The End of the Stalemate on the Western Front
The stalemate on the Western Front had been going on for several
years, and the morale of the Allies was pretty low. Woodrow Wilson had
Americans arriving however, but before any actually died, he offered
peace to the Germans in an attempt to end the war before any did die.
Ludendorff, however, had some new tactics in operation, and the
Germans were winning. They now had the advantage of around 1,000,000
more men from the Eastern Front where the Russians had mutinied and
overthrown their Royal family and become communists. He rejected what
is known as 'The Fourteen Points', confident that the Germans could
end the war soon. His plan involved sending 'Storm troopers', highly
trained and equipped soldiers, as reinforcements during offensives.
Inevitably, there were going to be some breakthroughs, and some halts.
Instead of following the old tactics of sending reinforcements to help
attack these areas, Ludendorff sent the storm troopers to capitalise
on the breakthroughs, and then sweeping throughout the trenches. On
the 21st of March, the Germans assaulted the Somme front, the weakest
part of the Allied trench line. The new tactic was more successful
than Ludendorff or anyone else could have hoped for. The Germans
attacked with the element of surprise on their side, since there was a
thick fog, and there had been no German offensive for two years. The
Germans suddenly started shooting several thousand artillery guns at
once along a 40-mile front, and kept firing for five hours. The
Germans set off explosives under the British lines, and the Germans
went started attacking with soldiers. The weakened British line was
pushed back. Over the course of the next few weeks, the Germans
advanced until they were within 35 miles of Paris. They had advanced
further in two weeks than they had during the whole of the stalemate,
which had lasted for several years.
However, the Germans had exhausted themselves. They had also outpaced
their supplies and artillery. Many Germans also stopped to loot the
French towns and villages, and many Germans also became drunk.
Germany's first effort to win the war in 1918 had failed. The next
German offensive took place in April near Ypres. The salient flattened
out by withdraws maid voluntarily by the British, and hardened
defences eventually held the Germans. In May 1918, the Germans
attacked across the River Aisne. Several British and French troops
were crammed into the front lines, with no defence in depth, and had
only about half a day's warning of the attack. An extremely
destructive bombardment was created, and then 30 divisions of Germans
overwhelmed the Allied lines, and they advanced 10 to 12 miles in the
first day alone. Soon they came to within 50 miles of Paris, but were
once again slowed down by...