Skip Nav

Free History essays

Essays on First world war

❶It engendered in the young boy a love of history, which he read at university, later taking an MA and PhD in criminology and joining the police. 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.

Not what you're looking for?




Within each of these categories are ample sub-categories that can testify to the extent of forces that shaped the pre-war conditions throughout not just Europe but the entire world. World War One was a total war for many reasons: The Great War also brought to light the impact of globalization on the global economy and political enterprise.

Nationalism, imperialism, and militarism all played a part in shaping participation in World War One; the effects of which continue to reverberate. World War I Like All. National debt and veterans benefits for example drove a permanent increase in taxes, although these were not as high as during the war. The country's international economic position was also permanently affected. In general, it appears as if the war effort had a favorable impact on the U..

The devastating human and resource losses were offset by favorable economic factors. In this way, World War I changed the economic position of the United tates both permanently and favorably. Declaration of War with Germany,…… [Read More]. World War I Known at. Conscription From the beginning of the war, there had been some variation in the Canadian attitude toward the conflict.

Canada never questioned the legitimacy of the war and did not question the need for Canadian participation. There were differences of opinion, though, concerning how extensive the Canadian contribution should be. These variations affected the response to calls for enlistment and divided the country as the towns were more willing than the countryside, the prairies more willing than the Atlantic seaboard, and "it was observed that the proportion of enlistments achieved by any social group appeared to vary almost inversely to the length of its connection with Canada.

On the one hand, the ritish-born -- the new arrivals with a large proportion of unattached males of military age -- gave the highest percentage of their numbers to the armed services, and, on the other hand, the French Canadians unquestionably gave the…… [Read More]. Sonar esearch and Naval Warfare: One of those was sonar research, because it provided them with knowledge they would not have otherwise had Hackmann, Sonar is not perfect, but a great deal of work has gone into it since its creation, and that has helped it to become a more valuable tool for Naval operations.

Sonar is used for navigation, but also for communication and the detection of objects, primarily underwater Urick, There are two types of sonar: In active sonar, pings are sent out to search for other objects Hackmann, Passive sonar does not send out a signal, but only listens for the pings and signals of others Hackmann, Both have their place,…… [Read More].

The Second World War also helped the country to overcome the economic depression of the s as its wartime industrial production stimulated its economy. Number , December, On May 26, at http: The Constantinople Agreement followed by many more including the ykes Picot agreement over and again implemented covert agreements regarding lands that would go to each of the Allies.

After the war, France received Lebanon and yria even though yria herself preferred an American mandate 2 , and Britain received land that included Palestine, Israel, Transjordan, and Iraq 3. The indigenous people themselves were never consulted regarding whom they wished to control them, and colonization, consequently, prompted Arabic nationalism. Nationalism was, furthermore, created by the fact that the peace settlements imposed by the Allies after World War I broke up nation states and created others, confusing many who,…… [Read More].

As the mores of socialism began to take root in many parts of the continent, fascism emerged as a powerful counterpoint. For nations like Italy, Spain and Germany, the consequences of a sustained and devastating recession would be a coalescing of support behind strong, self-proclaimed and authoritarian leaders. Certainly, most notorious among them would be Adolph Hitler, whose Nazi party would first occupy Austria and Germany before ultimately pursuing a more global agenda.

However, for our discussion, the primary interest is the degree of success that the Nazi party had in ultimately penetrating Germany with its values, ideals and policies. As the discussion here will show, propaganda would play a central role in the ability of the Nazi party to garner support and generate the impassioned loyalty of the…… [Read More]. World War I And Related. All European nations suffered devastating postwar economic consequences, which further increased the reluctance to use military force to subdue Hitler.

The United States enjoyed a postwar boom, given that none of the battles had been waged upon its own territories. But the Republican-dominated Senate refused to allow the U. To become a member of the League of Nations, and the absence of strong American leadership made the League ineffective as a peacekeeping force.

Germany was also stripped of all of its colonies: Although they were 'older' nations, Germany and Russia were particularly politically unstable, as a result of the conditions spawned by orld ar I.

Despite its early exit from the ar, Russia's economy was undergoing an…… [Read More]. Americans might want to stay out of the war, but most of them cared which side won.

