Last Updated 21 Apr 2020

Why did the First World War end when it did?

Category Military, Wars, World War
Words 899 (3 pages)
Views 449

This was war on a scale that the world had never seen before, and Hough It would never see again. However, a question that Is often glossed over Is why the war ended on Armistice Day, at the eleventh hour. It is a combination of different events, all leading to the fact that Germany ran out of food, supplies, and manpower, and had to surrender. Furthermore, as America had entered the war the previous year, the Germans realized that they were going to lose, and that drawing it out would only Increase casualties and long-term effects. One of the reasons Germany was 'bled white', to use their own term, was the successful British Naval

Blockade, which caused mass starvation, and turned the country on itself with riots and the naval mutiny. The American president, Woodrow Wilson, had been campaigning for a ceasefire, which led to the US invasion of Germany, and when Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on the 9th November, the war was all but over. To begin with, the main reason for the end of the war was a simple lack of supplies on all sides, but Germany had especially been hit hard. Although both sides launched renewed offensives In early 1918 In a desperate attempt to win the war, both efforts failed.

The fighting between exhausted, demoralized troops continued to approach a stalemate until the Germans lost a number of individual battles and very gradually began to be pushed back. A deadly outbreak of influenza, meanwhile, took heavy casualties on both sides. Eventually, the governments of both Germany and Austria-Hungary began to lose control as both countries experienced multiple mutinies from within their military structures, and due to mass starvation, many call riots were held In Berlin. The naval war Is generally considered a side show In world

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War l: in fact it was a critical part of the war, with especially the naval blockade of Germany being hugely important. If the Germans were to be stopped it would have to be done by the French Army, but what the British did have was the Royal Navy. The Government ordered the Royal Navy to immediately cut the flow of raw materials and foodstuffs to Germany, which would not affect the German offensive, but it was the launch of a war of attrition which would ultimately play a major role In the Allied victory. Another factor that contributed to the end of the war was the introduction of

American troops into the fighting. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a special session of Congress to declare war on the German Empire, saying "We have war in a positive light, claiming it would "make the world safe for democracy" and that it would be a "war to end war". On April 6, 1917, Congress declared war, and in the end it was Germany's use of U-boats that pushed America into a corner and ultimately to declare war: on February 4th, 191 5, Germany announced that merchant shipping in a specified zone around Britain would be legitimate targets.

They added hat this would include neutral ships because many Allied ships had taken to flying the flag of a neutral nation to assist its safety. America's military build-up was (relatively) slow: General Perishing demanded a million men, to which the American Congress replied it could gather 420,000 by spring 1918. However, the anticipated influx of military supplies from America never materialized. For the most part the troops fought with equipment supplied by the Allies (including the recognizable helmet). American troops saw their first action in May 1918 in fighting alone at the Manner River.

In June 1918, Perishing ordered an all-out attack in the Saint-Mile area of Eastern France. Casualties were high but the attack forced a German retreat that (combined with other Allied offensives along the Western Front) put the entire German army on the back foot. In early October, the Americans pushed through the Argonne Forest. The German High Command began to crack in the face of the persistent Allied onslaught. General Ultrasound was forced to resign and flee to Sweden, a feeling of mutiny spread among the Kaiser's naval units, and the Kaiser myself was forced to abdicate on November 9.

On the other hand, the American assistance nearly came too late: as both sides desperately tried to gain the upper hand in 1918, Germany very nearly won an attack, as the American troops were delayed. Fortunately, Willow's men eventually arrived, and this attack can be regarded as the tipping point that signaled the final stages of the war. The war ended for a number of different reasons, all leading to the fact that there was no longer anything to fight with, or anyone to Join the German army.

Many Americans live that America won the war, and the truth is much more subtle: it is true that the war would have lasted longer without the Allied support of Woodrow Wilson, but it was not a war of tactics, but of attrition. There is no denying that the First World War was a catastrophic failure of humanity, and the questions of motivation have been analyses endlessly. I believe that the reasons for the peace treaty are equally interesting, and as it shows that some good can come from four years of atrocities, it is clear why we remember all those who have died in war on the 1 lath of November. Word count: 1019 Ben Phillips

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