Following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, the French province of Alsace- Lorraine was captured by German Empire. Al-Lor. is a territory between Fr. and Ger. populated by Ger.-speaking ppl. Ger. knew Fr. would want Al-Lor. back. 1905-Von Shlieffen plans that if Fr. and Ger. ever fight again, Ger. should use 90% of their force attacking France... 10% defending against attack. The plan was modified because this was seen as too risky. Germany would then turn around and defeat Russia.
Why the plan failed: GERMANY TOTALLY PWNED BY BELGIANS! Belgian resistance: Belgian army was 1/10 the size of Germany's but delayed them a whole month. BELGIUM
Why the plan failed: Schlieffen died in 1913, leaving another man to put his plan into action. TOTALLY PWNED BY DEATH! WEAKER ATTACK
Why the plan failed: Schlieffens Successor weakened the offence of the plan. -Instead of 90% of troops used to attack Belgium, Schlieffens successor fortified Alsace-Lorraine. OOPS!
Why the plan failed: The Brits Join: British Empire was believed not to want to enter the war, but they did due to the Triple Entente and Belgian's neutrality. The British Expeditionary Force lands in France. BRITAIN
Why the plan failed: The Russians Mobilize Quicker than expected: Germany thought that they would have 6 weeks to conquer France before Russia could join the war. Russia mobilized her army faster than expected and surprised Germany with an attack on the eastern front. RUSSIA
Why the plan failed: France has time to transfer troops. -Slowdown in Germanys advance gives France time to transfer troops. - They use taxicabs, trains & marched by foot. FRANCE
Why the plan failed: Italy refuse to join Triple Alliance in fighting. WHY? -They thought the alliance should only be defensive. - Austria-Hungary had been their enemy in the past. - Italy had just invaded Tripoli (Libya) and were now in conflict with the Ottoman Empire, who were friends with the German Empire. I AGREE! PWNED! ITALY
TO REVIEW: Belgian resistance: Belgian army was 1/10 the size of Germany's but delayed them a whole month. British Empire was believed not to want to enter the war, but they did due to the Triple Entente and Belgian's neutrality. Russia mobilized faster than the Germans expected. French had time to transfer troops to Al-Lor. Italy refused to join the war because they thought Alliance should only be defensive. Shlieffen plan was weakened on offence.
THIS LED TO TRENCH WARFARE: - Slow war - Characterized by armies bunkering down in trenches and waiting for opposition army. WHY THIS STYLE OF WARFARE? - There had been technological advancement in shooting (weapons) but not in mobility (tanks), so the advantage lay in defensive strategy.
LIFE IN THE TRENCHES The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for Friday October 4, 1918 added Lt. Robert Gamble to their Roll of Honor. Col. John B. Bennet, commander of Gamble's regiment, wrote in his after-action report that Lt. Gamble "was a brave, courageous and efficient officer. He was an honor to his regiment [which] may be of some comfort to Lt. Gamble's parents, who may well be proud of a son who gave his life on the field of battle, in the greatest struggle of history and the first operation of the American Army that was soon to free the world from the German menace." Gamble was not, however, awarded any decorations.
"We had a new man at the periscope, on this afternoon in question; I was sitting on the fire step, cleaning my rifle, when he called out to me: 'There's a sort of greenish, yellow cloud rolling along the ground out in front, it's coming ---' But I waited for no more, grabbing my bayonet, which was detached from the rifle, I gave the alarm by banging an empty shell case, which was hanging near the periscope. At the same instant, gongs started ringing down the trench, the signal for Tommy to don his respirator, or smoke helmet, as we call it. Gas travels quietly, so you must not lose any time; you generally have about eighteen or twenty seconds in which to adjust your gas helmet.
A gas helmet is made of cloth, treated with chemicals. There are two windows, or glass eyes, in it, through which you can see. Inside there is a rubber-covered tube, which goes in the mouth. You breathe through your nose; the gas, passing through the cloth helmet, is neutralized by the action of the chemicals. The foul air is exhaled through the tube in the mouth, this tube being so constructed that it prevents the inhaling of the outside air or gas. One helmet is good for five hours of the strongest gas. Each Tommy carries two of them slung around his shoulder in a waterproof canvas bag. He must wear this bag at all times, even while sleeping. To change a defective helmet, you take out the new one, hold your breath, pull the old one off, placing the new one over your head, tucking in the loose ends under the collar of your tunic. For a minute, pandemonium reigned in our trench, - Tommies adjusting their helmets, bombers running here and there, and men turning out of the dugouts with fixed bayonets, to man the fire step.
Reinforcements were pouring out of the communication trenches. Our gun's crew was busy mounting the machine gun on the parapet and bringing up extra ammunition from the dugout. German gas is heavier than air and soon fills the trenches and dugouts, where it has been known to lurk for two or three days, until the air is purified by means of large chemical sprayers. We had to work quickly, as Fritz generally follows the gas with an infantry attack. A company man on our right was too slow in getting on his helmet; he sank to the ground, clutching at his throat, and after a few spasmodic twistings, went West (died). It was horrible to see him die, but we were powerless to help him. In the corner of a traverse, a little, muddy cur dog, one of the company's pets, was lying dead, with his two paws over his nose. It's the animals that suffer the most, the horses, mules, cattle, dogs, cats, and rats, they having no helmets to save them. Tommy does not sympathize with rats in a gas attack.
