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smithsonian

EDITORIAL CONSULTANT RICHARD OVERY

THE DEFINITI V E V ISUA L HISTORY

FROM SARAJEVO TO VERSAILLES


WORLD
THE DEFINITI V E V ISUA L HISTORY

WAR I
s m i t h s o n i a n

WORLD
THE DEFINITI V E V ISUA L HISTORY

WAR I

From Sa r aje vo to v er sa illes


R .G. Gr a n t
LONDON, NEW YORK, MELBOURNE,
CONTENTS The Slide to War 30
MUNICH, AND DELHI

1
Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
Senior Editor Senior Art Editor Germany declares war on Russia and
Janet Mohun Ina Stradins France. Britain enters the war in defense
US Senior Editor Project Art Editor of Belgian neutrality.
Rebecca Warren Anna Hall
Editor Producer Pulling Together 32
Laura Wheadon Alice Sykes Political and social interest groups in
US Editor Jacket Designers combatant countries voice their support for
the war. Opposing voices are quickly silenced.
John Searcy
Managing Editor
Mark Cavanagh, Paul Drislane
Managing Art Editor
THE TROUBLED
THE DECLARATION OF WAR 34
Angeles Gavira Guerrero
Preproduction Producer
Michelle Baxter
Art Director
CONTINENT
Rebekah Parsons-King Philip Ormerod
1870 1914 10

