Opening hostilitiesConfusion between the Central PowersThe Central Power’s plan was effected greatly with mis-communication. Germany made promise with Austria-Hungary’s to support its intrusion of Serbia, but perception of what this meant differed greatly. Previously tested plans for deployment were replaced earlier in 1914, but they were not yet tested in real life. Austro-Hungarian thought their northern side would be protected by Germans from Russia. Germans, whereas, believed Austria-Hungary would automatically send most of its army against Russia, in the meantime Germans will take care of France.
This ultimately led to the Austria-Hungary to divide its army forces between the Serbia and Russia’s front.Serbian campaignAustria invaded the Serbia and fought with its army the Battles of Cer and Kolubara on 12th of August. But in the coming week Austrian suffered with great loss, which resulted in the marking of the first big Allied victories of the war and crushed the hopes of Austria-Hungary of an easy defeat of Serbia. Thus, Austria kept proper amount of forces over the Serbian side, as a result its struggle against Russia wakened. And this victory of Serbia’s against the Austro-Hungarian intrusion in 1914 has been known as one of the major upset victories of 20th century.German forces in Belgium and FranceAs the occurrence of WWI happened, approximately 80% of the total army of Germany was deployed as 7 field armies on west front according to the plan called Aufmarsch II West. But later on, these were reassigned to follow the deployment plan known as Schlieffen Plan, sometimes referred to as the Aufmarsch I West. According to this strategy Germans will march through the north of Belgium and then into the France, in an attempt to surround the army of France and then enter the fortresses of Verdun’s second defensive area then the Paris and then the river Marne.
Aufmarsch I West was the one convenient to the Germans out of the 4 total deployment plans at the time. Each plan had certain advantageous output, but they had no idea how to actually execute any one of these plans, resulting in commanding officers carrying them out as their own initiative, with minimum omission. Plan Aufmarsch I West, was designed in a way to have one-front war with the French army, after trying it once it eventually became clear that in the end it was irrelevant to the wars, Germany could expect to face; Russia and Britain both of them were expected to help out the French army, whereas there was zero possibility of availability of troops of Italy or Austria-Hungary for operations adjacent to France. But ultimately it was able to retain a certain charm due to its nature and the pessimism of pre-war thinking. Thus, for the offensive of 1914, the Aufmarsch II West deployment was changed. Moltke observed Schlieffen’s plan, changing the deployment of the army on western side by decreasing the wing from 85% to 70% the one that had to enter through the Belgium. At last, the Schlieffen plan was drastically changed by Moltke, thus it was also called as the Moltke Plan.The plan called for the right wing of Germans to move to bypass the armies of France concentrated on France-German border, then defeating the France forces near the Luxembourg and Belgium and afterwards moving towards south to the Paris.
Initially the Germans got victory, especially in the battle of frontiers. But towards the 12 of September, the French army with the help of Britain force stopped the Germans entry into the east side of Paris and forced the Germans back to almost approximately 50km.On the eastern side, Russia entered with 2 armies. As a result, Germans moved the 8th Field Army to Eastern Russia. This troop of army, which was led by General Paul von Hindenburg, defeated the Russia in a combination of battles called the First Battle of Tannenberg (17 August – 2 September).
Whereas the Russian intrusion failed, it resulted in movement of Germans army towards the eastern side… Thus Germans were unable to achieve their objective of avoiding a long, 2 front war. But, the Germans were able to fight its way into a good position inside of the France and were able to lower France’s coal supply to half. It was also responsible for crippling of somewhat 230,000 or more French and British army men than it has lost itself. More so ever, communication problems and decisions made by leaders costed Germany the chance of a more of a different kind of an outcome.
Asia and the PacificOn 28th of October, the German cruiser sank down the Russian cruiser at the Battle of Penang. Japan stopped Germany’s Micronesian colonies and, after the Siege of Tsingtao. Within a few months, the Allied forces had stopped all the German territories in the Pacific.African campaignsSome of the first conflict of the war was between British, French, and German colonial forces in Africa.
On 6–7 August, French and British army entered the German colonies. On 10th August, Germans in South-West Africa attacked on the South Africa; brutal fighting lasted for the rest of the war. The German colonial forces which were led by Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, fought with guerrilla warfare campaign during World War I and ultimately surrendered after two weeks.
