Thursday, 14 June, 2012

The Year 1915 of the First World War

Hi Viewers,
In the last post we discussed about the starting events of the First World War. After reading this post the picture of the First World War will become more clearer to you. Here discussed are the main events of the year 1915. The trench warfare in the First World War was a major tactic and was very effective for both the powers. Trench lines were created and acted as a great barrier towards advancements. Trenches basically served the purpose of defending a territory and was thus a defense tactic. These lines were manned 24/7 during the wars. These even played a vital role in the Second World War, but we will discuss that later.
Diagram of a Trench
Now, as the war continued the several attempts were made to break the trench lines. The Germans attacked at Ypres, the British attacked at Neuve Chapelle and Loos and the French at Champagne. Many attacks like these failed until the year 1918. There were many difficulties of the trench warfare.

  • A quick surprise attack was quite impossible because of the availability of barbed wire on no man's land and it had to be cleared by artillery bombardment before an attack;
  • Observation balloons and reconnaissance aircraft could spot troops before hand;
  • A frontal attack was suicide because of the increased fire power the machine guns and magazine rifles;
  • Even after the capturing of a trench line advancement was difficult because the ground ahead had been churned up by artillery barrages and more machine guns were always waiting;
  • And after the capturing of a trench the ground was very difficult to defend because it formed a bulge in the (salient) in the trench lines and the flanks of the salients were vulnerable to attack and the troops could be surrounded and cut off;
  • A new trick used by the Germans at Ypres was the usage of poison gas but when the direction of the wind changed the gas flew back to there own lines and also when the Allies released some gas of there own the Germans suffered more casualties than the Allies.
On the eastern front the fortunes of the Russians were mixed because they had mostly succeeded against Austria but whenever they met the Germans they faced defeat who had captured Poland and Warsaw. The Turkish blockade of the Dardanelles was beginning to hamper the Russian who were already running short of arms and ammunitions. The Gallipoli campaign was launched to counter this blockade so than the Russian's supply route could come back to action. This idea was strongly pressed by Winston Churchill ( First Lord of the Admiralty ). The Turks were considered the weakest of the Central powers because of their unstable government.  

This campaign turned out to be a total failure. The first attempt was made in March 1915 which was an Anglo-French Naval attack but was compromised because the ships ran into a series of mines and the advantage of a surprise attack was lost. Later on when the British attempted landings at the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915, the Turks had already strengthen their defenses and therefore further advancements could not be made. More further landings by the Australian and New Zealand troops in the Anzacs during the month of April and by British troops in August were both useless because the positions captured were held with utmost difficulties and thus the entire force was withdrawn in the month of December. The consequences of this campaign were serious because the hopes helping the Russians were through the Black Sea were lost. This made Bulgaria to join the Central Powers. A Franco-British force landed at Salonika in neutral Greece to relieve Serbia but it was already too late because it was Serbia was already overrun by the Bulgarians and Germans. In December a British force was sent to protect the oil interests of the Anglo-Persian against the possible attack of the Turkish became bogged down in Mesopotamia and as it approached Bagdad it was besieged by the Turks at Kul-el-Amara from December 1915 until March 1916, when it was forced to surrender.
British Forces led by Turks at Kul-el-Amara
Italy wanted to seize the Austria's Italian-speaking province as well as the territory along the eastern shore of the Adriactic Sea. Thus a secret treaty was signed in London in which the Allies promised the territory of Trentino, the South Tyrol, Istria, Trieste, part of Dalmatia, Adalia, some islands in the Aegean Sea and a protectorate over Albania to Italy. The Allies did this because the hoped that by keeping thousands of Austrian troops occupied, the Italians would relieve pressure on the Russians but the Italians made a little progress and their efforts made no difference to the eventual defeat of the Russians, thus the year 1915 was not a good year for the Allies.
This is all for this post and in the next post we will be talking about the great battles of Verdun and Somme. We will also discuss about the War at Sea, the Battle of Jutland and the Submarine Warfare.
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Thank You.