Ironically, because there were so many first- or second-generation immigrants from Germany and Ireland, the leaning was toward the Central Powers. However, "old-line Americans" mostly of ritish descent were sympathetic to the Allies.

Yet actions were to occur that made the final decision. In , the Germans sank the ritish Cunard liner Lusitania with Americans on board. The Americans were outraged and sent letters to no avail. Then U-boats sank a number of American ships and finally, the press published a secret telegram from the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman to the Mexican government proposing a German-Mexican offensive…… [Read More]. World War One Technological Developments.

Technology and Warfare World War I demonstrated a lucid transformation in how wars were fought. One of the most obvious technological developments of this time manifested via the weaponry used. Tanks and machine guns had a tremendous impact on the way that soldiers engaged in warfare and influenced what it meant to be a soldier.

Mass production and the development of flying machines also had a grave impact on modern warfare and the speed at which weapons and vehicles could be made and replaced. So much of World War I is connected to trench warfare: These trenches were enforced with barbed wire and stations for machine guns.

Trench warfare was directly responsible for how long the war went on, because it easily…… [Read More]. World War I On Politics. With a profound sense of the solemn and even tragical character of the step I am taking and of the grave responsibilities which it involves, but in unhesitating obedience to what I deem my constitutional duty, I advise that the Congress declare the recent course of the Imperial German Government to be in fact nothing less than war against the Government and people of the United States America is privileged to spend her blood and her might for the principles that gave her birth and happiness and the peace which she has treasured.

God helping her, she can do no other. With America's entry into the war, things suddenly changed as we were was no longer spectators. The response from the public was however not overwhelming since it had been…… [Read More]. I was delighted to find out the name of the originator of the term, British commander Archibald Wavell, since this is not something I knew before.

The review provides several pieces of interesting information, including the fact that the British, and particularly Kitchener, were largely ignorant about the social and cultural nature of the Middle East, making the British policy for this region largely ineffective at best and explosive at worst. Another piece of interesting information is the mistaken belief that a conspiracy was underway to undermine the position of the British in the Middle…… [Read More].

Close scrutiny of the military and political leaders of the First World War demonstrate how political leaders use methods like propaganda and ideology to forge their victories in the psyches of the people, helping military leaders achieve their goals by engendering trust, courage, and conviction in spite of tremendous hardships and even death.

Similarly, the victories of military leaders become critical for effective political campaigns. Military leadership requires a different set of tools and tactics than political leadership but both are crucial for desirable outcomes. One of the most successful political leaders during World War One ended up being Vladimir Lenin, who spearheaded the Bolshevik evolution and ensured the enduring success of Soviet policies.

Lenin's leadership skills far exceeded those of Czar Nicholas II, who failed to inspire the people of ussia in the way Lenin had, thus leading to the demise…… [Read More]. World War I Had Devastating. The soldier is simply unable to live with this corruption. Instead, the narrator continues as his voice by proxy, indicting the society that caused the war and created the atrocity the killed the solder.

Likewise, Graves is forever changed by his experience, losing the respect he used to hold for the values and norms of the society that caused the war and failed to understand the effect of the war upon all that was beautiful and young. In concussion, assoon's and Graves's work compare well as commentaries and criticisms upon what both authors appear to regard as the atrocity of war.

Both protagonists are severely traumatized by their experiences. In both works, this trauma does not remain unaddressed. Both authors provide their central characters with a mouthpiece to denote…… [Read More].

Nationalism Before World War I. It is the greatest and most atrocious war brawled till date. Causes There were a number of causes that initiated the brutality of World War I Major causes include imperialism, nationalism, materialism and alliance systems. However, the immediate cause of the beginning of the War was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the oyal Prince of Hungary and Bohemia.

As he was killed by a Serbian nationalist in June…… [Read More]. The conflict lasted through late , concluding with the treaty of Versailles. The war to end all wars, as it was commonly known, was dominated by trench warfare. Due to numerous advances in defense technology and a lack of tactical advances, both the Allied Nations and the Central Powers, were stymied by a lack of military advances. Not only was this the First war between so many great world powers, additionally this was the first war to be affected by, and ultimately fought, not only on the battle field but also in the press rooms.

Due to expansion in…… [Read More]. The treaty gave Germany much: The Western Front was calling. Leading up to the treaty, Imperial ussia had suffered devastating casualties and food shortages.