Indian support for the AlliesGermans tried to use Indians and Muslims for their own advantage, by sending a mission that urged Afghans to join the war alongside Central powers. But, as opposed to British fears of a revolt in subcontinent, this outbreak saw an unexpected sense of loyalty and goodwill towards Britain. Political leaders from the Congress and other groups were happy to support the Britain, because they believed that their support would further the cause of Indians Home Rule. The failure of the Britain government to allow self-government to India, caused starting of disillusionment and fueled the campaign for full independence led by Gandhi and the other.Western FrontTrench war startsStrategies used by army before WWI wasn’t enough at all for keeping the pace required with the everyday advancement in technology.
This pushed them to try creating a strong defensive systems. Barbed wire, artillery coupled with machine guns, were used for making crossing on no mans land very difficult. By the passage of time technology was able to make new weapons including chlorine gas and tanks.Now both armies tried to cross on another as they moved to the north side this is also known as the “Race to the Sea”. But these efforts didn’t succeeded and forces came to realize that continuous line of trenches was formed extending from Lorraine to Belgium’s coast.
Trenches made by Germans were much better made then their opponents.Chlorine gas was used firstly at Western Front by Germans but late it was used by french as well. Tanks were firstly used by British and French armies in great numbers, whilst the Germans used very small number by taking their tanks and changing it for their own use.Neither side proved to be able to deliver a decisive blow for the coming 2 years. The British Empire and French suffered more deaths than Germans did.
Sometimes Germans advanced a little sometimes french made the advancement with no big change of territory for both sides. But at this time all three of the armies faced new challenges and tried evolving with every new challenge they faced along the way.Naval warAt the beginning, German cruisers were dispersed around the world.
But Britain Navy strategically destroyed some of them down. Britain started blocking naval routes cutting down all kinds of supplies of Germans. The Jutland battle is one of the biggest naval battle of the WW1. Britain fleets tried damaging the German boats but in return got more attacked as a result.Germans tried to block the supply routes from North America to Britain. But after the Protestantism of United States, Germans made promise that they wont attack passenger anymore.Threat of Germans U boats lessened after 1916 when new technology such as hydrophone as well as depth charges were produced, and by using these submarines were submerged or sank down in waters. The U-boats destroyed almost 5,000 ships of allied countries, by using their almost 198 submarines.
Southern theatresWar in the BalkansDue to fighting with Russia at same time, Austria-Hungary was able to give only one third of the army for performing the attack on Serbia. They entered Siberia but after a few time of staying, Siberia was able to kick them out of their country. In the initial 10 months of 1915 Austria-Hungary utilized almost more than half of their military resources to attack Italy.
Central powers persuaded Bulgaria to join and attack Siberia. Bulgaria announced war with Serbia, and joined the Austro-Hungarian army. Serbia was defeated in approximately 1 month.
After wining, Serbia was divided among them.Now, the Macedonian side was almost abandoned. France and Serbia together retook small areas of Serbia back. And in September of 1918 they finally made a progress, after most of the Germans and Austro-Hungarian army were gone. The Bulgaria was defeated on 25th of September 1918. Germans tried to help but it was too late. And after a day of collapsing Bulgaria started seeking for an immediate peace settlement.
Ottoman EmpireAs war progressed, Empire of Ottoman gained advantage of Europe’s war and and joined Central power. In Gallipoli, the Ottoman strategically answer attacked the Australia, France, Britain and New Zealand’s Army Corps also called AZNACS. In Mesopotamia, Britains took Baghdad in March. In August along with Germans they were defeated at the Battle of Romani by the ANZAC. Afterwards, an Egyptian Expeditionary Force advanced across the Sinai Peninsula in January 1917.
Enver Pasha went against the Russians in 1914 and losing almost 87% of his force at the Battle of Sarikamish.The Ottomans, with Germans support, invaded Persia in December 1914 in order to cut off Britain and Russia access to petrol reservoirs. They were also helped by Kurdish and Azeri forces, together with many tribes from of Iran. the Russian withdrew from war in 1917.
General Yudenich pushed Turks out of Caucasus. The Arab Revolt started June 1916, led by Sherif Hussein, leading to the surrender of Damascus by Ottoman. Approximated casualties of Ottoman were 725,000.Italian participationOn 23rd of May Italy announced war on Austria-Hungary.
After some time, Italy also announced war on Germany. The Italians were superior in terms of number but due to fighting in the difficult terrain they were at loss, also strategies used by them proved to be very poor.Afterwards the Italians mounted eleven attacks on the Isonzo. All eleven attacks were withstood by the Austro-Hungarian.On 26th of October 1917 Central Powers started an attack achieving victory at Caporetto. The Italian Army was pushed back almost a hundred kilometers. In 1918, the Austria-Hungary didn’t succeed in breaking through a series of battles on the Piave and then were ultimately badly defeated in Vittorio Veneto battle.
