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Why There Was Stalemate On The Western Front By December 1914.

909 words - 4 pages

There are several reasons for stalemate on the Western Front by December 1914, which include numerous faults in the strategies and implementation of the Schlieffen Plan, tactical and strategic problems, problems in communications and the incapability of the commanders. There was also a changing in offensive to defensive, poor trench conditions, poor equipment and supplies, and also low morale amongst both armies.Faults in the strategies and implementation of the Schlieffen Plan was a major reason for the formation of a stalemate on the Western Front. The Schlieffen Plan was held up unexpectedly by strong Belgian resistance, taking the Germans two weeks to take Brussels. Instead of sweeping around in a wide arc and approaching Paris from the west, the Germans found themselves heading to Paris just east of the city. They got within 32 kilometers of Paris, as the French government retreated to Bordeaux, yet closer they got the slower they went. This was thanks to several problems, including poor supplies and equipment. In Source C German General von Kuhl blames the "new telephone systems were much too weak and were not sufficiently equipped with the new apparatus" for their failure. Communications were a major hassle; with telephone lines constantly being cut by artillery and poor communications was maintained between infantry. There were also problems in keeping the armies supplied with food and ammunition and the troops became exhausted in the long marches in the August heat.The Schlieffen Plan was mainly flawed in its design as it depended on a strict timetable, dependent on the speed of railways rather than the speed of foot soldiers. Railways were often sabotaged and there was not enough rail tracks laid throughout Europe. German military commanders also departed from the Plan, which further undermined its success. The invasion of Belgium led to the involvement of the British, who were very important at Ypres, Mons and Marne. The German switching to the defensive was a drawback because the German Army was not trained for it. Also, the Schlieffen Plan relied upon numerical superiority over France, from its reserve troops. However, the reserves lacked the fitness and tactiacal skill that het Plan had anticipated, and hence stalemate grew closer as the hope for the Plan's success weakened.In September, the French attacked the Germans in the vitally important Battle of the Marne. It ruined the Schlieffen Plan; France would not be knocked out in six weeks, and now the Germans must fight a two front war. It was at times like these, after such a successful Allied victory that morale was high, but often morale was at dangerous lows. Such low morale can be seen in Source D,...

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