The Bolsheviks called for an end to the war on the Eastern Front, and Germany supported this call, allowing Lenin himself to return to…… [Read More]. Effect of WWI on Literature. WWI and Literature World War I was certainly one of the most productive periods in literature with millions of poets and authors emerging on the scene and each one contributing tremendously to the growth and progress of literature. It is quite strange that while WWI was a deeply disturbing and a largely horrifying experience for most countries, it inspired writers and poets around the globe and this resulted in significant growth of world literature.

In England alone, more than poets emerged during this period as Harvey elaborates: The claim that three million war poems were written in Germany in the first six months of hostilities is difficult to substantiate, but Catherine W.

For example, William Watson then…… [Read More]. Zionist Influence in World War I. The Forces of Nationalism, Imperialism and Militarism The forces of nationalism, imperialism and militarism irrevocably led to World War I in several ways.

Germany had become an industrialized nation, vying for economic power and rivaling the power of Britain Gilbert, Germany had also defeated France in the prior century in the Franco-Prussian War and taken the territories of Alsace and Lorraine. France wanted them back Bradberry, The only way for each of these countries to get what they wanted from Germany was to go to war: World War I The Causes and How America Joined the War The events that led to the causes of the first world war had its roots in the Balkans in late July and there are causes including political, territorial, and economic conflicts among the great European powers in the four decades leading up to the war.

Militarism, a complex web of alliances, imperialism and nationalism were some of the other causes that led up to the First World War. The root for the Second World War lay in the peace accords and the punishments that were meted out to the Germans after the First World War and the sense of humiliation and economic debacle following the end of the First World War.

The animosity between the Americans and the Germans started with the sinking of the Lusitania as she made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York in…… [Read More]. A Serbian nationalist called Gavrilo Princip murdered him as the heir apparent to the throne of Austria. However, other underlying factors that contributed to the rivalry between the Great Powers include the system of alliances, nationalism, domestic political factors, militarism, the Eastern question The Balkans , and the crises before The main powers of Europe before were: In nature, the alliances were defensive, and this implied that major political disputes inevitably would lead to large and not small conflicts.

Nationalism looked at eager people across the world who wanted to let the rest of the world know how strong and…… [Read More]. This paper reviews the relevant literature to assess the relative importance of diplomacy, imperialism, and nationalism in causing the Great ar , as well as to identify the major players leading Europe to war.

An analysis of why this "unwanted war" was greeted with such joy is followed by an assessment of whether this enthusiastic reaction to the outbreak of war was the consequence of domestic tension or simple patriotism and whether the victors' positions after the war reflect their wartime experiences. Finally, a summary of the research and important findings concerning the Great ar are presented in the conclusion. Analyzing World War I Dada.

Dada The literary and artistic movement known as Dada originated in the Swiss city of Zurich, at the time of the First World War, as a response to the War as well as the nationalism considered by many to have sparked the war. Inspired by Futurism, Cubism, Expressionism, Constructivism, and other innovative movements, Dadaism's output ranged from poetry, collage, and painting, to performance arts and sculptures Jones, ; Hulsenbeck, The movement's aesthetic, characterized by contempt for nationalistic and materialistic attitudes, strongly influenced artists in major cities across the globe, such as Berlin, Paris, Cologne, Hanover, and New York, and all ended up creating their own separate groups.

Surrealism led to Dadaism's degeneration. Beginnings Sickened by the nationalism that triggered WWI, Dadaists were constantly against the idea of authoritarianism, and all kinds of guiding ideologies or group leadership. Their main concern was revolting against the apparent middleclass…… [Read More].

Causes and Effects of World War I. Virtually, the whole of Europe was involved as well as countries and kingdoms from other regions of the globe Strachan 9. It should however be noted that the countries that engaged in this war entered the said war at different times and joined different alliances. Essentially, the war was between two alliances - the Central Powers and the Allies.

In addition to these two sides, there was a neutral group of nations that remained neutral to the war. However, some of the said groups later on started taking sides. Great ar orld ar One ultimately killed 35 million people -- this alone might have merited its being called "The Great ar," although to a large degree it was the astonishing way in which the deaths happened.

