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Week 5- Total War

by: Austin McManus

Week 5- Total War HIST 388

Austin McManus
GPA 3.78
World War I
Harry Butowsky

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About this Document

This week's notes looks at the First World War from the angle of being a total war, in which the efforts of the entire population of a warring power (soldiers and civilians alike) is put forth in a...
World War I
Harry Butowsky
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Austin McManus on Wednesday September 30, 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 43 views. For similar materials see World War I in History at George Mason University.


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Date Created: 09/30/15
HIST 388 Notes Week 5 Total War Mons 1914 Verdun amp the Somme 1916 A World War 1 Total War Within six months following the outbreak of war in Europe the rulers politicians and highranking generals of the continental powers realized that the war would not be over by Christmas 1914 as a result many were asking the question What should we do next Replacing the commander of the German Forces General Helmuth von Moltke General Erich von Falkenhayn came to this realization sooner than others and thus had more time to concoct Germany s next move His response to the revelation of the true nature of the First World War expand the front to other regions of the world The other powers caught on and by the autumn of 1914 began attempting to bring other nations into the fight This expansion of the war front to Italy Rumania Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire by the end of 1915 combined with the entrance of modern warfare onto the battlefields of Europe intertwined and resulted in the First World War becoming a total war The populations of the war s participating nations put forth all of their energies in order to support the war effort 0 Mobilization brought the conscription of millions of young men as well as converting factory production from consumer goods to war materials 0 Throughout the war efforts by the populace in support of the war effort included rationing volunteering for the military noncombat roles such as administration and nursing taking the jobs of enlisted men in factories producing war materials and purchasing war bonds B Battle of Mons August 1914 Under the command of General Sir John French the British Expeditionary Force BEF made up two corps totaling appx 80000 troops landed into France in August of 1914 intending to support the French forces on their left ank against the swinging door of Germany s Schlieffen Plan Unaware of exactly where the German forces were in Belgium the BEF was caught by surprise when they encountered 160000 German troops double what the BEF had on mainland Europe at the time A single day of combat resulted in approximately 1500 British casualties and 5000 German casualties Despite comparatively lower casualties the Battle of Mons is Britain s rst experience with 20th century warfare C Battle of the Somme JulyNovember 1916 At the end of 1915 General Sir Douglas Haig who had commanded one of the two corps of the BEF upon its landing into France in 1914 replaced his former superior General French as CommanderinChief While planning the AngloFrench war strategy in 1915 Haig called for a British offensive at Flanders in an attempt to push the German Army back from the Belgian coast and end the threat of German submarine Uboat warfare being pursued against Belgium Marshal Joseph J offre CommanderinChief of the French Army at the time agreed with Haig by January 1916 and decided the next month to meet the British along the Somme River before marching to Flanders One week after J offre s decision however the Germans launched an offensive against the French at Verdun and J offre was forced to divert much of the French forces promised to the offensive at the Somme to hold the line at Verdun leaving thirteen divisions to support the twentyone British divisions who were waiting at the Somme By the end of May with the Battle of Verdun raging on hopes for the Anglo French offensive of Flanders that would leave from the Somme regressed from an ambitious end to German dominance in Belgium to a relief effort of French forces in Verdun by engaging in a battle of attrition against the Germans With a break in the fighting at Verdun in July both Germany and France sent support troops to Picardy and the Somme respectively they both aimed to divert the intense fighting at Verdun and temporarily weaken their respective enemy in order to gain any advantage at Verdun The Battle of the Somme in icted more than 1000000 total casualties over the course of four months and introduced a significant facet of modern warfare to the battlefield the tank Despite the British amp French gaining the most ground since the Battle of the Marne in 1914 the results of the battle are inconclusive amongst historians today D Battle of Verdun FebruaryDecember 1916 In The Price of Glory Verdun 1916 Alistair Horne argues that the Battle of Verdun was the First War in microcosm an intensi cation of all its horrors and glories courage and futility Home 327 The battle between France and Germany at Verdun in 1916 would earn its place as one of the longest ten months and most deadly battles appx 700000 total casualties in human history Verdun involved an intertwined relationship of attrition and trench warfare that included headon assaults against modern forts artillery bombardment and the rst instance of aerial combat colloquially known as dog ghting in human history


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