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Lecture 5

HST702- Lecture 5 No End in Sight.docx

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HST 702
Tomaz Jardim

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HST702 September 25, 2013 Tomaz Jardim No End in Sight: To the Eastern Front, Ypres and Beyond 1 - Fighting the Two Front War o The German and Russian Armies - Germans want to go through Belgium to take France (Schlieffen Plan) - Belgium had a treaty with Great Britain guaranteeing their sovereignty and neutrality - Germans get through 25 miles to Paris, but get pushed back 75 miles - Trenches created - German army had a lot going for it  Very skilled general staff  Experimenting with new weapons  Exploring all the problems that they could face  Huge army filled with lots of enthusiastic nationalist recruits - Germany had an army of 800,000 soldiers in 1914  High standards, best weapons  First to grasp the potential of the machine gun - Germany had such a strong army because they stayed in the system for a very long time  Basically from 18 to 45 years of age - Germany is outnumbered 2:1 because hey have to fight the Russians AND the French/British - Germans get stuck in France, Russians take the opportunity to attack - Russia is under pressure to aid the Serbians - Russians face new pressure from France (they have an alliance)  Alliance with France is more important than alliance with Serbia - Tsar creates two separate armies that will fight two separate wars  Russians attack Germany from the east, compromising Germany's position, helping France  Second army comes to the aid of Serbia, attacking Austria-Hungary, taking the weight off Serbia  Attack eastern most province - Russians have 1.5M men in active duty (huge ass army)  Reflection of backwardness of Russian society  Peasant society = peasant army  Illiteracy  1/3 of Russia's army couldn't be supplied with rifles so they got oak clubs  They made a line behind the soldiers with guns and picked up guns when they were taken down - Huge amount of friction between everyday Russian soldiers and the elites who led them into battle 2 - The Russian Attack on Germany o The Fight for East Prussia - Russians mobilized more quickly than von Schlieffen had thought they would - Time was of the essence for Russia - They want to fight them when Germany wouldn't expect it - 15 August 1914, Russian Northern army backstabbed Germany  Rennenkampf's army attacked on the East in East Prussia  Samsonov's army attacked further to the south - Germany in trouble  They attack full frontal to the East (Rennenkampf)  Commander of the 8th army proposes massive retreat back to German territory, surrendering East Prussia to Russia  Kaiser says hell no o Hindenburg and Ludendorff to the Rescue! - First clear heroes of WWI - Hindenburg fought in the Franco-Prussian war - Comes out of retirement to aid the German army - Old war hero - stability/nobility - Ludendorff is Hindenburg's chief of staff - They can’t fight both armies at once, so they leave a single unit to wait for Rennenkampf's army - Turn all of their attention towards Samsonov's army o The Battles of Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes - 50,000 Russians killed and 90,000 taken prisoner - Hindenburg and Ludendorff presented this as one of the biggest vitro ties in history - Samsonov’s forces destroyed to the south - Move all of their forces to the east to meet Rennenkampf - September 13th, Russians have been totally repelled by the Germans - 70,000 Russians dead, 130,000 taken prisoner - Hindenburg and Ludendorff seen as heroes that saved Germany 3 - The Austro-Hungarian Campaigns o General Conrad and the war in Galicia and Serbia - Austro-Hungarians not up for fighting the Russian army - Lacked resources to have a large army - Standing army of 480,000 men - Proved incompetent of having military - You can't build a cohesive force out of minorities whoa re not loyal to the empire - They turn to Germany for help -
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