On the first day of the Battle of the Somme alone, Britain suffered almost sixty thousand casualties. The ten-month stalemate of the Battle of Verdun resulted in seven hundred thousand , dead, with no discernible tactical advance made by either side Tuchman The immediate causes of orld ar One were complicated but fairly straightforward.

Many of the long-standing political institutions of Europe were badly outmoded, in particular two of the oldest: Each of these institutions were the inheritors of previous large-scale imperial institutions the Holy Roman Empire and the Byzantine Empire accordingly which dated back nearly a thousand years -- and each was failing badly.

There are several historical details of America's involvement in the First and Second world wars and the critical role that this country played in the two wars. Studies on these historical events have mainly focused on examining the involvement of the United States in the wars, the results of the engagement, and its impact on the country's position nationally and globally. America's involvement in the two wars had a crucial impact on the development of the nation to its current state both from the home front and internationally.

America's Involvement in orld ar I: America's entrance and involvement in the First orld ar occurred on 6th April , breaking the nation's long isolation tradition. The nation had embraced a policy of isolation and neutrality when war was declared in Europe in This policy seemed to be the most appropriate approach since…… [Read More].

She vehemently protested against the war on political grounds, arguing that it actually represented a dissolution of the socialist principles which had largely animated Europe and large portions of Germany at the time. This fact is readily underscored by the notion that the author was imprisoned for the majority of World War I due to her protesting this war as violating many of the crucial tenets of socialism. The author's primary thesis is that large international conflicts such as World War I were fundamentally contrary to the ideologies of socialism, which strove to unite and empower the working class.

Luxemburg widely believed that World War I and the very conception of nationalism itself merely led to the disempowerment of socialists, and regulated the working class to its substandard living…… [Read More]. Imperialism and War WWI. First World War was the first-ever war that had brought great destruction and required greater involvement of many countries, most especially the European nations. Evidence of the impending world war started during the early 19th century, wherein colonization and strengthening of military power is the most prevalent activity of all European nations at that time.

The World War I was said to have many causes, although the most important and more popular cause discussed by historians today is that the First World War started because of the rising imperialism among competing European nations. The war had two competing groups, the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente. These groups were not originally formed as a triad; rather, each nation became affiliated with each other before and during…… [Read More].

Causes of World War One. Wilson was one of the massive supporters of this League of Nations as he felt it would help in being responsible in preventing subsequent wars. One major aspect of the treaty of Paris in was that it contained the Treaty of Versailles, one which has a major goal of disciplining Germany and forcing a sense of punishment and finality of Germany. For instance, Germany lost many colonies and investments in lieu of this treaty and their ability to forge a military was crippled and limited to a fraction of its original size; the German air force was also similarly crippled.

These intense punishments were a major aspect of the treaty and were something that did cause a deadlock at certain points in the negotiating process MacMillan, Causes of World War I. However, there was a lot more to what actually led to the outbreak of war than one political assassination.

The assassination of the Archduke was significant in that it represented a growing trend in the geo-political landscape of Europe: The Serbian assassin was a member of a Serbian nationalist group called the Black Hand. Sensing that budding discontent against the Austro-Hungarian regime could be politically costly, the Empire, still under Franz Josef goaded the Serbian nationalists first by issuing an ultimatum.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire wanted to gain total control over the entire Balkans: Serbia stood in its way, making it seem like a worthwhile maneuver to enter into war if need be.

Serbian nationalists, on the other hand, also believed it worthwhile to push back against the encroachment on…… [Read More]. The American federal government also began to seek to exercise its moral influence upon the rest of the world. However, this shift from American isolationism towards those in need within America, as well as the needs of individuals abroad, did not come with some national soul-searching.

The historian illiam E. Leuchtenburg writes in his text The Perils of Prosperity: The reception of this foreign propaganda can be measured in a number of different ways: Special attention will be given to pamphlets, posters, and other propaganda describing the invasion of Belgium by Germany, known colloquially as the ape of Belgium.

Historical context will comprise the background section of the research report. It is necessary to highlight the specific issues that the propaganda material were designed to address in the public consciousness. The propaganda material will be analyzed in terms of its symbolism and composition, and there will be some mention also of the prevailing artistic sensibilities that influenced the artwork -- which cannot be taken out of its historical context.