At times, gas has been known to travel, with dire results, fifteen miles behind the lines. A gas, or smoke helmet, as it is called, at the best is a vile-smelling thing, and it is not long before one gets a violent headache from wearing it. Our eighteen-pounders were bursting in No Man's Land, in an effort, by the artillery, to disperse the gas clouds. The fire step was lined with crouching men, bayonets fixed, and bombs near at hand to repel the expected attack. Our artillery had put a barrage of curtain fire on the German lines, to try and break up their attack and keep back reinforcements. I trained my machine gun on their trench and its bullets were raking the parapet. Then over they came, bayonets glistening. In their respirators, which have a large snout in front, they looked like some horrible nightmare.
All along our trench, rifles and machine guns spoke, our shrapnel was bursting over their heads. They went down in heaps, but new ones took the place of the fallen. Nothing could stop that mad rush. The Germans reached our barbed wire, which had previously been demolished by their shells, then it was bomb against bomb, and the devil for all. Suddenly, my head seemed to burst from a loud 'crack' in my ear. Then my head began to swim, throat got dry, and a heavy pressure on the lungs warned me that my helmet was leaking. Turning my gun over to No. 2, I changed helmets. The trench started to wind like a snake, and sandbags appeared to be floating in the air. The noise was horrible; I sank onto the fire step, needles seemed to be pricking my flesh, then blackness. I was awakened by one of my mates removing my smoke helmet. How delicious that cool, fresh air felt in my lungs. A strong wind had arisen and dispersed the gas.
5LIES TROOPS WERE TOLD THE WAR WOULD BE OVER BY CHRISTMAS SOLDIERS GOT HOMESICK
5CHRISTMAS 1914 In the months leading up to Christmas, the public begged for a truce. -Women wrote letters. - The Pope said he hoped that the guns may fall silent at least upon the night the angels sang. - Pope Benedict XV
They told me that I had been 'out' for three hours; they thought I was dead. The attack had been repulsed after a hard fight. Twice the Germans had gained a foothold in our trench, but had been driven out by counter- attacks. The trench was filled with their dead and ours. Through a periscope, I counted eighteen dead Germans in our wire; they were a ghastly sight in their horrible-looking respirators. I examined my first smoke helmet, a bullet had gone through it on the left side, just grazing my ear, the gas had penetrated through the hole made in the cloth. Out of our crew of six, we lost two killed and two wounded. That night we buried all of the dead, excepting those in No Man's Land. In death there is not much distinction, friend and foe are treated alike. After the wind had dispersed the gas, the R. A. M. C. got busy with their chemical sprayers, spraying out the dugouts and low parts of the trenches to dissipate any fumes of the German gas which may have been lurking in same."
5CHRISTMAS 1914 German troops received care packages filled with little Christmas trees. Used them to decorate their trenches around Ypres, Belgium. Began singing Christmas carols, and British troops joined in with their own carols. Eventually, troops met on NO MANS LAND to exchange gifts (cigarettes, lighters, bits of food, etc)
5CHRISTMAS 1914 In one area, troops played a game of football (soccer) against one another.
5CHRISTMAS 1914 In some areas, fighting resumed the next day. In other areas, it took a week. Commanders were warned to never do that again. Some soldiers were killed trying to repeat this truce, and while participating in it.
6DESERTION Desertion means running from the army you joined. 22 men were killed by FIRING SQUAD for deserting, or fleeing. Shot at dawn A memorial to those Allied soldiers executed by firing squad at dawn in WW1 for "cowardice in the face of the enemy". Over 300 British and Commonwealth soldiers were shot for desertion or cowardice during the First World War. Most of them were sentenced after a short trial at which no real opportunity for defence was allowed. Today, it is recognised that several of them were under age when they volunteered and that many of them were suffering from shell shock or post traumatic stress disorder. Andy Decomyn's statue 'Shot at Dawn' is modelled on Private Herbert Burden, of the 1st Battallion Northumberland Fusiliers, who was shot at Ypres in 1915 aged 17. His name, and the names of those others who suffered the fate of being shot at dawn are listed on the stakes arranged in the form of a Greek theatre around the statue, symbolising the tragedy that these events signify. The location of this memorial in the most easterly point of the Arboretum which means that it is the first place to be touched by the dawn light. In 2006, a mass pardon of British and Irish soldiers executed during the Great War was enacted
7SHELL SHOCK Shell Shock is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Soldiers were being bombed all the time. Some were rendered mentally unstable by this disorder for their entire lives. People didnt understand PTSD in 1914. They were treated with electric shock therapy or solitary confinement instead of empathy.
8COWARDICE War was seen as glorious. Men who didnt enlist were subject to public shaming. If you walked down the street without a uniform, women would give you a WHITE FEATHER to show you that you werent a real man.
8COWARDICE War was seen as glorious. YOUNG MEN WERE forced to enlist as young as they could… Many underage.
9CONDITIONS No washing hands, no going to the bathroom in toilets. For four years.