2
Jacket Editor Publisher
Manisha Majithia Sarah Larter
Introduction 12
Cartographers Associate Publishing Director
Simon Mumford, Liz Wheeler Timeline 14
Encompass Graphics Ltd,
Publishing Director
Brighton, UK
Jonathan Metcalf Europes High Noon 16
The power and prosperity of Europe, its
DK INDIA political systems and empires. The web
Editorial Manager Deputy Design Manager of alliances between the great powers.
Rohan Sinha
Senior Editor
Sudakshina Basu
Senior Art Editor
NOT OVER BY
Crises and Conicts 18
Vineetha Mokkil Mahua Mandal Tensions between rival European powers. CHRISTMAS
Editors Art Editors The rst and second Moroccan crises. The
Sudeshna Dasgupta,
Dharini Ganesh
Sanjay Chauhan, Suhita Dharamjit, Arijit
Ganguly, Amit Malhotra, Kanika Mittal,
Austro-Hungarian annexation of Bosnia- 1914 36
Herzegovina. Slav nationalism and the
Production Manager Shreya Anand Virmani
Balkan Wars. Introduction 38
Pankaj Sharma
DTP Designers
DTP Manager Neeraj Bhatia, Syed Md Farhan, Shanker KAISER WILHELM II 20 Timeline 40
Balwant Singh Prasad, Sachin Singh, Tanveer Abbas Zaidi
Planning for War 22 The Invasion of Belgium 42
TOUCAN BOOKS LTD.
The armies of the major European powers Belgian troops ght the German army
Managing Editor Senior Art Editor
prepare for war. The German Schlieffen Plan. to defend the countrys independence.
Ellen Dupont Thomas Keenes
British hesitancy. French belief in the offensive. Germany carries out massacres and brutal
Senior Editor Picture Research acts of destruction.
Dorothy Stannard Roland Smithies (Luped)
EVOLVING MILITARY 24
Assistant Editor Indexer TECHNOLOGY The French Offensive 44
David Hatt Marie Lorimer French forces attack in Alsace, Lorraine, and
Proofreader RIFLES 26 the Ardennes. Germany launches successful
Caroline Hunt counteroffensives. French eventually halt
Assassination at Sarajevo 28 Germans in front of Nancy.
Editorial Consultants The shooting of the heir to the
Barton C. Hacker, Senior Curator of Armed Forces History, National Museum of American History, Kenneth
Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke The British Go into Action 46
E. Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution; Richard Overy, Professor of History, University of Exeter
Franz Ferdinand, by a Bosnian Serb in Arrival of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)
First American edition, 2014
Sarajevo. The reactions of Austria-Hungary in France. The battles of Mons and Le Cateau.
Published in the United States by
DK Publishing, 4th Floor, 345 Hudson Street, New York 10014 and Germany. The BEF retreats from Belgium.
14 15 16 17 18 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
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BATTLE OF MONS 48 Turkey Enters the War 74 Mobilizing Resources 92 Disaster in Mesopotamia 122
The Ottoman Empire sides with Germany Combatants attempt to harness resources British Indian forces advance from Basra
ARTILLERY 50 and Austria-Hungary. The British take efciently and maximize production of military to Baghdad. They surrender to the Turks
Basra and successfully defend the Suez supplies. Increased employment of women in at Kut al-Amara.
The Great Retreat 52 Canal. Turkey attacks Russia in the Caucasus. many countries. War proteering.
French and British troops are pursued by The Battle at Dogger Bank 124
German armies. Paris comes under threat. African Diversions 76 TRENCH WARFARE 94 British and German naval confrontation
France plans to strike back. The Allies strike at German colonies, seizing in the North Sea. German battle cruisers
Togoland, Kamerun, and South West Africa. LIFE IN THE TRENCHES 96 narrowly avoid a major defeat.
The Battle of the Marne 54 The British lose the Battle of Tanga. Fighting
France and Britain end their retreat continues in East Africa. Failure on the Western Front 98 The Sinking of the Lusitania 126
and launch a counterattack. Germany The Allies launch costly offensives at German submarines begin attacking merchant
is forced onto the defensive. German hopes Confrontation at Sea 78 Champagne and Neuve Chapelle. German shipping off the British coastline. The sinking
of a quick victory come to an end. British naval blockade of Germany. Threats defenses hold. of the transatlantic liner RMS Lusitania.
to Allied shipping posed by mines and Subsequent outrage in the United States.
JOSEPH JOFFRE 56 submarines. British victory at the Battle TRENCH FIGHTING 100
of Heligoland Bight. EQUIPMENT WARTIME POSTERS 128
The Race to the Sea 58
Allied advance from the Marne is halted on WARSHIPS AT SEA 80 Second Ypres 102 America and the European War 130
the Aisne River. A war of movement continues The Germans attack at Ypres. Chlorine gas President Woodrow Wilson declares the
farther north. Belgium is halted by the Coronel and the Falklands 82 spreads panic in the Allied lines. Germany United States neutral. American anger at
Germans at the Battle of the Yser. Allied trade threatened by German cruisers. makes limited gains before the front stabilizes. perceived German aggression. U.S. economic
The battles of Coronel and the Falklands support. The Preparedness Movement.
Fighting to a Standstill 60 in the South Atlantic. German East Asiatic CHEMICAL WARFARE 104
The First Battle of Ypres in Flanders. The end Squadron is destroyed by Britains Royal Navy. The Zeppelin Raids 132
of the mobile phase of the war. Trenches are Italy Enters the War 106 Germany bombs Paris, London, and
dug along the entire Western Front. War in the East 84 In a bid to gain territory, Italy joins the Allies other cities. Fighter aircraft deployed
Japan declares war on Germany and captures and declares war on Austria-Hungary. Italy to counteract attacks.
THE CHRISTMAS TRUCE 62 Tsingtao. New Zealand seizes Samoa, and launches rst Isonzo Offensive but captures
Australia occupies Kaiser Wilhelmsland. The only a small area. Campaigns on the Eastern Front 134
The Battle of Tannenberg 64 contribution of China to the Allied war effort. Austro-German Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive.
Russia invades East Prussia. German forces ANZAC TROOPS 108 German forces advance across Poland.
soundly defeat the Russians at Tannenberg. Russian army embarks on its Great Retreat.
German commanders Hindenburg and The Gallipoli Campaign 110

3
Ludendorff become national heroes. Allied attempt to seize the Dardanelles ANIMALS AT WAR 136
strait. British and Commonwealth troops
PAUL VON HINDENBURG 66 land on the Gallipoli peninsula. Turkey MACHINE GUNS 138
repulses the Allied attack.
Austro-Hungarian Failures 68 Serbia Crushed 140
Russia makes successful attacks in Galicia. BATTLE OF LONE PINE 114 Austro-Hungarian, Bulgarian, and German
The Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia is forces occupy Serbia. Corfu becomes the
repulsed by Serbian forces. The Armenian Massacre 116 seat of the Serbian government in exile.
Deportation and slaughter of Armenians
The Battle for Poland 70 STALEMATE living in Turkeys Ottoman Empire. War The Artois-Loos Offensive 142
Germany launches offensive operations between Russian and Turkish forces on the Allied autumn offensives in Champagne and
against Russia in Poland in support of 1915 86 Caucasus front. Artois. German defense tactics. Heavy losses
Austria-Hungary. After the indecisive Battle on both sides.
of Lodz, both sides prepare for winter. Introduction 88 IN SERVICE OF THE EMPIRE 118
RECONNAISSANCE AND 144
CAVALRY 72 Timeline 90 COLONIAL TROOPS 120 COMMUNICATION
The Brusilov Offensive 174 The Battle of Arras 226

