Week 3- Outbreak of the First World War
Week 3- Outbreak of the First World War HIST 388
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Austin McManus on Tuesday September 15, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to HIST 388 at George Mason University taught by Harry Butowsky in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 54 views. For similar materials see World War I in History at George Mason University.
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Date Created: 09/15/15
HIST 388 Notes Week 3 Opening of the Great War Western amp Eastern Fronts 1914 A Plans for War in Europe 0 Germany Schlieffen Plan 0 Alfred von Schlieffen Chief of the General Staff for the German Army was responsible for concocting a military solution to a diplomatic problem Facing enemies on both sides by 1900 Russia to the East France to the West Schlieffen needed to design a military strategy that could decisively adapt to such problematic conditions 0 What became known as the Schlieffen Plan went about solving this problem by putting approximately threefourths of the Germany Army against France to accomplish the Army would make a hard swing right marching through Belgium and striking central France and heading to Paris thereby effectively anking virtually all of France s forces who had positioned along northeastern France at the Maginot Line anticipating a German invasion from the north 0 Helmuth von Moltke Schlieffen s replacement altered the original strategy by moving some of the reserve forces on Germany s right ank that would act as the swinging door through Belgium into France in order to fortify the German position on the East to defend from a possible Russian invasion 0 France Plan XVII 0 Joseph J offre Chief of the General Staff for the French Army oriented the French strategy around retaking AlsaceLorraine the slice of territory that France had lost to Germany during the FrancoPrussian War 1 8707 1 0 Plan XVII focused on putting virtually all of France s armed forces along the Maginot Line fortified position along the northeastern border of France in order to repel the anticipated German offensive from the north and push back as the start to France s campaign to take back Alsace Lorraine from Germany 0 This plan in theory was in exible to react to a German offensive from anywhere besides from the north Consequently that is what Joffre ended up having to do by the 26th of August 0 Britain 0 Being relatively isolationist with European affairs up to the outbreak of war in 1914 Britain s war strategy was largely reactionary during the rst months 0 Feeling obligated to assist France out of both respect for the Entente Cordiale of 1904 as well as protecting its own interests if Germany managed to defeat France Britain commences a blockade of Germany almost immediately after they declare war 0 Despite the blockade being violation of international law the British were preventing not only military contraband but consumer goods such as food from entering Germany Germany can do little to stop it during the start of the war 0 In addition to a blockade Britain sends in an Expeditionary Force BEF of about 100000 troops under the command of Sir John French into Belgium to stop the German advance Russia The Steam Roller o The Russian Army by 1914 was illtrained underequipped and poorly led but it was also the largest standing army in the world at the time with approximately 14 million troops 0 Their strategic approach to war with Germany was outdated putting too much emphasis on the bravery of the Russian soldier and not enough emphasis on modern weaponry or regimented training this resulted in the Czar Nicholas II s approach to a potential war as using Russian as a steam roller to simply throw more troops at the Germany Army than it could handle 0 The major issue in this strategy was Russia s inability to mobilize quickly due to its relatively poor infrastructure with regards to transportation and communication that was necessary for such a mass movement of soldiers into East Prussia B Outbreak of War in the West Germany invaded Belgium with 80 of its army and made haste in marching into France not anticipating but being prepared for Belgian resistance The height of Germany s presence in Belgium occurred during the Army s offensive against Liege where many believed existed the best fortifications the world has ever seen Despite a formidable defense by the Belgians Germany utilized its immensely unique 42cm artillery pieces known as Big Bertha Defeating all of Liege s forts by August 16th Germany captured Brussels the capital by August 20th With a successful and onschedule campaign in Belgium the Germans began making their way to the French border Despite experiencing an unfavorable cost in casualties when forcing the BEF to retreat at the Battle of Mons Germany managed to continue their trek towards Paris in order to end the con ict in the Western Front Meanwhile J offre s forces on the Maginot Line were holding back German advances while Charles Lanrezac General of the French Fifth Army positioned in northern France opposite the Ardennes Forest By August 11th Lanrezac was severely concerned about the significant amount of German troop movement in Belgium and pleaded with J offre about his suspicion that the overwhelming majority of the German army would invade France from Belgium Despite realizing this J offre still believed that Liege was holding out on August 20th at which point Belgium had surrendered and Germany was making its way south