The Stalemate in World War I

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Management

Document 1

At the time, casualties and war crimes reached shocking levels, leaving millions dead. But, for what reason was the war even being waged? As history tells us, it was the assassination of the Archduke of Austria that set it off. After that, however, the war quickly devolved into more meaningless battles. And the people who took the worst brunt of the damage were innocent civilians. The entirety of World War 1 took four years to complete. The commanders of each army vastly underestimated their enemies. Through the multiple battles fought at the Verdun and the Somme, this was proving more and more accurate. The commanders expected their soldiers to bulldoze the enemies inside the trenches, but nothing worked. And the more time that they kept at it on the battlefields, the further the stalemate in WW1 continued.

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In hindsight, people have questioned what does stalemate mean in WW1. Once they captured these lands, the plan was to use that strategic position to invade Berlin. However, both of these plans did not go the way each side expected. The Belgians proved to be a force to be reckoned with and made the battle last for ten days. This gave enough time for Russia to mobilize its forces to East Germany. Germany lost their advantage here and was scrambling to defend itself against both the Russian and French troops. They kept moving North to get a better angle but were moving so similarly that there was no opening. They finally reached the sea with nowhere else to turn. And so the Central Powers and Allies were facing each other along the Western Front, creating the stalemate war.

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The Western Front, in this case, is the area reaching from Switzerland to the sea. It was made up of a large array of trenches and lines of barbed wire stretching across this whole area. Their aim was to make the enemies bleed as much as possible and make them lose their will to fight. They too launched attacks on the Germans in large numbers, but it proved to be futile for years. Unlike WW2 or modern-day weaponry, the equipment available at the time was not sufficient to break through enemy defenses. The trenches on both sides were effective at preventing troops from crossing enemy lines. Both sides sent in large numbers of troops to overwhelm the opposition inside of the trenches.

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Bombs and shells were available to the troops, but they had one major flaw. Their accuracy was quite low. Both sides launched shells at each other, but they didn’t do enough damage to break down the enemy line. Of course, these attacks still led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, but it still wasn’t enough. The Germans thought ahead and created dugouts in their trenches. Looking back on it now, the battles waged during this time only resulted in pointless killing. Soldiers inside the trenches lived in horrific conditions, always on the watch for enemy attacks. The trenches helped these soldiers avoid artillery fire, but not for very long. Each side continued to launch attacks in various ways to capture these trenches.

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And even though both sides were sometimes victorious, it came at a large cost of lives. This led to new battle tactics that the British enforced to push back the dwindling German forces. One such tactic was to combine artillery with foot soldiers. Due to the higher accuracy, the British could launch a volley of artillery strikes in a row across the whole field of no man’s land. The plan was to first start with the artillery attack from their end of the trenches. They would send row after row of artillery strikes until it reached the German lines. It was pride, arrogance, and power that led to that path. This war could have been prevented or even ended early if the leaders at the time relented on their conquests.

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