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8 Pages Topic Notes Year: Pre-2019

Outline the reasons for the stalemate. -­‐ The stalemate can be attributed to the failure of the Schlieffen Plan. The plan was initially audacious; it suggested that Germany would rapidly defeat France and, thereafter, retreat to the Eastern Front to launch an offensive against Russia (which would take 6 weeks to mobilise). Russia, however, mobilised within a mere ten days and, thus, Germany did not have the strength the plan had envisaged. The decision made by General Von Kluck, the commander of the 1st Army, to move east rather than encircle the capital was disastrous; it provided allied which the time to organise a counter attack. -­‐ The Battle of Marne in 1914 forced the Germans to retreat and, ultimately, establish trenches near the Aisne River. This ended the war of movement and initiated the “race to the sea”; the armies began to engage in a series of outflanking manoeuvres as they attempted to catch the seaports. This, however, created the Western Front as both armies “dug in”. -­‐ Ultimately, the defensive nature of trench warfare and its mechanisms (heavy artillery and machine guns) were adept for a war of attrition rather than a war of movement. -­‐ The reconnaissance of the enemy was poor. -­‐ Both the Allies and the Germans had equivalent access to resources through railway networks and, thus, neither had a particular advantage.

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