1918: Who save the Allies?

Discussion in 'World War I' started by Ferdinand Foch, May 7, 2012.

  1. Ferdinand Foch

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    Hey everyone! How are you all doing? Know I have been away for awhile, sorry about that. I've been student-teaching this semester. I am actually in the final process of it. I am teaching World War One to Freshmen. So I have big question. In 1918, what actually saved the Allies from the Germany Offensive? I am going to say that the fresh US Army helped, but I know that there is more to the story. Any thoughts? Something I can tell the kids quickly? Anyway, hope that everyone here is doing good in there life. :)
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    The Aussies and Canadians certainly took a far larger bite out of the German Army then the AEF

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/world-war-i/1918-year-offensives-30213.html
    this was a stat I found interesting whether it is just bravado or fact idon't know but this is suppoosed to be the facts for the Last Hundred Day
    Canadian
    Troops engaged 105000
    Duration of operations 100 days
    Distance Advanced 86 miles
    Divisions engaged 68
    german divisions defeated 47
    Casualties per division Defeated 975
    Rounds fired per day by artillery piece 42
    Total casualties 45830
    Prisoners 31,537
    guns captured Heavy and Field 623
    machine guns 2482
    trench mortars 338


    The numbers for the Aussies are not as complete
    Australians captured 29144 prisoners 338guns and defeated 39 divisions



    The AEF
    Troops engaged 650000
    duration of operations 47 days
    Distance advanced 34 miles
    German Divisions defeated 46
    Avg number of casualties per division defeated 2170
    Total casualties 100000
    Rounds fired per day by artillery piece 23
     
  3. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    The Entente won WWI. Not the Allies (i.e. German, Austria-Hungary, etc.).
     
  4. tyrodtom

    tyrodtom Well-Known Member

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    Dave, sometimes it seems as if you have your own dictionary.
     
  5. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Not the US. They had hardly any troops comitted. The threat of hundreds of thousands of fresh American troops must have had a psychological effect on the Germans.
    It is often forgotten that the aim of the offensive was to outflank and defeat the British Army in an attempt to bring the French to terms,not win the war outright.
    The offensive had run out of steam and supplies by April leaving German forces in a parlous position which was exposed a few months later with the allies' August "Hundred Day Offensive" which drove them back to where they started and then some.

    Dave have you ever read the armistice that the Germans signed?

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  6. TheMustangRider

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    If I might add my two cents to the discussion...
    I believe the American expeditionary force was about to make an important factor had the war continued well into 1919 for the American industry and troop mobilization was gaining momentum during late 1918 but did not materialize before the end of the war and thus did not reach its potential; consequently I also share the view that the psychological effect America's entry to the war was among the most important to undermined German morale which was already suffering to that point late in the war.
    I think the major factor that lead to the swift end of 1918's great offensives is simply that Germany, as a whole, fell victim of its own exhaustion; to prosecute a war with an infantry that is overstretched and quickly running out of war material and a civilian population that is succumbing to starvation is quite a challenge for any nation.
     
  7. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    germany and her allies were generally referred to as the Central powers. The entente you refer to was officially the allied nation of the triple entente, hence the name allies. Allies can be applied to both sides, but more usually to the side that won
     
  8. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    quite true, but after 12 august the americans began to act independantly. On that day 5 divisons fighting with the british (officially in training, in reality, fighting like everyone)
    were returned to the American Army high command. American 1st army entered the frontline without allied assistance on the 29 august. Though they fought alongside th4e french at Meuse-Argonne, they still fought as an independant force, and were really pivotal in achieving victory in that sector. The americans also poured an additional 12 or so divisions on the southern flank of St Mihiel, providing 550000 men compared to 110000 frenchmen. The americans also contributed an air force of very large proportions....for st Mihiewl they committed 709 a/c in total, which was rivalling the British RAF strength at that time. on the 26th september, the American 1st army provided very significant assistance to the french Army in the vicinity of champagne.

    it is a stretch, and untrue to say the americans were pivotal or the sole reason for the german defeat, it was a significant reason nevertheless, and one that had already overtaken the efforts of both the canadians and the australians by wars end. they were fresh, they werenumerous, and they had enthusiasm....