Saturday, 9 June, 2012

Starting of the First World War

Hi Viewers,
In the last post we told you that how and what were the main events that led to the outbreak of the First World War. We know that the war started in the year 1914 and lasted till 1918 until the settlement of the Versallies. To sum up with once again we would like to tell you the main countries involved in the First World War.

The Allies -
  • Britain
  • France
  • Russia (left in December 1917)
  • United States of America (entered in 1917)
  • Italy (entered in May 1915)
  • Romania (entered in August 1916)
  • Belgium
  • Serbia
The Central Powers -
  • Germany
  • Austria-Hungary
  • Bulgaria (entered in October 1915)
  • Turkey (entered in November 1914)
Starting of the First World War (1914) -
The Schlieffen Plan
The First World War turned out to be much more than it was anticipated. Many anticipated that the war will not last longer and fade out like the recent wars before it. On 3 August 1914, German troops entered Belgium with a view to put their Schlieffen Plan to success. [The Schlieffen Plan proposed the moving of German troops through Belgium and capture their channel ports and the flank Paris(France) from the west and south which will ultimately result in surrounding of the French armies within 6 weeks of time.] The Schlieffen Plan failed because it took Germany more than two weeks take Brussels the Belgian capital. The delaying of the plan gave the opportunity to the 
The Battle of Marne
British of mobilizing themselves and leaving the channel ports free so that the British Expeditionary Force could land. The Germans threw away from the plan because of the shortage of time and instead of capturing the channel ports they headed straight for Paris through the east. They even penetrated within twenty miles of the city and the French government shifted to Bordeaux. The German impetus slowed as the advanced towards the city. The main problem was supplies as they could not reach the troops in time and they got exhausted in the August heat. Then in September the French under Joffre attacked the Germans and drove them back to the River Aisne (Battle of Marne) where the Germans were able to dig trenches. The Battle of Marne was of critical importance because it totally ruined the Schlieffen Plan and the hopes of a short war were dashed,  the Germans now had to face full-scale war on the two fronts which they had never intended, trenches were dug and the lines eventually stretched form the Alps to the Channel coasts and lastly the British navy had time to bring its blockade into action for the German ports.
The Battle of Tannenburg
In the east the Russian mobilized faster than Germany and made a huge mistake of invading both Germany and Austria-Hungary at the same time. They were sucessfull in Austria capturing the province of Galicia but they were defeated twice in Germany at Tannenburg in August and Masurian Lakes in September. The Germans eventually drove the Russian out of Germany under the command of Hindenburg who was brought out of retirement for the war. In these battles the Russian lost vast amount arms, ammunitions and equipment which had taken years to build up. Russia never recovered from this setback where on the other side German morale was boosted. At this point the Serbs drove out an Austrian invasion which also was a plus point for the Allies.

These events basically marked the starting of the war and as we have written before that the war turned out much more than it was anticipated. In our next post we will continue to mark further events and learn about Trench warfare, the Falkenhayn's invasion of Russia 1915 and much more. Please don't forget to share and comment. Thank You.

Events leading upto the Outbreak of the First World War

Hi Viewers,
Science states that there is a reason behind every things that happens. Nothing in this world happens unreasonably. So here when we talk about the outbreak of the First World War there were some critical events leading to the outbreak of it. The main events are listed below -
  • The Moroccan Crisis ( 1905-1906 ) - The Germans attempted to check the Anglo-French 'Entente Cordiale' (1904) which signed between Britain, France and Russia. They announced that Germany will assist the Sultan of Morocco in maintaining the country's independence. The Germans demanded an international conference to discuss the country's future which was held at Algeciras in Southern Spain in January 1906. The result of the confrence was that, Britain, Russia, Italy and Spain supported the French demand to control the Moroccon Bank and Police. This was a major diplomatic defeat for Germany which made them realized that Britain and France were a force to be reckoned with.
Map of Morocco

