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Gcse History: Assignment one - First World War

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GCSE History: Assignment One - First World War

There are many different reasons for the First World War ending in 1918. The three main factors I'm going to examine are the entry of the USA into the war on the Allies side, the failure of the Ludendorff Offensive and the discontent in Germany. I will explain if each of these factors were equally important in bringing the First World War to an end. However there are other reasons for the war ending and these two will be investigated.

There are two main reasons why America joined the war. In 1917 the Germans started unrestricted submarine warfare. As a result German U-Boats could sink all ships sailing in British waters. Within eight weeks eight American ships had been sunk. America's patience finally ran out with the Zimmerman telegram. Arthur Zimmerman, Germany's foreign minister sent a telegram to one of his agents in Mexico suggesting they should make an Alliance with Germany. The Mexicans could then attack America's southern states such as Texas and Arizona. This was the last straw. America joined the war on the Allies side. They did not send troops straight away, instead they sent resources such as weapons, food supplies and munitious which were essential to the survival of Britain and France troops. The entry of USA to the war was a huge boost of morale for the Allies. They entered the war when it was most needed. Soldiers from the Allied countries were exhausted and needed help because of all the fighting they had done without any rest. This is where America helped out. Their army was that powerful they had the potential to win the war on their own. They had three times as many men as the other countries, twice as much ammunition and weapons, and a lot more resources. The reason for all of this is America are a very wealthy country, they could afford it all, and so far had stayed out of the war. The American military base provided troops and weapons. Troops were important because Allies had already lost a lot of men and didn't have many reserves. The weapons that America provided were also a very good use. Some of the weapons could take out large numbers of men in seconds. When the Germans found out that the USA had entered the war they tried to finish everyone off and win the war by launching the Ludendorff Offensive.

On the 3 March the Russians signed a peace treaty with Germany. The German army could now send all its troops to the Western Front. However time was running out for the Germans. They calculated it would take six months before the Americans began flooding into Europe to help the Allies. Germany's General Ludendorff decided to gamble everything he had on a final offensive to defeat the Allies before America began sending troops. Germany launched the offensive because America joined the war. On 21 March was the day Ludendorff launched his great offensive. He built up his army, and then sent them to wipe the Allies out. They launched this attack so they could catch the enemy out. The Allies would not be ready for this attack and would get over run. At first it seemed the German forces were unstoppable. They advanced 65 kilometres and by July it looked like they were in a position to attack Paris. In fact Ludendorffs gamble had failed. He had sent too many men forward and now he had no reserves to send after his exhausted army. Worse still his men could now be attacked from three sides. The French General Foch had kept men in reserve and American soldiers were now arriving at 50,000 a week. On the 8 August British forces sent 456 tanks to help the counter attack. From that point on the German army were in retreat. The Ludendorff Offensive had failed. The reasons for this attack failing are: He sent too many men at once and didn't save any for reserves. His army could be attacked from three sides and finally American soldiers were arriving at 50,000 a week. As a result for the offensive failing the German generals realised they could not win the war. They didn't give up though because if they did they knew they'd be blamed for the loss of the war. The launch of the offensive had a big impact on the German army. What was left of them, were tired and weak. This made the troops not want to carry on. The Allies were wondering if Germany were going to launch another attack. But Germany knew it was pointless, as they didn't have any soldiers, weapons or ammunition left.

I'm now going to write about the discontent in Germany in 1918. The conditions were absolutely terrible. For a start it was very cold and because of the Naval Block Aid there was no food. By 1918 the average adult German was living on 1000 calories a day Ð'- half the amount needed for a normal healthy diet. People in Berlin were only getting half of this so people were dying from starvation. There was worse to come. A killer virus, Spanish influenza, swept across Europe during the summer of 1918. Weak from years of hunger, 400,000 German civilians and 186,000 soldiers died of influenza in less than a year. On one day alone, 15 October, it killed 1700 people in Berlin. When the German army



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