Austria-Hungary surrendered on 11 November 1918.Romanian participation At beginning of war, Romania announced its neutrality. In August 1916, Romanians attacked Austria-Hungary, with support from Russia. It was successful at first, but an attack by the Central Powers pushed Romanians back whilst occuping Bucharest. Fighting in Moldova continued in 1917. Russian withdrew from the war forcing the Romanians to sign an treaty with Central Powers on 9th of December.
Peace treaty was made between Romanians and the Central Powers. Under that treaty, Romania had to stop the war with Central Powers and give some of the land to Austria-Hungary. The estimated deaths of Romanians during this period were approximately 748,000.
Eastern FrontInitial actionsInitially Russia made advancement into Galicia but later on was pushed back by at the battles of Tannenberg. In spring of 1915, the Russians had withdrawn to Galicia, and then in August, they were pushed from Poland as well.Russian RevolutionDespite Russia’s success initially, dissatisfaction with the Russian government’s continuation of war, grew. Empress Alexandra’s increasingly incompetent rule resulted in Rasputin’s murder. In March 1917 the selection of ineffective Provisional Government led to chaos both at the front and at home, resulting in ineffectiveness of army increasing as well.Later on Bolshevik Party demanded instant ending of war. In December they signed a peace treaty with central powers. The treaty included giving vast territories as well.
Czechoslovak LegionThey fought in war in order to get Independence. Their army attacked the Austro-Hungary troops at village named Zborov, in 1917. As they won their number also increased, as well as its military power. In the Battle of Bakhmach, they were able to defeat the Germany forces in result forcing them to make pact.
Central Powers peace overturesIn December of 1916 the Germans tried to discuss peace with Allies. The U.S. President wrote a note to both sides asking to tell their demands. The allies thought that the Germans offer was made in order to make diversion and division between the Allies. Germans stated to be in favor of direct exchanging of views. After knowing the German reply, the Allies were free to produce their demands.
They asked to restoration of their damages, evacuate of territories occupied, same for French, Russians and Romanians, to recognize the principle of nationalities as well . while on the other part about security, the Allies wanted guarantee that in future will prevent or limit any wars. Theses negotiations resulted in failure because the Allies rejected the offer of Germans, because Germany did not asked or accepted any proposal of Allies.
1917–1918Developments in 1917Advents of 1917 were the ones which that provided decisive power towards finishing the ongoing war. The naval blockade by Britain started having some serious impacts over the Germans. In it’s answer, in February of 1917, the German General Staff convinced Chancellor Theobald to announce unrestricted warfare of submarines, in-order to starve out the Britains from the war. In august, the newly created convoy system was used for the first time which later on proved to be very successful in easily eliminating the U-boat risk. British were saved from starvation, whereas on the other hand, industrial output of Germans fell and the United States came into the war far earlier than the Germans had expected.
On the 3rd of May 1917, while the Nivelle Offensive was going on, 2nd Colonial Division of French started to refuse the direct orders given to them by arriving wasted and not with their weapons. These Mutinies of French Army ultimately spread to more French divisions and led to almost 20,100 men desert. But, by performing them appeal to their patriotism and duty, along with the large number of arrests and tests, were encouraged to the point at which they once again started guarding their trenches. The Central Power’s victory at the Battle of Caporetto led the Allies to the formation of Supreme War Council in order to make and execute the future plans.In December, a truce was made between Russia and the Central Powers, resulting in freeing of vast number of German army which could be used on the west front. The Central Powers were aware with the fact that they can not win a protracted war, but they had in their minds high hopes for victory based on a last quick attack. More so ever, in Europe revolution started to spread and tension and confusion among the people of both sides also started to increase.
Thus, both sides really wanted to have a fast clear cut victory.Ottoman Empire conflict, 1917–1918In 1917, at both the Battles of Gaza, Germans and Ottomans were able to stop the coming of the Egyptian troops. Towards the last week of October, the Sinai and Palestine Campaign continued. Later on Jerusalem was taken following another Ottoman loss in the Battle of Jerusalem. In the start of 1918, the front line was stretched, taking the Jordan, following the 1st and 2nd Transjordan attacks by Britains.
In April, many of the Egyptian troops and Yeoman cavalry were forwarded to West side as a result of the Spring Offensive. On the Ottoman front many attacks took place. These pushed the front line towards north to achieve more successful positions.In September of 1918 Indian and Britain infantry, destroyed the Ottoman front and took the headquarters of the 8th Army at Tulkarm and also and the headquarters of 7th Army. Through the holes in the front line, the Corps went, made by the infantry. The truce of Mudros was made towards the end of October, ending fight with the Ottomans whilst fighting was continued over the north of Aleppo.