  • The British and Russian Agreement (1907) - For years Britian has viewed Russia as a mojor threat to their intrests in the Far East and India but after the defeat of Russia by Japan in (1904-1905) had weakened Russia and alsoo the Russians were looking forward to end the long-standing rivalry and were anxious to attract British investment for thier industrial modernization programme. The agreement settled this dispute. The agreement wasn't a military agreement and surely not an anti-German move, but the Germans saw it as threat that the Triple Entente were encircling them.
  • The Bosnia Crisis (1908) - The crisis occured because the Austrians took advantage of the revolution in Turkey and annexed the Turkish province of Bosnia. The state of Serbia also wanted to annex the state because it contained about 3 million Serbs, among its mixed population of Serbs, Croats and Muslims but because Austria had already annexed the province it came as a serious blow to Serbia. Serbia then appealed for help to their for fellow Slavs, the Russians, who demaned a European confrence, expecting British and French support. Ultimately it became clear that Germany would support Austria if war broke out. The British and French did not wanted to engage themselves with Germany and were unwilling to become a part of the war in the Balkans. Russia dared not risked an other war without the help of its allies because Russia was still recovering from her defeat in the war with Japan. At the end there was no help for Serbia and no confrence was held, Austria held on to the Bosnian Province. This was a triumph for the Austro-German alliance, but it had unfortunate results that Serbia remained bitterly hostile to Austria and secondly, the Russians focused themselves on a massive military build-up to avoid any further humiliation so that if Serbia appealed for help again they could do so.

  • The First and Second Balkan Wars (1912 and 1913) - The first Balkan war began when the Balkan League (Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria) attacekd Turkey and captured most her remaining territory in Europe. Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary, with the German government arranged a peace confrence in London. He wanted to avoid spreading of the conflict and proposed that Britain and Germany could still work together. The settlement divided the former Turkish lands among the Balkan states. Serbia wass not happy because it wanted Albania, which would give them an outlet to sea, but the support of Germany and Britain, Austria insited that Albania should become an independent state. The result of Albnia becoming an independent state was that it prevented Serbia from becoming more powerful. The second Balkan war (1913) began because of the dissattisfaction of the Bulgarians of the peace settlement. They wanted the Macedonian province but most of the Macedonian territory was given to Serbia so Bulgaria attacked Serbai but Bulgaria was defeated and lost most of the gains of the first war by the Treaty of Bucharest (1913) because Serbia was backed by Greece, Romania and Turkey. There were some serious consenquences of both the Balkan wars. Serbia had strengthened and was determined to cause trouble among both Serbs and Croats living inside Austria-Hungary, and behind it the Austrian wanted to put an end to the Serbian ambition and lastly the German took Grey's willingness to co-operate as a sign that Britain was prepared to be detatched from France and Russia.

  • The assassination of the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand - This was the event that sparked off the immidiate outbreak of the First World War. The event took place in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 when the Archduke, nephew and heir to the Emperor Franz Josef, was payin an official visit to Sarajevo, the Bosnian capital, when he and his wife were shot dead by a Serb terrorist, Gavrilo Princip. The Austrians blamed the Serb government and sent a stiff ultimatum. Most of the terms were accepted by the Serbian government but the Austrian with the help of German support were determined to use this incident as an excuse for a war and so Austria-Hungary on 28 July declared war on Serbia. The Russian ordered a general mobilization not to led down the Serbs again on 29 July. The German government demanded the cancellation of mobilization (31 July) and when the Russian did not comply the Germans declared war on Russia (1 August) and on France (3 August). Britain had promised to keep Belgian neutrality in the war but when the Germans entered into Belgium the British demanded their withdrawl but the Germans did not comply and Britain entered into the war (4 August). Later on 6 August, Austria declared war on Russia and the other countries joined later.