towards France Soon he would realize that this was the case and responded by swiftly moving up the Maginot Line taking any available French divisions possible with him and sending them on trains heading north to support Lanrezac s defensive against the Germans At the First Battle of the Marne September 6th12th with support from the BEF France managed to push Germany back into their own boundaries Thus within less than two months of combat the aspirations of both France s and Germany s respective military strategies had failed to achieve their shortterm goals Germany came within 43 miles of Paris but was unable to push through AngloFrench defensive losing their chance at taking France out of the war and being forced on the defensive while France managed to keep Germany at bay but not in the manner nor at the location they had hoped This resulted in the beginning of the stalemate on the Western Front that would last until the armistice in November of 1918 C Outbreak of War in the East Having significantly fewer soldiers in Prussia than in Belgium Germany ordered their armies in the East to simply hold ground until the victory against France in the West had been achieved The Russians did not wait although not anticipated by Germany s Schlieffen Plan Russian sent its First and Second Armies commanded by Alexsandr Samsonov and Paul von Rennenkampf respectively to invade East Prussia Aforementioned Germany was quite thrown off by this but managed to fend off the Russians at the Battle of Tannenberg August 26th30th resulting in the total annihilation of Samsonov s First Army and the suicide of Samsonov himself and the diverting of pressure on Germany from Russia in the East In the months to follow Russia would wage a comparatively successful campaign against AustriaHungary this coerced the Germans having secured stalemate with France and Britain in the West to send military support to AustriaHungary in the fall and winter of 1914 D Mobility to Attrition Within two months from Germany s invasion of Belgium in early August the war on both fronts had effectively come to a stalemate Both sides unable to carry out their strategical intentions dug into the Earth and began creating their respective system of trenches that generally remained immobile for the next three years Attempts to end the stalemate by both extending the front in France and Russia and bringing the war to Italy Turkey the Middle East North Africa and Asia would only deepen the stalemate By the end of 1914 the popular opinion amongst the Europeans that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914 had disappeared For the citizenries the governments and the military officers were well aware that the war they intended to fight in August of 1914 was not going to be the war they would fight going forward HIST 388 Notes Week 3 Notable Figures A Notable Figures Wilhelm II 18591941 King of Prussia and Kaiser of Germany in WW1 Theobald von BethmannHollweg 18561921 Chancellor of Germany 1909 1917 Nicholas II 18681918 Tsar of Russia in WW1 Franz Josef I 18301916 King of Hungary and Emperor of Austria in WW1 Franz Ferdinand 18631914 Archduke of the Hapsburg Empire Austria Hungary 18751914 Raymond Poincar 18601934 President of France 19131920 George Clemenceau 18411929 Prime Minister of France 19061909 and 19171920 David Lloyd George 18631945 Prime Minister of Britain 19161922 Sir Edward Grey 18621933 Foreign Secretary of Britain 19051916 Winston Churchill 18741965 First Lord of the Admiralty of Britain 1911 1915 General Max von Hausen 18461922 Commander of the 3rd Army of Germany 19101920 General Helmuth Johann Ludwig von Moltke 18481916 Chief of the German General Staff 19061914 General Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg 18471934 Commander of the 8th Army of Germany 1914 Chief of the German General Staff 19161919 General Alexander von Kluck 18461934 Commander of the 1St Army 1914 1916 General Erich Ludendorff39 18651937 First General Quartermaster of Germany 19161918 Grand Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz 18491930 Secretary of State of the German Imperial Naval Office 18971916 Grand Duke Nicholas Romanov 18561929 CommanderinChief of the Russian Armies 19141915 General Paul von Rennenkampf39 18541918 Commander of the First Russian Army 19141915 General Alexsandr Samsonov 18591914 Commander of the Second Russian Army 1914 Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf 18521925 Chief of the General Staff of the Army and Navy of Austria Hungary 1906 1917 Joseph Gallieni 18491916 Minister of War for France 19151916 Marshal Joseph J offre 18521931 CommanderinChief of the French Armies on the Western Front 19141916 General No l Castelnau 18511944 Chief of Staff to Gen Joseph J offre 1912 1914 General of the 2nd Army 1914 1916 Marshal Ferdinand Foch 18511921 Commander of the French 9th Army 1914 and of Army Group North 19151916 Maurice Pal ologue 18591944 French historian of WWI Minister Plenipotentiary for France in Russia 1914 1917 Field Marshal Douglas Haig 18611928 CommanderinChief of the British Expeditionary Force BEF 19151918 Field Marshal Sir John French 18521925 CommanderinChief of the British Expeditionary Force BEF 19141915 General Sir Horace SmithDorrien 18581930 Commander of the 2nd British Army at Battle of Ypres 1915 Gavrilo Princip 18941918 BosnianSerb and Yugoslav nationalist member of the PanSerbian organization Black Hand Who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th 1914
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