    Ill answer for him.....what peacce treaty?????
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    The Armistice 0f 8/11/18 had 34 punitive terms many of which founded the basis for the eventual Treaty of Versailles.
    These are the major points.

    1. Effective six hours after signing.

    2. Immediate clearing of Belgium, France, Alsace-Lorraine, to be concluded within 14 days. Any troops remaining in these areas to be interned or taken as prisoners of war.

    3. Surrender 5000 cannon (chiefly heavy), 30,000 machine guns, 3000 trench mortars, 2000 planes.

    4. Evacuation of the left bank of the Rhine, Mayence, Coblence, Cologne, occupied by the enemy to a radius of 30 kilometers deep.

    5. On the right bank of the Rhine a neutral zone from 30 to 40 kilometers deep, evacuation within 11 days.

    6. Nothing to be removed from the territory on the left bank of the Rhine, all factories, railroads, etc. to be left intact.

    7. Surrender of 5000 locomotives, 150,000 railway coaches, 10,000 trucks.

    8. Maintenance of enemy occupation troops through Germany.

    9. In the East all troops to withdraw behind the boundaries of August 1, 1914, fixed time not given.

    10. Renunciation of the Treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Bucharest.

    11. Unconditional surrender of East Africa.

    12. Return of the property of the Belgian Bank, Russian and Rumanian gold.

    13. Return of prisoners of war without reciprocity.

    14. Surrender of 160 U-boats, 8 light cruisers, 6 Dreadnoughts; the rest of the fleet to be disarmed and controlled by the Allies in neutral or Allied harbors.

    15. Assurance of free trade through the Cattegat Sound; clearance of mine fields and occupation of all forts and batteries, through which transit could be hindered.

    16. The blockade remains in effect. All German ships to be captured.

    17. All limitations by Germany on neutral shipping to be removed.

    18. Armistice lasts 30 days.

    It's obvious that any nation accepting an armistice on those terms had won the war,at least to Davebender :)

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  10. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    The Ludendorff offensive broke down because logistics couldn't keep up with the advance, and I also think they were short of supplies anyway, they never broke the naval blockade at Jutland and peace in the east didn't bring much new resources to compensate, just more troops. I gather Britain was the country whose army never experienced a break down of supply during ww1.
    After that failure they couldn't recover anymore. In that I think it seems very much like the Ardennes offensive later in 1944.
    The whole thing was a last gasp.
     
  11. starling

    starling Member

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    Hey guys,nobody "saved" the allies IMO.The German-Austrian armies were defeated in the field.Starling.
     
  12. Ferdinand Foch

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    Hey guys! Thanks for the information! Sorry I haven't been posting lately. This helped that last week of student-teaching. Thak you.
     
  13. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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    By 1918 you could say that the combatant countries were exhausted in every possible way.
    Sheer mass (people,machinery and natural resources) 'won the war' for the Allies as it would do in WW2...
    I would have thought that any cessation of hostilities on the Western Front would have been grabbed with both hands by all sides.

    The true price of the Armistice treaty was another matter entirely.

    Cheers
    John
     
  14. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    There is very sharp differences of opinion as to whether what had been fought for was thrown away at Versailles. Some argued that the job was not finished, and the germans should be made to fight on their home soil so as to drive the point home that they had lost. The US army general Pershing was one. others argue that a true conciliatory armistice should have been negotiated that left Germany with a sense of honour and the ability to act as an equal with her former foes. If Wilsons 14 points had been the real basis for the peace treaty, that might have worked as well.

    Versailles did not work because it was backed by an incomplete job on the ground, and failed to conciliate with the Germans in any way at all either. it was a nasty peace treaty designed for revenge, and that left the germans smarting and angry.

