Account for the Reasons for the German Defeat in WWI Essay Sample

Account for the Reasons for the German Defeat in WWI Pages
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The overall reason of the German defeat in World War I was their inability to sustain a prolonged war of attrition, while the Allies could.

By the late war 1917-1918, the generals of both Allies and Germans knew they had to change their tactics in order to win the war. Ludendorff devised the plan of advancing quickly using specialised fast infantry called storm troopers. This was not a sound long term plan that would win them the war. Short term gains of land would be made by them and they proved effective, however due to their rapid advancement they would frequently overshoot their support and supply lines. Therefore they would usually be wiped out, causing failures in the German war plans, and thus leading to their defeat on the western front in 1918.

The German defeat in WWI was partly attributed to their inadequate home front in the late war. By 1918, most towns and cities were in revolt, and mutinies were experienced throughout many parts of the country-the first being the docks at Kiel. Because of the unrest throughout the country, it could not provide munitions or support for the western front towards the end of 1918. Raw resources were always scarce, but to add to this the Allies had blockaded Germany since 1917, creating a desperate situation for Germany’s war effort. Therefore the limitations of the home front significantly contributed to Germany’s loss in WWI.

One of the flaws to the German leadership during the war was that military decisions were often influenced by political factors and goals, which would inevitably lead to problems in their war plans. An example of this was when Russia surrendered to the Germans in 1917, Germans left 500,000 of their troops in Russia as an occupying force. This aggressive expansionism by Ludendorff proved to be a fatal mistake as had these troops been reallocated to the western front, they could have potentially succeeded in their Spring Offensive. Therefore the ineffective command of the military led to a German defeat.

Another key factor that disadvantaged the Germans in WWI was their allies. The German allies Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire were vastly inferior to that of the Allies in regards to military power, and were thus a liability. The German allies could not match the industrial power, reinforcements, or the supplies and ammunition of the Allies. They could not break through on their own fronts, and therefore could not support Germany on the western front. These disadvantages cost them the war.

However the most contributing factor that caused the German defeat in 1918 was Ludendorff’s failed Spring Offensive. He planned to reallocate most of the spare troops he had after the Russians surrendered to the western front, for one final push. This was a massive gamble, as if the Germans did not create a big enough impact that the Allies could fight back, they were exposed to an Allied counter attack. The push soon ground to a halt because the advancing storm troopers were left stranded with no support or supplies. Once the momentum was lost the Allies made a counter attack and gained significant amounts of land, resulting in the German surrender on 11th November 1918.

Overall, Germany was unable to maintain a prolonged war of attrition, which accompanied with problems with their leadership and strategies, resulted in them losing the war in 1918.

German Defeat:
The overall reason of the German defeat in World War I was their inability to sustain a prolonged war of attrition, while the Allies could.

Para 1: Change tactics
• By late war, both sides knew tactics had to change
• Ludendorff devised storm troopers; specialised fast infantry.
• As part of Spring Offensive
• Not long term plan-only short gains of land made
• Rapid advancement led to overshooting supply and support.
• Be wiped out causing failures in German plans

Para 2: Inadequate home front
• By 1918 most towns in revolt, many mutinies
• First mutiny was docks at Kiel
• Because of unrest could not adequately supply western front with food and munitions
• Resource situation made worse by British blockade 1917. Desperation in war effort
• Limitations of home front led to defeat

Para 3: Military leadership
• Flaw: military decisions often influenced by political factors-led to war plan problems • Example: after Russian surrender, Ludendorff left 500k men behind as occupying force • Part of his aggressive expansionism fatal mistake- could have sent troops to Western Front to assist in Spring Offensive • Could have succeeded in S.O

Para 4:
• Allies Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire vastly inferior to Allies in terms of military. • Could not match industrial power, reinforcements, supplies/ammunition of allies • Couldn’t win on their own fronts, unable to assist Germany on Western Front

Para 5: Spring Offensive
• Most contributing factor
• Moved most of eastern front forces to western front for final push. • Massive gamble- if not enough damage caused=Germans prone to Allied counter attack • Push ground to a halt when storm troopers left stranded without support • When momentum was lost Allies mounted Counter Offensive and took massive amounts of land • German surrender afterwards; 11th November 1918

Overall, Germany was unable to maintain a prolonged war of attrition, which accompanied with problems with their leadership and strategies, resulted in them losing the war in 1918.

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