The Great War had many causes both short and long term. In Europe in the early 1900’s the major powers were England, France, Germany Russia, and Austria Hungry. Each of these countries has an extreme sense of nationalism and imperialism that thrives on the glory of the battle. England in this time had stretched its empire all over the globe. Germany had one of the strongest armies in the world. France believed in “elan”, which was a sense of feeling or being within each Frenchman.
Elan was a sort of mystical charm that would encompass the soldier’s nationalism into the battle. This notion of glory and victory had spurred many of the wars that had come across Europe for thousands of years. There were many strategies during WWI. Russia in this time had the largest land army in the world. And by their huge force alone thought they could take down any country that was in their path. Germany also had a huge land army not as big as the Russians but trained and ready for the toughest battles. A couple of Germany’s plans started with success.
The Schlieffen plan or the “swinging door” was a plan for the Germans to pass through the Low Countries and swing down France and take the country. It started with some success but the English and French forces stopped the assault and quickly turned the swing door plan into a standstill. The standstill started a whole new type of strategy, trench warfare. For many miles through France trenches were built almost 50 yards apart. Between the two trenches open land where each army would wait for the other to approach giving up some land and then getting it back.
Because of industrialization in the late 19th century or 1800s, new fancy war weapons came into style such as machine guns, generic tanks from Britain, and early dogfighting planes. Machine guns could mow down any amount of people in a matter of seconds because of its velocity and mass firing power. To avoid those bullets each side dug ditches or trenches to take cover. Each side thought that by doing so, they could eventually take over the enemy by planting in.
Most Europeans of that time were stubborn and the Germans were known to be belligerent people and the French to save their hides and the war’s cause had no option to just not budge. English helped as well. Also, Germany came up with the Schlieffen Plan which was to fight two fronts: one in the west and in the east. They were killing Russians without much trouble but the English and French offered trouble so they had to stay in the western front and continue trench warfare in order to weaken the primary fighters in WWI.
Due to Trench Warfare the duration of the war was effected because it consisted of death because of infections from trench water: rain water that stayed in the trenches and often infected cuts. It was rat-infested do the soldiers never went hungry. The trench warfare for most of the war was at a stale mate. Germany also put in a naval blockade around England. With subs surrounding England there was no way to get goods in and out of the country The strategy was basically a war of attrition or to see who gives out first and then the visitor would infiltrate.
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