For example, many of the sketches used for the…… [Read More]. They were a large part of the culture there, and had intermingled as much as they were able to. However, despite the way they were involved in so much of what was taking place in the country, they were also never really accepted.

After I, Germany's official position on Jews changed. Much of that took place because the German leaders did not want to take any blame for the problems that had caused them to lose out in the war. Because they wanted to make sure the people saw them in a good light, and they did not want to admit past mistakes, they looked for scapegoats. One of the main groups for that scapegoating was the Jewish people. Even though many…… [Read More].

Pope Innocent X lamented the procedure, of course -- for it served to subvert the truths which the oman Church strove to propagate. Thus, the modern world was built not upon the majesty of kings and religion, but upon treaties and revolutionary ideals.

However, capitalist ethics would undermine the romantic ideology. Imperialism -- for gold, God, and glory at the end of the medieval world -- would be based, in the modern world, upon sheer greed as a principle.

America defined this principle well with the notion of "manifest destiny," which by the end of the 19th century was expanded beyond the American frontier to encompass the whole globe. The new Imperialism of America and…… [Read More]. WWI was also the first time that toxins such as mustard gas were used and this created panic and death in many different countries, significantly raising the death toll from the war and also making it more difficult for the country to stay organized and on-track when it came to supporting the troops that were fighting Marston, Italy was another of the allies that joined up to retaliate against Germany.

If it were not for the issue with the alkans, it is likely that WWI would have never taken place, but other countries objected so strongly to the way that Germany handled the problem that they felt they must become involved. When Italy had finally been pushed far enough, it "decided to retaliate" and officially joined the war Marston, For Italy, going into the war meant protecting itself and its allies. It had generally enjoyed a good relationship…… [Read More]. Balkan ar that led to orld ar I There were several factors of the Balkan Crisis of that led to orld ar I.

Generally, the European Crisis of is blamed on the "Great Power statesmen for their shortsightedness, incompetence, or failure to act in a timely or effective way to keep the peace" Sowards However, it is important to consider the players involved in the conflict between the two states in the original Sarajevo crisis, Austria-Hungary and Serbia.

Early in the crisis, when the Austrian, Hungarians, and Serbs made important decisions, "they consistently avoided compromise and risked war" Sowards Two months passed between the murder of Franz Ferdinand and the "coming of the general war However, there were several successive events that took place during those two months.

United States entry into world war. Taking nations from more than half the globe as partakers and victims, the first war broke out, , and that is known as World War 1 or the First World War. Until the World War II broke out, it was widely known as the war which had broken out which had the capacity to put an end to all wars, and commonly it was known as The Great War. In fact multiple factors produced the First World War.

An International anarchy was seen all over Europe. On the eve of the World War I there were 25 sovereign states in Europe, each desiring to act on its own individual conscience. None of them was ready to submit to the interference or will of the other, as each of them held its pride high, thinking if they accepted the advice of any other state, their…… [Read More]. Post World War I Era. Post orld ar I era: Freud and Ortega y Gasset The outbreak of orld ar I was a traumatic and disillusioning event for many people in Europe, perhaps most of all for those who had committed themselves to a notion of progress and advancement in human affairs.

The sheer scale of the destruction and death unleashed by the war, which "exceeded that of all other wars known to history," at the end of a century which had been largely seen as one of peace, progress and prosperity, was a profound shock - one from which, it could be argued, the nations of Europe never entirely recovered. The resulting essay, "Thoughts for the Times…… [Read More]. McRae's poem gives a voice to those who died fighting in the war. Flanders Fields is reported to have been "the generic name of the World War I battlefields under the medieval County of Flanders.

The primary themes in McRae's poems were death, revenge, and honor. What Caused World War 1. These agreements implied that in case one nation was invaded, associated nations had to protect them. The following alliances existed prior to World War 1 Kelly: These three nations agreed to support one another in case of an attack from either ussia or France. France, in particular, felt intimidated by this alliance.

The main aim of the alliance was to support collaboration against Germany's thought threat. After three years, ussia that was scared of the growth of the German Army, united with France and Britain, to create the Triple Entente Triple Entente. World War I is fundamentally similar to warfare as it is practiced today.

This paper reviews the relevant literature to provide evidence in support of the argument that World War I is fundamentally similar to warfare as it is practiced today. Major and Supporting Points of Evidence There were numerous innovations in military ordnance and munitions that took place during and following the U.

