The Development of a Stalemate on the Western Front
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The Development of a Stalemate on the Western Front
A stalemate is when two forces meet and neither side can advance any
further, all they can do is dig in and hold their ground. In the
context of world war 1 it was when the French and German sides dug in
extremely well designed trenches stretching over 400 miles from
English channel all the across to the Swiss border, creating a very
much defence based war.
There are four main reasons why a stalemate occurred on the western
front. The first being the failure of the 'Schlieffen plan', when the
Schlieffen plan failed as a result of a few wrong turns from the
German troops, Germany were faced with a war on two opposite fronts,
this weakened their forces and put a massive strain on their resources
meaning it was harder for the Germans to push and making the failure
of the plan a major role in the development of the stalemate on the
Another reason for the progress in the stalemate was the occurrence of
'The battle of the River Marne', during the Schlieffen plan the German
troops, on the outside of the advance delayed their advance and headed
south through fear of isolation from the rest of the attack, this took
them toward the River Marne where a huge battle took place resulting
in the Germans being pushed back to the rine where they dug in. the
battle also produced many casualties and the final part of the failure
of the Schlieffen plan.
The third reason for the development of the deadlock on the western
front is hat's historically known as 'the race to the sea', this was
when both sides dug in trenches but whilst doing so tried going around
each others defences (they both tried to outflank each other) the
problem with this was that both armies anticipated each others
movements and quickly moved across where they would dig in even more
trenches, this resulted in a huge line of trenches stretching from the
sea all the way across to the Swiss border.
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|The Development of a Stalemate on the Western Front Essay example - The Development of a Stalemate on the Western Front The Schlieffen plan did not, it failed to work for various reasons, some of these being The Russian offensive, German advance east of Paris, the German exhaustion, Joffres leadership, British involvement, Belgiumresistance. In August Germany invaded Belgium and Britain stood by its guarantee of Belgium's neutrality and declared war on Germany, within a week, 120,000 troops of the British Expeditionary Force had been secretly shipped to France, this held the Germans up briefly and the British the retreated to France to help the French.... [tags: Papers]||438 words|
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The final factor for the stalemate occurring on the western front was
the nature of the fighting. Ww1 was an extremely defensive war; troops
from both armies were attacking heavily defended trenches, which
resulted in very high casualties. Technology in the war was also very
defensive, with machine guns, barbed wire and artillery it was
difficult for an infantry to advance and capture trenches and then
hold it afterward without sustaining very high casualties, planes and
tanks were around but still very much in their infancy and were
considered unreliable. Overall there is no single definite reason for
the event of the stalemate on the western front during ww1, in fact
there were many different factors that all played a role in causing
the dead lock between forces. No one single reason can be deemed more
important than the other since they all relied and depended on each
other to affect ww1's infamous western front standstill in 1916.
There are several reasons for stalemate on the Western Front by December 1914, which include numerous faults in the strategies and implementation of the Schlieffen Plan, tactical and strategic problems, problems in communications and the incapability of the commanders. There was also a changing in offensive to defensive, poor trench conditions, poor equipment and supplies, and also low morale amongst both armies.
Faults in the strategies and implementation of the Schlieffen Plan was a major reason for the formation of a stalemate on the Western Front. The Schlieffen Plan was held up unexpectedly by strong Belgian resistance, taking the Germans two weeks to take Brussels. Instead of sweeping around in a wide arc and approaching Paris from the west, the Germans found themselves heading to Paris just east of the city. They got within 32 kilometers of Paris, as the French government retreated to Bordeaux, yet closer they got the slower they went.
This was thanks to several problems, including poor supplies and equipment. In Source C German General von Kuhl blames the "new telephone systems were much too weak and were not sufficiently equipped with the new apparatus" for their failure. Communications were a major hassle; with telephone lines constantly being cut by artillery and poor communications was maintained between infantry. There were also problems in keeping the armies supplied with food and ammunition and the troops became exhausted in the long marches in the August heat.
The Schlieffen Plan was mainly flawed in its design as it depended on a strict timetable, dependent on the speed of railways rather than the speed of foot soldiers. Railways were often sabotaged and there was not enough rail tracks laid throughout Europe. German military commanders also departed from the Plan, which further undermined its success. The invasion of Belgium...