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The 100 Days Offensive Germany’s Political Changes The Armistice.

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1 The 100 Days Offensive Germany’s Political Changes The Armistice

2  On the 8 th of August 1918 the battle of Amiens began, this was the response to Ludendorff's Spring Offensive and became known as‘The Blackest Day’. This was the beginning of the Allied offensivethat later became known as the 100 Days Offensive. At this timethe highest number of German losses from the entire waroccurred, this was the beginning of the German Military collapseand the beginning of the events that lead to the Armistice.

3  Woodrow Wilson said that Germany’s government needed to become more democratic or the Allies refused to consider an Armistice. Originally the Kaiser refused, however on the 23 rd of October a series of constitutional amendments were passed and Germany became a constitutional Monarchy. Later on the 9 th of November the Kaiser was abdicated and fled to Holland, whilst Fredrick Ebert (leader of the Social Democratic Party) became the leader of Germany.

4  The Armistice negotiations took place in General Foch’s (the Allied Commander) railway carriage in the forest of Compiègne. There were three days of negotiations in which the Germans had to make many changes whilst the Allies made very few promises. The Armistice was signed on the 11/11/18 at 5:12am with the cease fire to take place at 11am.

5  This quote pinpoints the origin of the now, universal term for this date. On this day the Battle of Amiens began as a response to Ludendorff's Spring Offensive and the Allied troops gained over seven miles. It also foreshadows German armies impending loss, as this day was the beginning of the German Military collapse that lead to the German’s requesting the Armistice. The 8 th of August was “the blackest day for the German army in the history of the war.” ~ Erich Ludendorff

6  This source pictures one of the 414 (Mark V) Tanks that were used during the battle of Battle of Amiens. This was one of the first times in World War One where tanks were used effectively and they contributed greatly to the large amount of land recovered by the Allies during this time. They also however caused the halting of the attack on the 15 th of August after several of the tanks began to malfunction. Mark V tank.

7  This source is taken from a letter written by Ludendorff and delivered as a speech to Reichstag on the 2 nd of October It articulates the fears of the Germans at this point in time as Ludendorff describes the two strengths of the Allies that the Germans cannot match- tanks and the new American troops. This is the first time the Germans accept that they will most likely lose the war. This was a significant event in the build up to the Armistice as it lead to the German request for the end of the war. “ Two factor above all are decisive: Tanks. The enemy is using tanks in large numbers... [and] the enemy is in a position to make good his losses with American help. ” ~ A letter from Ludendorff to Reichstag 2 nd October 1918.

8  This is a map depicting the Allied line of advance during the battle of Battle of Amiens. This source is useful in displaying the great success of the Allied forces during this time and the loss of the Germans, it was this loss that lead to the name ‘the blackest day’ and eventually lead to the Armistice. A map depicting the Allied line of advance.

9  During late October 1918 the German mutinies began. The SMS Thüringen pictured in this source was was one the first battleships on which the sailors mutinied. On this ship both sabotage and refusal to obey orders occurred. The mutinies and rebellion were as a result of the starvation, disease and horrific experiences they were forced to endure only to find out they were losing the war. This contributed to the growing revolution in Germany and therefore the political changes that were a fundamental aspect of the build up the Armistice. First Navy Squadron SMS “Thüringen”

10  This quote from two historians who studied WW1 articulates the sever lack of food, as well as morale on both the home and battle fronts. The insufficient amount of food caused by the Allied Naval Blockade was a significant factor in the German revolution as well as the loss of the war. This quote displays one of the central reasons for the German revolution as well as one of the factors that contributed to Germany’s call for Armistice. Food. “While the Allied Offensives lessened the material power of Germany, insufficient food, defective equipment and tales of the anguish at home sapped the soldiers morale. Breaking point had been reached...” ~ AJ Grant and Temperly ‘Europe in the 19 th and 20 th Centuries’ 1946.

11  This source displays the changes made by Germany to their government as a requirement of the Armistice. Germany became more democratic because Woodrow Wilson demanded it if they were to undergo peace negotiations. This is a predominately important event in the lead up to the Armistice as without it the war would have continued. Germany’s new government had been “formed in complete accord with the wishes of the representation of the people, based on the equal, universal, secret, direct franchise.” Thus, “the offer of peace an an armistice has come from a Government which... is supported by the approval of the overwhelming majority of the German people.” ~ Extract from Woodrow Wilson’s 3 rd note to Germany.

12  This is a picture of Ersatz bread, made with sawdust that was the only type of bread available in Germany The food shortages greatly angered the people and contributed to the dislike for the Kaiser. This hate as a result of the German peoples terrible living conditions during the war eventually lead to his abdication and fleeing which was a fundamental part of the 1918 Armistice.

13  This is a photo depicting the people who negotiated the Armistice, just after the signing. The Allied representatives were all military (Foch, Admiral Rosslyn Wemyss and General Weygand) whilst the German ones included a civilian politician as well as a member of the foreign ministry. The politicians were perhaps included in the delegation to try for a more equal armistice- however this was unsuccessful. Photo taken just after the signing of the Armistice.

14  These were the harsh conditions of the Armistice that the Germans were forced to accept. Three days before the Armistice these were the points being discussed, the harshness of them combined with the Germans willingness to accept them articulates the desperation of the Germans to end the war. Immediate removal of all German troops from France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Alsace-Lorraine. An Allied occupation of Rhineland was to be permitted. Renouncement of the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk with Russia and of the Treaty of Bucharest with Romania. Internment of the German fleet. Surrender of vast amounts of war material. Release of all Allied POW’s but of no German POWS. Allies would maintain Blockade.

15  This source from one of the German delegates present at the negotiation and signing of the Armistice displays the minimal negotiations that took place. This source shows the complete control that the Allies had over this point and how desperate the Germans were in the events leading up to the Armistice. “During our two days' proceedings there was really no negotiation, and we could only try to obtain concessions on various conditions. For when the enemy demanded delivery of 160 U-boats we could only point out the technical impossibility, as we had not 160 to give. This demand had to be changed into the formula, ‘all U-boats’.” ~ German delegate account of the Armistice.

16  This is a photo of the front page of the New York Times from the 11/11/1918. It displays some of the events that lead to the Armistice, such as the fleeing of the abdicated Kaiser to Holland- a fundamental event leading to the Armistice. The front page of the New York Times on the 11/11/18


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