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German Defeat & Allied Victory. In January 1918… Morale in French Army low German U-boat campaign had failed to starve Britain into surrender Russia had.

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Presentation on theme: "German Defeat & Allied Victory. In January 1918… Morale in French Army low German U-boat campaign had failed to starve Britain into surrender Russia had."— Presentation transcript:

1 German Defeat & Allied Victory

2 In January 1918… Morale in French Army low German U-boat campaign had failed to starve Britain into surrender Russia had withdrawn from the war, freeing up a large amount of German troops. BUT… American troops, equipment & supplies had begun reinforcing the Allies in large numbers Allied blockade of Germany was causing severe hardship & shortages, leading to unrest Germany’s allies were on the verge of collapse.

3 Operation St Michael (the Spring Offensive) Ludendorff prepared a final offensive designed to break through to Paris using – shock troops – portable trench mortars, machine guns & flamethrowers – surprise attacks Germans launched 5 attacks (Mar – Jul) – made significant gains, esp against the French in the first 3 attacks – the last two attacks failed Results… – after initial lack of Allied cooperation, Foch appointed as a unified commander-in-chief – German troops were exhausted – German Army had no reserves to replace their losses

4 Allied Counterattack Began July 18 across the River Marne – Allies used aircraft, tanks en masse – Germans retreated in an orderly manner even though morale was low – Germans disheartened by amount of Allied supplies & equipment 2 nd Allied attack on August 8 – ‘black day’ for the German Army: surrendered in large numbers – Germans fell back to the Hindenburg Line – German soil not touched yet! By the end of September – Ludendorff demanded that the politicians sue for peace By the end of October – Hindenburg line breached in a number of places – Germans in retreat – by Nov 11, almost all Germans out of France.

5 Some Reasons for Allied Victory Effect of US troops - reinforcements - morale Tanks (not significant by themselves but…) - Allies produced them in numbers - used in numbers Collapse in German morale & consequent unrest on Home Front Allied blockade of Central Powers - led to severe shortages & hardship Failure of Schlieffen Plan Combined economic strength of the Allies Weakness of Germany’s allies

6 Reasons for Allied Victory GERMAN STRATEGIC ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES Advantages:  Strongest economy in Europe  Large army that was well-trained/equipped  Centrally located & could move troops around easily Disadvantages:  Dependent on Schlieffen Plan to avoid a 2 front war  Economy restricted severely by Allied blockade  Allies could depend on global empires but Germany received limited economic/military support from AH, Turkey & Bulgaria. Thus, the longer the war went, the harder Germany would find it to win.

7 Reasons for Allied Victory COLLAPSE OF THE GERMAN HOME FRONT Demands of war economy, Allied blockade & inflation led to food shortages by By 1918, some were starving. German High Command shifted men from agriculture into industry & military, which led to decrease in food production. A political truce in the Reichstag since 1914 had broken down. By 1917, the Reichstag was keen on peace. Industrial action increased from 1000 strikes a month (1915) to 100,000 a month in late 1918.

8 Reasons for Allied Victory ON THE FRONT LINE Russia’s surrender & early successes of Spring Offensive offered some hope but once the advance was stopped, the German Army had run out of reserves & was vulnerable to Allied counter offensive. Allied commanders had finally worked out how to coordinate the different weapons (tanks, artillery & infantry) at their disposal. Foch was appointed as C-in-C to coordinate the Allied forces. Although large parts of the German Army fought determinedly, war weariness & declining morale affected many before the Allied offensive began in August. By October, 1918, the German High Command admitted to the Reichstag that it could not win the war. The Allies had too many men, tanks & aircraft with more on the way. Germany had no reserves.

9 Reasons for Allied Victory US ENTRY INTO THE WAR Perhaps the critical factor: massive potential in manpower, industry, resources & capital. This was a huge blow to German morale. When US soldiers arrived in France, they moved into the front line to give British & French troops a rest. This allowed the Allies to have fresh, veteran troops to go on the offensive. US troops were well-equipped & fed, even if they were inexperienced. There were 187,000 Americans in France at the end of By war’s end, there were 830,000+.

10 Reasons for Allied Victory OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Victory was not inevitable. The German Spring Offensive broke the stalemate & threatened the whole Western Front. Even after it was halted, there were no immediate prospects of victory. The Allied naval blockade slowly strangled the German economy. Whilst the U-boat campaign of unrestricted warfare brought Britain down to 6 weeks food supplies at one stage, it probably helped bring the USA into the war on the Allied side. The Allies were stronger economically – they produced thousands of tanks as opposed to the German 20! Haig’s tactics of attrition worked – they wore down the German nation!

11 Reasons for Allied Victory OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Victory was not inevitable. The German Spring Offensive broke the stalemate & threatened the whole Western Front. Even after it was halted, there were no immediate prospects of victory. The Allied naval blockade slowly strangled the German economy. Whilst the U-boat campaign of unrestricted warfare brought Britain down to 6 weeks food supplies at one stage, it probably helped bring the USA into the war on the Allied side. The Allies were stronger economically – they produced thousands of tanks as opposed to the German 20! Haig’s tactics of attrition worked – they wore down the German army.


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