Civil War, but the purpose of the warfare practiced on the field of battle in World War I was fundamentally similar to the purpose of warfare as it is practiced today for a number of reasons, including the following: The fundamental purpose and nature of warfare today is identical to the purpose and nature of the warfare prosecuted in World War I; Notwithstanding some differences in the composition of the belligerents and military tactics, wars are still fought and won by "boots on the ground"; and,…… [Read More].

Tanks of World War I. The latter was skeptical, referring to the device as "a pretty mechanical toy" Harris 31 but everybody else was favorably impressed and the ar Office continued enthusiastically to support tank development.

The Mark I, powered by two diesel engines, was built in two versions, "male" which mounted four machine guns and two 6-pounder naval guns in protruding barbettes, and "female" which carried machine guns only.

The male version was intended as an assault weapon; the female tanks were designed to protect their male counterparts and each other by using machine guns to mow down attacking infantry who might otherwise swamp and overcome the tanks Harris This huge, heavy, lozenge-shaped monster became the pattern for the classic First orld ar tank, through to the Mark VIII of The tanks were ready…… [Read More]. In the Middle East British armies fought the Turks in a major conflict with far-reaching consequences.

Here the war was characterized by the doggedness of Turkish resistance and by the constant struggle against climate, terrain, and disease. The British attempted to knock Turkey out of the war with an attack on the Gallipoli peninsula in April , but were compelled to withdraw at the end of the year, having failed to break out from their narrow beach-heads in the face of stubborn Turkish resistance, coordinated by a German general, Liman von Sanders.

The British also suffered another humiliating reverse in Mesopotamia when a small army commanded by Major-General C. Townshend advanced to Ctesiphon but outran its supplies and was compelled to surrender at Kut-al-Amara in April Only after the appointment of Sir Stanley Maude to the command of British forces in Mesopotamia did Britain's superior military and economic strength begin to assert itself.

Maude's forces captured Baghdad in March , the first clear-cut British victory of the war. Turkey surrendered on 31 October The war also found its way to tropical Africa. Germany's colonies in West and south-west Africa succumbed to British and South African forces by the spring of In East Africa, however, a German army of locally raised black African soldiers commanded by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck conducted a brilliant guerrilla campaign, leading over , British and South African troops a merry dance through the bush and surrendering only after the defeat of Germany in Europe became known.

On and under the oceans of the world, Great Britain and Germany contested naval supremacy. Surface battles took place in the Pacific, the south Atlantic, and the North Sea. The British generally had the better of these despite suffering some disappointments, notably at Coronel 1 November and Jutland 31 May-1 June , the only major fleet engagement, during which Admiral Sir John Jellicoe failed to deliver the expected Nelsonic victory of total annihilation.

German resort to unrestricted submarine warfare February brought Britain to the verge of ruin. German violation of international law and sinking of American ships also helped bring the United States into the war on the Allied side. The British naval blockade of Germany, massively reinforced by the Americans from April , played an important role in German defeat. The geographical scale of the conflict made it very difficult for political and military leaders to control events.

The obligations of coalition inhibited strategic independence. Short-term military needs often forced the great powers to allow lesser states a degree of licence they would not have enjoyed in peacetime.

Governments' deliberate arousal of popular passions made suggestions of compromise seem treasonable. The ever-rising cost of the military means inflated the political ends. 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.

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: 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.

Improvements in agriculture reduced the numbers needed to work on the land and provided a surplus of males of military age. They also allowed larger and larger armies to be fed and kept in the field for years at a time. 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. Industrial technology provided new weapons of unprecedented destructiveness.

Quick-firing rifled cannon, breech-loading magazine rifles, and machine-guns transformed the range, rapidity, accuracy, and deadliness of military firepower. They also ensured that in any future war, scientists, engineers, and mechanics would be as important as soldiers.

These changes did much to make the First World War the first 'modern war'. But it did not begin as one. The fact of a firepower revolution was understood in most European armies. The consequences of it were not. The experience of the Russo-Japanese War appeared to offer a human solution to the problems of the technological battlefield.

Victory would go to the side with the best-trained, most disciplined army, commanded by generals of iron resolution, prepared to maintain the offensive in the face of huge losses.

