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Chapter 3

HIS242_Paxton_Ch3.docx

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Department
History
Course
HIS242H1
Professor
All Professors
Semester
Fall

Description
1 Europe in the Twentieth Century Notes Chapter 3: The Marne and After, 1914-1917 August 1914: More than 5million young men enlist without opposition  Popular animosities already enflamed o Fanned by propaganda o Nationalist intellectuals War Fever Each government excels at portraying the other side as the aggressor.  London o German shops damaged o German music dropped from orchestra programs o German sauerkraut renamed “liberty cabbage” o Stories of Belgian atrocities/execution of Edith Cavell (Oct 1915) fuel animosity against Germany  Germany o Defence of German Kultur against sly, mercantile English and decadent French/Slavs  France o Defense of humanitarian liberty against the Prussians  Austria-Hungary o All ethnic groups rally enthusiastically against Russia  Except some South Slavs and Czechs  Russia o Summer 1914: near state of revolution o War is declared  Popular enthusiasm surprises the Russian rulers  Bourgeois o Feeling of release from Bourgeois restraints  Gives positive allure to soldiers Everyone believes the war will be short:  Every European conflict since 1815 lasts but a few weeks  Belief that long war is “impossible in an age when the existence of the nation is founded upon the uninterrupted continuation of trade and industry”  Paul Leroy-Beaulieu calculates that war cannot last more than 6 months (math)  British Admiralty stocks only 6 months supply of naval fuel  Soldiers are told they will be home by Christmas 2 I) A Dilemma for the Socialists o Pre1914: Socialists planning a general strike in case of war  Predicted by Marxist analysis o 1914: war resembles none of the hypothetical wars of planning  Each nation feels it is the victim  Supports their government decisions  Calls of strikes  Feels the opposition’s victory would set socialism back  Exceptions:  Serbia  two nays  Russia:  14 Russian Social Democrats (Bolsheviks) and 11 members of the Labour Party walk out  Italy  supportive of government decision to avoid war o No strikes materialize in any country II) War and Social Peace o Most Europeans need no convincing of their duty to fight  France  Predicted draft rate: 13%  Creation of secret list of socialist leaders “Carnet B”  1914: 1.5% refusal rate  England  Labour Party leaders  Ramsay MacDonald  Philip Snowden  Oppose war o Ditched by rank and file o Forced to resign o Pacifism is a minority current o Europe enters war in a mood of enthusiastic national unity with the working class support completely assured  France: Union sacrée  Germany: Kaiser Wilhelm announces no enemies within state  Burgfrieden: internal truce of a besieged fortress  Foreign war created domestic peace  Russia: strikes called to an end, draft obeyed without incident o Internal harmony would never be as complete as it was in August 1914 3 The First Battle of the Marne o 4 August: German armies cross Belgian frontier with 7/8 of her armies to encircle and knock out France in one decisive blow o 18 August: German armies sweeping in an arc towards Paris o French armies launched bulk of attack eastward to recapture Alsace-Lorraine  This plays into the Shlieffen Plan, attempting to enfold as many French troops as possible into the pocket of wheeling German forces  Last moment of chivalric soldiery  French are decimated by artillery fire o Early September: Germans reaching Paris at the Marne River  September 6-10: French-British counter-attack: The First Battle of the Marne o German problems…  Some units cover too many miles… outstrip artillery and supplies  Army chief of staff General Helmut von Moltke is ill  Communication is difficult…distances are hard to cover by mounted couriers th o September 6 : French reserves in Paris are rushed out by taxi to attack exposed German flank (First Army led by General Alexander von Kluck)  British Expeditionary Force push through the gap between Kluck and Second Army  September 10 : Germany army falls back along Marne, Paris is saved o Trench warfare begins…  Each side digs trenches for shelter  This leads to stalemate  Each tries to outflank the other in a series of “endruns” that move north west until they reach the coast  Trenches run 300 miles from Belgian North Sea coast to borders of Switzerland o First Battle of the Marne sets conditions that prevail for the rest of the war:  Ends expectation of short war  War is to be long so home fronts dragged in  Strategy: how to break through the trenches to restore decisive war of movement and end the war  Trench life: boredom versus carnage o France nor Germany are defeated at the Marne… prewar European society is. The Eastern Front o War of movement o Not trench warfare o Expectations dashed…  Russians advance through Germany’s 1/8 armed forces  Austrians aren’t able to annihilate the Serbs before Russians pose threat  Russia advances to East Prussia/Austrian Poland in the opening weeks  Temporary successes… 4 I) Tannenberg and the Masurian Lakes, 1914 o Outnumbered Germans separate two Russian armies  Defeat them one at a time th  August 30 : Tathenberg  September 15 : Masurian Lakes o General Paul von Hindenburg and chief of staff General Erich Ludendorff gain formidable reputations o Russia doesn’t pose a serious threat to German territory in the north again II) The Austrian Fronts (1914-1915) o Galicia: unexpectedly strong Russian showing  General Conrad von Hotzendorf obliged to draw best droops from Serbian front to meet Russians  Leads to losses on both fronts  Russia takes Galicia in 1914 and threatens the Hungarian Plain across Carpathian Mountains  December 1914: Serbian troops have thrown off Austrians twice  May 1915: Italy joins the Entente  Opens another southern front against Austria-Hungary  May 2 1915: Hindenburg and Ludendorff get fresh German-Austrian forces to batter Russian line in Galicia  Great Russian Retreat of 1915 o 15% of territory lost o 10% of railroads lost o 30% of industries lost o 20% of population lost o casualties: 2.5 million wounded, killed, captured o April 1915: British-French landing at Gallipoli  Goal: push into the Straits and ward off Turks (new German allies) from their continual attack on Russian forces  FAIL o September 1915: Bulgaria joins the Triple Alliance in a final attack on Serbia  Allies respond by sending most of Gallipoli contingent to Greek port Salonika  FAIL  they are entrapped for most of the war  Serbian army forced into retreat up to Adriatic Sea  100,000 survivors picked up by Allied ships th  1/6 of population dead to battle, epidemic, famine o 1916: Erich von Falkenhayn (new German chief of staff) turns attention to West  Hotzendorf is left to follow his own plan… leaves sparse coverage following Trentino campaign in June  Alexei Brusilov, Russian general, recovers most of Galician grounds lost in 1915  No backup…unable to exploit breach into Hungary  Final spurt of energy from Russians  Last great Eastern campaign 5 The Search for Breakthrough in the West Post-Marne stalemate is a tactical novelty…political and military leaders are slow to adapt to this: o Moltke o Falkenhayn o Joseph Joffre o Ferdinand Foch o Schooled in war of movement and maneuver Post-Marne efforts are an attempt to get back to the familiar tactics of movement. I) Assaults “Over the Top” o Basic problem:  How to open a gap in opposing line  In face of machine gun fire  Get enough men and equipment through the gap to the exposed flanks  Solution #1:  Mass: men and a
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