Entry of the United StatesWhen the war begun, America followed the policy of non-intervention. When the British liner boarding one hundred and twenty Americans, Germans U-boat sunk them dead, President Wilson insisted on ending of the to attacks over ships containing passengers. Germany agreed. America also continuously warned the Germans that America wouldn’t accept another such attack by submarines of germans. In January, Germans once again started unrestricted submarine attacks, knowing that it will lead to the Americans entry.
The Mexico was asked by Germans to join with them in ongoing war, against the America. As a result, the Germans would pay for Mexico’s war and would help it to regain the territory of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The United Kingdom got the message as well and showed it to the America. Wilson called on antiwar elements to finish all wars by winning this one. Wilson called for war on Germany, which the U.S. Congress declared on 6 April 1917.The United States had a small army, but, it gave more than 2 and half million men, and, until summer 1918, it sent 10,000 new soldiers every day to France.
German General Staff thinking that they could defeat the Britain and France before US troops comes, they were proven incorrect.The United States sent a battleship to join with the British Fleet, destroyers, and submarines to help guard convoys. Several regiments of U.
S. Marines were also sent to France. Expeditionary Forces commander, didn’t agree to use Americans as filler material.German Spring Offensive of 1918This Offensive desired to divide the Britain and France forces, by using a set of distractions and progresses. Britain and French trenches were entered by using novel infiltration strategies, by specifically trained group called storm troopers.
Now, Germans tried using artillery for just a few moment and entered few infantries. More strongly armed infantry then them at the not occupied positions. Their success was established much on the surprise element.The front moved to within one hundred and thirty kilometers of Paris. Three machine guns fired one hundred and eight shells on the capital. Many Germans pictured success to be near. After long fighting, however, the attack was stopped.
Lacking tanks or motorized artillery, the Germans were not able to get their gains. On 5th of November, the Allies formed A Supreme War Council at the Doullens Conference. Foch was selected as it’s supreme commander.Germany started Georgette operation opposing to the northern English Channel ports. The Allies stopped the advancements after small territory gaining by Germans.
The Germans on the south end then forced opponents broadly back towards Paris.By July, the Germans had withdrew from Marne to initial lines, having gained little only. Germans loss between March and April are two hundred and twenty thousands, with many highly trained storm troopers. Meanwhile, Germany was very disturbed at home too because of this war.New states under war zoneTowards the end of year 1918, 3 new states formed in the South Caucasus: the First Armenian Republic, the Democratic Azerbaijan Republic, and the Democratic Georgia Republic. Two other minor entities established, the Centro Caspian Dictatorship and South West Caucasian Republic.Allied victory: summer 1918 onwardsHundred Days OffensiveIn order to counterattack the attack of Germans, the Allies started counteroffensive, also called the Hundred Days Offensive, it started on 8th of August.
After its launching, on 1st day a gap twenty four kilometers long was created in the German’s lines. Germans reffed this day to as “Black Day of the German army”. After moving forward of twenty three kilometers, Germans resistance became strong, and the battle came to an end on 12th of August.
Rather than continuing the Amiens battle past the point of initial success, the Allies moved their focus somewhere else. Allies leaders knew now that continuing an attack after resistance was increasing lives being wasted, and better option is to change a line than to try to cross it over. They started to take attacks in quick sets to take advantage of successful advancement on the sides, then attacked them back when their each attack lost its initial force. In the last week of August the Allied pressure, along a hundred kilometer front, against the Germans was strong and unbelievable. Faced with these progresses, on 2nd September the German Supreme Army Command ordered to withdrew from Hindenburg Line in the south. In September the Allies advanced to the Hindenburg Line in the north and center.
The Germans continued to fight strong and launched many attacks on obscured positions. Then an attack by the Britain and French came within three kilometers of St. Quentin.In almost 4 weeks of fighting and attacking, over 100k Germans prisoner were taken. On 13th of August, Germany discussed that the war could not end militarily and, on the next day, the German Crown Council stated that victory was now very unlikely.
The final assault on the Hindenburg Line began with the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, on 26th of September. After signing of truce by Bulgaria seprately, on 29th of September. It was now visible that Germany can no longer place a proper defense. With the military declining in terms of number, and widespread lossage of confidence, Germany moved towards surrender.
Negotiations started immediately with President Wilson. Demanded of Wilson were a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary control over the German army. The Kaiser, kings and other rulers all were removed from power.
Imperial Germany was dead, a new Germany had been born as the Weimar Republic.