas Takes Command • Russian Tsar Nicholas intervened and assumed personal command of the army • decision would have grave consequences. • territory captured by the Central Powers to date included all of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. • two million Russian troops were lost during the course of the year, half of them prisoners • Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary lost a total of nearly one-million
Russia’s Response • next major offensive undertaken by Russian General Alexi Brusilov • preparations far superior to those undertaken by previous senior officers • Russian units finally trained to employ shock troops followed up by mutually supporting open order formations • Western Allied aid and Russian production replaced all equipment losses from the previous year • competing egos of commanders and the inefficient supply system deadened any spectacular successes. • June 1916: Brusilov's four armies, the Eighth, Eleventh, Seventh and Ninth poised along the Galician border facing the Austrian Army • June 4th: Russians attacked and immediately penetrated deep into Austrian positions, capturing 13,000 prisoners on the first day • W/in two months, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in danger of falling
A Romanian Whoopsy • Romania entered the war on the side of the allies • invaded Transylvania instead of preparing an adequate defense. • mistake gave the Germans the opening they needed • ensuing counter-offensive achieved the total collapse of Romania to the Central Powers • Germany and Austria gained control of vast coal and wheat fields, but added over 200 miles of front to their lines
Brusilov’s Offensive • Brusilov urged by St. Petersburg to continue his summer gains even though the Russians had suffered horrible casualties • September: offensive was continued without the same elegance as earlier • casualties climbed toward the one-million mark. • offensive finally wound down after the seizure of Bukovina and Galicia • accomplishments brought Russia just as many casualties as their defeats of the previous year • discipline began to slide downward
Troubles All Round… • Russian industry proved unable to continue manufacturing new equipment in sufficient quantities to replace staggering losses, especially in small arms and ammunition. • Late 1916: several nations across Europe began to suffer from mutinies and revolts as troops became disillusioned • Russia slowly edged toward open revolt • dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary edged toward complete dissolution.