As a result the opening battles of the war were closer in conception and execution to those of the Napoleonic era than to the battles of onwards. It is difficult to say exactly when 'modern' war began, but it was apparent by the end of that pre-war assumptions were false.

Well-trained, highly disciplined French, German, and Russian soldiers of high morale were repeatedly flung into battle by commanders of iron resolve. The results were barren of strategic achievement. The human costs were immense. The 'human solution' was not enough. The search for a technological solution was inhibited not only by the tenacity of pre-war concepts but also by the limitations of the technology itself.

The principal instrument of education was artillery. And the mode of instruction was experience. Shell-fire was merciless to troops in the open. The response was to get out of the open and into the ground.

Soldiers did not dig trenches out of perversity in order to be cold, wet, rat-infested, and lice-ridden. They dug them in order to survive. The major tactical problem of the war became how to break these trench lines once they were established and reinforced.

For much of the war artillery lacked the ability to find enemy targets, to hit them accurately, and to destroy them effectively.

Contemporary technology failed to provide a man-portable wireless. Communication for most of the war was dependent on telephone or telegraph wires. These were always broken by shell-fire and difficult to protect. Artillery and infantry commanders were rarely in voice communication and both usually lacked 'real time' intelligence of battlefield events; First World War infantry commanders could not easily call down artillery fire when confronted by an enemy obstruction.

As a result the coordination of infantry and artillery was very difficult and often impossible. Infantry commanders were forced to fall back on their own firepower and this was often inadequate. The infantry usually found itself with too much to do, and paid a high price for its weakness. Artillery was not only a major part of the problem, however. It was also a major part of the solution. During Allied artillery on the western front emerged as a formidable weapon.

Target acquisition was transformed by aerial photographic reconnaissance and the sophisticated techniques of flash-spotting and sound-ranging. These allowed mathematically predicted fire, or map-shooting. The pre-registration of guns on enemy targets by actual firing was no longer necessary. The possibility of surprise returned to the battlefield. Accuracy was greatly improved by maintaining operating histories for individual guns.

Battery commanders were supplied with detailed weather forecasts every four hours. Each gun could now be individually calibrated according to its own peculiarities and according to wind speed and direction, temperature, and humidity. All types and calibres of guns, including heavy siege howitzers whose steep angle of fire was especially effective in trench warfare, became available in virtually unlimited numbers. Munitions were also improved. Poison gas shells became available for the first time in large numbers.

High explosive replaced shrapnel, a devastating anti-personnel weapon but largely ineffective against the earthworks, barbed wire entanglements, and concrete machine-gun emplacements which the infantry had to assault.

Instantaneous percussion fuses concentrated the explosive effect of shells more effectively against barbed wire and reduced the cratering of the battlefield which had often rendered the forward movement of supplies and reinforcements difficult if not impossible.

Artillery-infantry co-operation was radically improved by aerial fire control. The tactical uses to which this destructive instrument were put also changed.


Main Topics

Privacy Policy

- First World War Poetry "godliterature.tk all I am not concerned with poetry. My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." -Wilfred Owen. The First World War, or The Great War, was fought over the period August to November

Privacy FAQs

The First World War went down in history as one of the worst wars ever to be fought, owing to the magnitude of destruction and loss of life it left in its wake. The war started in ending in , and has been described variously as the Great War the War of Nations and the War to End All Wars.

About Our Ads

Although the First World War is popularly considered a generally European endeavor, the Ottoman Empire at the time also played a significant role in the war and its aftermath. It was on the side of the Central Power, opposite to Russia, the Ottoman rival at the time (McKinney ). The First World War c) The Following were equally important reasons why the stalemate on the Western Front was finally broken: new technology like the tank the American entry into the war the blockading of German ports the German offensive in March Explain how far you agree with this statement.

Cookie Info

The First World War (WWI) Essay Words | 4 Pages The Price of Glory: Verdun , written by Alistair Horne, All Quiet on the Western Front, written by Erich Maria Remarque, and the many letters written by soldiers give several different and similar views of World War 1. Essay on World War I and War. Of The First World War; The Arms Race Or The Assassination Of Archduke Ferdinand In Sarajevo In ? The First World War was the product of years of tension and competition between the Great Powers. There were many separate disputes between the different countries. However these disputes had not led to war.