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Reason For Germany Losing The Wwi History Essay


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When recalling World War I, many historians believe that Germany became the underdog of the war. How did they come to this conclusion? According to one historian, Fritz Fischer, Germany was responsible for World War I. His theory states that the Mitel Europa is the cause for Germany's loss. Mitel Europa is the objective of Germany in which they were to expand their land from the Ukraine on the West, until France on the East. This idea of Mitel Europa was further demolished in the treaty of Versailles, when Germany lost much of their domination. In the treaty of Versailles, Germany lost to their overseas colonies, their army was restricted to 100,000 men, only 6 battleships allowed in their navy, no U-boats or air force allowed, no General Staff, and Germany and her allies became publicly responsible for the war. Also, according to the War Guilt Clause (which was article 231 in the Treaty of Versailles) of 1918, Germany and her allies were to pay reparations for the war. Overall, Germany was responsible for the war, and they had more at risk than the other countries that were involved in World War I. Germany lost the Great War due to corruption in nationalism, militarism, and internal problems on the homefront.

In the years 1914 to 1915, German militarism collapsed. By 1914, mobilization proved to be an immense problem for Germany with the failure of the Schlieffen Plan. For example, during the Battles of Morhauge and Frontiers on the Western Front, the Schlieffen Plan failed due to the trepidation of the commander of the German Army, who was Commander Moltke. Next, in May 1915, another crisis occurred, propelling the German loss even further away from a victory. The voyage of the Lusitania was advertised to Americans as an unsafe passage to Britain. This advertisement was created by the Germans as a warning to all American passengers, but the Americans refused to believe it. Because of the ignorance of many Americans, the journey continued. Sadly, it took just one torpedo to sink this "ËÅ“unsinkable ship.' Consequently, Woodrow Wilson was furious, declaring this as "ËÅ“an attack against war ethics' due to the fact that a civilian ship was carrying ammunition. In retaliation, Wilson then publicly threatened to break diplomatic ties with Germany. With the sinking of the Lusitania, it was impossible for the United States to enter the war on the side of the Germans because American lives were lost, and because there were American lives in jeopardy. Finally, in December of the same year, Great Britain, Russia, and France met at Chantilly to coordinate offensives, which left Germany's only ally as Austria-Hungary.

Between 1916 and 1917, nationalism was affected by the loss of battles. In 1916, the Great War could be described in two words: bloodshed and stalemate.

T he Battle of Jutlan was the largest sea battle of the entire war. It occurred in 1916 and it was seized Germany's only opportunity to destroy Great Britain's navy. Two new German commanders, Scherer and Hipper, planned to lure Great Britain into a small area of water where they would be counterattacked. Unfortunately, the counterattack was doomed from the beginning because the plans were discovered when a German corpse, containing the codes of the German army, washed up on the Russian shore. Because of this disaster, the German navy retreated, not returning again until 1918. This failure lowered German nationalism. Furthermore, in the same year, the Battle of Verdun proved to be another unsuccessful attempt by the Germans to break the stalemate with close to 430,000 Germans dead. At Verdun, the French turned the Germans away and effectively ended the German offensive. This had a two-fold effect in that French nationalism rose and German morale plummeted. In 1917, at the third Battle of Ypres, better known as Passchendaele, was the last great victory of the German army. During the battle, there was a massive explosion and twenty thousand Germans were killed instantly, with the use of one million pounds of explosives! However, on the battlefield, the Germans were successful, but by this year, German nationalism proved to be at an all-time low. Subsequently, in March of 1917, the Zimmermann note, which had been written by the German foreign minister to the German ambassador in Mexico, was intercepted. The message was decoded by Great Britain and handed over to the United States. The note clearly stated that if Germany and the United States were to go to war, Germany would want an alliance with Mexico and Mexico would gain the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. This attempt by the Germans to distract the United States just made the United States a stronger enemy against Germany.

By 1918, Germany's loss was inevitable due to internal problems on the homefront. There were stockpiles of raw materials and the War Raw Materials Corporation, headed by Walther Rathenau, tried to solve the problem of lack of materials. Next, the Prussian Law of Siege was passed, in which military commanders had the power to exempt men from the draft. The problem was that no able man was exempt from serving the military, which left a gap in the homefront due to lack of skilled workers at home. Another dilemma was with The Auxiliary Law, which subjected all other weaker individuals to work in the factories. However, this law did not constrict rights and many often left and rallied massive strikes. Later, the winter of 1918 was known as the Cabbage and Turnip Winter because of the strict rations placed on the men. The Germans were only rationed to six ounces of bread in one day, one egg every two weeks, and milk was virtually nonexistent. Seven hundred and sixty thousand German civilians would die due to starvation.

On August 8, also known as Black Day, Germans began surrendering by the thousands. On September 29, Bulgaria asks for an armistice, and Turkey immediately follows in October. The undeniable end of the German force occurred on November 4, 1918, when the Italian army wins at Vittori Veneto. Then, Austria-Hungary surrenders leaving Germany to fight the world alone. By November 7, the Germans were forced to negotiate with Foch, who was the leader of the Allied Army, which subsequently led to the Keil mutiny, in which the German offensive collapsed. The confirmation of an Allied victory was the appearance of a red flag on the homefront, and the resignation of the Kaiser.

Afterwards, Germany was left in the hands of the Social Democratic Party leaders, F. Ebert and P. Scheidemann, who elected M. Erzberger, head of the Central Party, to agree on the armistice with Foch. Foch was determined to humiliate the Germans for forcing countries to enter the war, and forced Erzberger to agree to the following terms: 1. Germany had to hand over 150,000 machine guns and 1,000 artillery pieces to the Allies. 2. Germans must disband their navy. 3. Germans had to free all Allied Prisoners of War. Lastly, Germany had to surrender all bridges along the Rhine, leaving Germany utterly defenseless. On the eleventh month of the eleventh day of the eleventh hour, the armistice when into effect, leaving a silence throughout Europe, and a hush fell over the German army. The Germans ultimately, brought the war upon themselves and are responsible for the beginning and results of World War I.

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