Why Germany Lost the First World War
Why Germany lost the First World War The First World War ended with the triple entente as victorious (with help from the Americans). Some reasons to why the allies won the war were because of; Germany had to fight a war on two fronts, the unstable political situation in Germany, the allied naval blockade, German economy, failure of the schlieffen plan, interception of the Zimmerman telegram, the German naval blockade on Britain (sinking of American ships), development of the tank and anti-submarine weapons, the advancement of new technology that required new tactics.
The Naval blockade The British blockade was a key factor in the defeat of Germany. Starved of supplies, the German army was weakened and the German people lost some of their will to support the war. The war at sea was one of the main factors that contributed to Germany’s defeat. To help the British navy survive against the German submarines the British used several different techniques to stop their boats from being destroyed. The British used mines and depth charges.
Also to reduce the allied shipping losses all merchant ships travelled with a military convoy which provided protection to the merchant ships. When the convoy formation was applied the allied shipping losses decreased by 20%. Another technique used was Q ships. Q ships were merchant ships with disguised heavy guns. Q ships were the reason that German submarines stopped warning the enemy ship that it was about to attack. The effect of the British blockade of Germany was that there were 300,000 deaths that were related to malnutrition and starvation during 1914-1918 among civilians.
The blockade also cut supply chain of nitrate that was used to make explosives and also used in fertilizers. Weaponry The tank was a British invention. It was first used at the battle of the Somme. The tanks advanced in front of the infantry, crushing barbed wire fences and spraying the enemy with machine-gun fire. Yet the tank was very unreliable since half of them broke down before reaching the German trenches, also the tanks were not very agile they moved at first only at a walking pace and the tanks were not very maneuverable.
Also the Germans used poison gas (first used in Spain) to fight the enemy this weapon was very effective in the war, yet this weapon was unreliable due to its dependence on the direction of the wind. Since if there was a sudden change of direction in the wind the poison that was just released could be swept back against the Germans. Due to the circumstances of the war as it changed from a quick and rapid war to a static war with the use of trench warfare and competition of modern weaponry. Failure of the Schlieffen plan
The German plan was to sweep towards France thinking that Russia would be very slow in mobilizing its troops. The plan was to sweep in through Belgium (Germany thought that there was not going to meet any resistance from Belgium and also not it did not think that it would be violating the treaty of London), then sweep in towards Paris and invade France. After France had been invaded they would direct their forces towards Russia whom they thought would be very slow mobilizing its troops. The Germans were wrong about the Belgians, the Russians and the English.
The Belgians put up great resistance there by slowing the advance of the German troops. The Russian army was a lot quicker to mobilize than expected so now Germany was ending up doing what they wanted to do the least fight a war on two fronts. The Belgians slowed down the German troops long enough for the entente troops to arrive to meet the German troops. Due to the equality in strength this led to a race to water in effort to bypass the other army. This led to trench warfare. The Germans were not prepared to do this type of war, they did not have the resources to do this due to the british naval blockade.
Concerning the Schleiffen plan there were a few severe miscalculations that led to gargantuan problems, the Germans had miscalculated the amount of soldiers, supplies and communication that required to be transported across the country from east to west and back. This miscalculation was not expected due to Germany thinking that Russia would be slow to mobilize and thereby give Germany time to first beat the French then later turn all their forces towards the east to face Russia. Weak Allies
Germany had chosen her allies badly, they had allied themselves to the decaying Austrian Empire, Ottoman Empire and Italy. Germany had chosen badly when relying on Italy to help out in the war since as soon as war was declared Italy pulled out of the alliance. Also Germany had to constantly assist the Austrian Empire in protecting their own territory. This led to problems as this exhausted troops that would and should have been sent to fight the war in the trenches. Germany also sent supplies that should have been sent to the soldiers fighting on the front line.
If Germany had stronger and more reliable allies then the outcome of the war would have been different. Political Unrest As the war went on and millions died Germany’s censored propaganda released only tales of glorious combat and victory. As this propaganda continued the nation was starting to suffer from the naval blockade. As thousands were dying the nation was releasing posters saying how well the war was going. The false propaganda started unrest inside the German nation, the unrest came from both outside the government yet also from inside.
The socialists wanted to seize the power and take control of the nation, whilst this was happening inside the country soldiers were starting some unrest as arguments and some minor protests came up, these protests led to mutiny on the seas. The involvement of USA The Germans also tried to make a naval blockade of their own on Britain. They also included a policy of “unrestricted submarine warfare against all ships that they suspected were carrying supplies to britain”. This was very effective since the British were suffering from the shortages of supplies.
Yet the germans also sank a great amount of American ships which helped bring the Americans into the war. When the Americans discovered the Zimmerman telegram about how Germany hoped to ally itself with mexico against them the final song had been sung. USA declared war on Germany on April 1st 1917. The war devastated Europe, it changed the geography of countries for a very long time, it destroyed empire such as; the Austrian Empire, The Russian Empire, the German Empire and later the Ottoman Empire.