The Military Dimension of the First World War Part III

The Military Dimension of the First World War Part III

Despite the victory over Romania and the repulsion of all attacks, the situation of the Central Powers was serious at the end of 1916. The 1914 British remote blockade in the North Sea and the Canal began to take effect (famine in Germany, “turnip winter” 1916/17). The Danube Monarchy was shaken by the internal opposition of the Slavs and the death of Emperor Franz Joseph I (November 21);

Attempts by his successor, Charles I , to achieve a separate peace (Sixtus affair) resulted in alienation from Germany. In the German Reich the dispute over the war aims burst the national united front of the political parties; the proclamation of a Kingdom of Poland (November 5th) did not bring the hoped-for Polish support. The peace offer of the Central Powers (December 12th) was rejected by the Entente; A peace note (December 18) by American President W. Wilson , who advocated a “peace without victory”, was also ineffective. Hindenburg and Ludendorff called for the war to continue the use of all civilian forces to stimulate the armaments industry and the food industry (Hindenburg program, patriotic relief service).

The western and eastern fronts in 1917 and the collapse of Russia: In anticipation of a new major offensive by the Allies in the Somme area, the front was withdrawn in mid-March into the heavily developed “Siegfriedstellung” (rear positioning system in the area west of Lille to Damenweg).

The Allies then attacked in April and May with extreme use of forces and materials on the Aisne and Champagne as well as Arras, but were repulsed in mobile defense. The British were also unable to achieve greater success in the Battle of Flanders (July 31st – November).

Your gain in terrain using new armored vehicles in the on November 20. The tank battle that had begun at Cambrai was lost again in the German counterattack (late November / early December).

In Russia on March 12th. (according to the Julian calendar February 27th) the February Revolution, Tsar Nicholas II thanked on March 15th. away.

At the urging of the Entente, the new Provisional Government decided to launch an offensive (Kerensky offensive), which took place on July 1st. began and partially pushed back the Austro-Hungarian front in Galicia. The counterattack of the allies at Tarnopol (July 19) displaced the Russians from eastern Galicia and Bukovina; the conquest of Riga (3.9.) and the Baltic islands (Ösel, Dagö, Moon, 12. – 21.10.) completed their military defeat. With the October Revolution came on November 7th. (according to the Julian calendar October 25th) the Bolsheviks to power. They closed on December 5th and 15th. Armistice and occurred on December 22nd. entered into peace negotiations which, however, only led to the “dictated peace” of Brest-Litovsk after the German invasion of Livonia and Estonia and the occupation of the Ukraine on March 3, 1918. The state of war with Romania ended on May 7th, 1918 with the Peace of Bucharest. Finland concluded a separate peace with the German Reich on March 7, 1918 and then expelled the Bolsheviks with the help of German troops under General R. Graf von Goltz .

The fighting against Italy, Macedonia and Turkey in 1917: the situation on the Isonzo front was extremely tense after further Italian attacks in spring and August / September 1917. German and Austro-Hungarian forces under General O. von Below intervened on October 24th for relief. at the upper Isonzo. They broke through the Italian position at Flitsch-Tolmein, defeated the Italians at Udine (October 28th – November 3rd) and threw them back behind the Piave. The German-Bulgarian front in Macedonia defied all attacks by the Allies, which Greece faced after the abdication of King Constantine I on June 27th. connected. In Iraq, the British pushed the Turks back over Baghdad in March. A British offensive on Palestine was carried out on December 10th. for the capture of Jerusalem.

According to, the situation in 1917 and the German offensive in 1918: the pressure on the Central Powers was relieved by the collapse of Russia and the victory in northern Italy. On the other hand, the unrestricted submarine war that began in Germany on February 1, 1917 after serious political conflicts did not have the hoped-for decisive effect, but led to the USA entering the war (April 6). The deterioration in the food and raw material situation, signs of disintegration in the Danube monarchy, the internal political tension in Germany that had grown due to the peace resolution of the Reichstag (July 19) and the expected intervention of American troops required an early end to the war. The Supreme Army Command decided to seek a military decision through a major offensive in the west. The on March 21st The attack initiated in 1918 between Arras and La Fère in a width of 70 km was, after great initial success, on April 4th. stopped east of Amiens; a on 9.4. The beginning attack on both sides of Armentières also came to a halt after storming the Kemmelberg (April 25). In order to withdraw the opposing reserves from Flanders, on May 27th. another great attack between Soissons and Reims; it led in a few days to the Marne at Château-Thierry, but remained with the right wing on June 13th. stuck in front of Compiègne and Villers-Cotterêts. Other German offensives between Montdidier and Noyon (June 9-14) as well as on the Marne and Champagne (July 15-17) also failed.

Military Dimension of the First World War 3

Comments are closed.