Conduct and Character of WWI



I. THE CONDUCT OF THE GREAT WAR

A. THE WAR: 1914-1916


1. The Western Front

The Schlieffen Plan (enveloping movement) - failed. It was modified by Moltke which weakened the important right wing; furthermore, the French General Staff under Joffré recovered. This led to the First Battle of the Marne (Sept. 5-12) which totally wrecked the plan. The only thing left to do was to retreat to Aisne. A race to the sea then took place. Of course, Plan17 of the French also failed, as it was bound to.

2. The Eastern Front

Two Russian armies invade, one attacks East Prussia striking north from Poland and another strikes south against Austria-Hungary from Poland. But Hindenburg and Ludendorff defeat the Russians in East Prussia at the Battle of Tannenberg (August 25-30) and the Battle of the Masurian Lakes (September 4-10). This ended the threat of invasion by Russia. But the Russians win victories against the Austrians and take Galicia with fearful losses. Meanwhile the Germans counter-attack in Poland. By the end of 1914 the Russian campaign is at a standstill.

In 1915 the German offensive takes Warsaw and Vilna, delivering 1,000,000 casualties to the Russian. Another Russian offensive in 1916 (Brusilov) is no longer a serious menace to Central Powers.

3. The Balkans

4. Italy

5. The War at Sea

6. German Submarines

B. THE WAR: 1916

1. Verdun and the Somme

2. Russia and Rumania

C. THE WAR: 1917 - The Critical Year

1. Western Front

2. Entrance of the U.S.A. in April 1917

3. Withdrawal of Russia

4. The Russian Revolutions

In the March Revolution

In the November Revolution

D. THE WAR AND THE ARMISTICE: 1918

1. The Final German Effort

2. Failure of the Submarine

3. Allied success in the Near East

4. Breakdown in Germany

5. Armistice

E. PEACEMAKING: 1919

1. Wilson is the dominant figure

2. Organization

a. Plenary session - January 18, 1919 - after that rare

b. Work done in committees

c. Council of Ten : Big Four (George, Clemenceau, Wilson, Orlando) and Big Three :

- Lloyd George

- Clemenceau

- Wilson



II. THE CHARACTER OF THE GREAT WAR

A. The character of the the conflict

B. The early illusions

C. The failure of strategy and of military technique

D. Psychological shocks and attrition of morale

E. The Balance Sheet

1. Ten to thirteen million dead:

2. Twenty million are wounded

3. France is devastated

4. Vienna and Berlin near starvation

5. Influenza, typhus, cholera took millions

6. Social revolution in Central and Eastern Europe