    My view is the same as Pershings. Monash thought the same. We should have accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from the Germans, and made sure there was an allied victory parade down the Friedrich Strasse for all the world to see. The Kaiser and Ludendorf should have been arrested and put on trial for waging an aggressive and illegal war of aggression. Most importantly there should have been a comphrehensive demobilsation and demilitarization lasting at least 10 years with full occupation of the country to root out dissident elements. no doubt shopuld have been left in the minds of the world and Germany in particular as to who won and who lost, and who was responsible for the slaughter
     
  15. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #15 stona, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
    That looks great written down like that in 2012 and I can't disagree.
    The problem is that this would have to have been done in 1917/18 with an ongoing commitment for another 10 or 20 years. It was never going to happen.The Allies wanted a cessation of fighting just as desperately as Germany. Anyone who needs evidence of the psychological scars left on Britain and her Commonwealth/Empire's collective psyche need only to have watched the remembrance day ceremonies at the cenotaph this very morning. The same goes for France.
    The commitments that were made folowing the Versailles Treaty were half arsed and half hearted anyway. Nazi Germany didn't exactly struggle to re-militarise the Rhineland,albeit nearly 20 years later.
    Cheers
    Steve
     
  16. meatloaf109

    meatloaf109 Well-Known Member

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    One could lay the blame at the feet of Bismarck, or even further back, ultimately to Charlemange.
    The "Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman is an excellent study of the treaties (Politicians) and the timetables (Military) that made the War inevitable. The Kaiser tried, through family channels, to halt the process. Albeit, a "You stop first, then we will" aproach that was doomed by suspicion, but he did try.
    As far as what ended the whole mess, the tremendous sacrifice of the British empire and of the French also; but ultimately it was white bread and corned beef, Tanks and butter, and the threat of thousands of fresh Yanks, as opposed to a starving, blockaded Germany that was running out of manpower. If Pershing (and a few others) had had his way, and Wilson also, the rise of Hitler might have been avoided.
    Maybe.
     
  17. Readie

    Readie Well-Known Member

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  18. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #18 parsifal, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
    I do have the benefit of hindsight to say the things I do, however there are couple of points that do need to be made. Its not entirely hindsight. These positions were being made by a number of soldiers at the time (and I believe also some of the more resolute politicians). Some knew that the victory that had been won was being thrown away by the peace.

    Second point, whilst the allies were weary of the war, they were not as over it as the germans. Germany was being militarily torn apart by the end of 1918, and was facing mutinies in the army at least as bad as had been experienced by the French. There is no doubt that the three main combatants...Britain, France and Germany were all in fragile condition by the end of 1918, but its not true to say the allies were in "as bad a condition"....not quite. and not as a mere quibbling of details. And neither is true to say that the commonwealt forces were facing the same revolts or rumblings in the Commonwealth. For the AIF there was a great deal of dismay at the command level at least that the job was not being finished as it should have been. Dont know about the Canadians, but I would be very surprised if Currie supported the ceasfire. near The allies were still strong enough to win, and had to see the business through. And there were individuals who knew and advocated that very course of action. There were others who wanted to reach true rapprochement with the Germans, but they too were overruled. instead what emerged was a strage beast, half monster, and half olive branch, that satisfied no-one and achieved nothing that it was aimed to do.
     
  19. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    #19 DerAdlerIstGelandet, Nov 11, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
    I think it so very easy to give all the blame to Germany for the war, and not correct either.

    That discussion has been gone over a thousand times though, and neither side will give or budge, so it is pointless to do it again. :)
     
  20. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    No argument that the road leading to the war is not clear as to who was responsible. In the strategic sense that is. Britain and Germany had been on a collision course for at least 20 years, and there were parrallel conflicts involving all th4e major powers, and some of the minor ones as well.

    What sets the Germans (and Austrians) apart , is a very fine line. What happened in Serbia and Austria is the obvious pretext but it was an essentially localised conflict until other powers, notably Germany and Russia, decided to get involved. What tips it for me, however, was the German decision to embark on a war of aggression on an innocent neutraql (Belgium) so as to get at their enemy. For me, that was an illegal act, even by the standards of 1914.

    Obviously there is a great deal of debate about that, and one has to be careful not to be too dogmatic in ones views. There is a case to exonerate the Germans. However, war is hell, and having decided to invoke the God of war, the Germans in 1918 should have been made to account for the decision they had made to make war in 1914. Its as simple as that. To the victor should go the spoils. In the case of the Great War, the spoils were almost there for the taking, but were given away.
     
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