4 5
Russias most successful operation of the war. British launch dawn attack at Arras to
Austro-Hungarian forces driven back across a support the Nivelle Offensive. Canadians
wide front. capture Vimy Ridge.

Kitcheners Armies 176 SHELL CASINGS 228


Britain creates a New Army by appealing for
volunteers. The creation of pals battalions. CANADIANS IN THE WAR 230
Social pressure to join the army.
The German Bomber Offensive 232
YEAR OF BATTLES DOUGLAS HAIG 178 REVOLUTION AND Large heavy bombers launch raids against
British cities. Effect on civilians.
1916 146 The Somme Offensive 180 DISILLUSION
Britain and France launch a joint attack at The Kerensky Offensive 234
Introduction 148 the Somme. It results in the heaviest loss 1917 204 Last Russian offensive of the war.
of life in a single days ghting in British The disintegration of the Russian army.
Timeline 150 military history. Introduction 206
THE REVOLUTIONARY ARMY 236
Facing Deadlock 152 THE FIRST DAY OF 182 Timeline 208
The combatant powers search for strategies THE SOMME Messines Ridge 238
to end the war. U.S. president Woodrow Wilsons The Tsar Overthrown 210 British detonate mines under the German
peace note. The resumption of offensives. Attrition on the Somme 184 Russias February Revolution and abdication lines and seize Messines Ridge.
Lack of a decisive British breakthrough leads of the tsar. The Provisional Governments
The German Offensive at Verdun 154 to costly ghting. decision to continue the war. Lenins return Third Ypres 240
One of the bloodiest battles of the war. to Russia from exile. Major British offensive bogs down in the
General Philippe Ptain takes over French MEDICAL TREATMENT 186 Flanders mud.
defense. Initial German success turns America Enters the War 212
to stalemate. Dogghts and Aces 188 New U-boat attacks and the uncovering PASSCHENDAELE 244
Development of single-seat ghter aircraft of a plot to invade the United States from
VERDUN 156 and aerial combat tactics. The glorication Mexico. President Woodrow Wilson declares Italian Disaster at Caporetto 246
of ying aces. war on Germany. Attack by Austro-German forces the Italian
PHILIPPE PTAIN 158 army into retreat. Events on the Italian
DOGFIGHT 190 WOODROW WILSON 214 home front.
The French Fight Back at Verdun 160
German and French armies remain locked WARPLANES 192 Organizing America for War 216 False Dawn at Cambrai 248
in battle. Combat between ghter aircraft. The United States creates a mass army. British offensive against the German
Defensive victory for the French. The Romanian Campaign 194 Conscription is introduced. Unprecedented Hindenburg Line. Led by tanks, the operation
Romanias decision to join the Allies. The federal intervention in the economy. achieves a short-lived breakthrough.
FORT DOUAUMONT 162 German-led invasion of Romania.
Peace Initiatives and War Aims 218 TANK WARFARE 250
The Easter Rising 164 The Arab Revolt 196 Rise of antiwar forces in combatant
Armed rebellion against British rule in Ireland Guerrilla war waged by Arab rebels countries. Wilsons Fourteen Points and The Bolshevik Revolution 252
is crushed. Execution of perpetrators. against Ottoman Turkey. The role of statement of Allied war aims. German plans Seizure of power by revolutionary Bolshevik
British intelligence ofcer T.E. Lawrence. to dominate Europe. Party in Russia. The new Bolshevik
INTELLIGENCE AND 166 government seeks an armistice with the
ESPIONAGE The Strains of War 198 The U-boat Onslaught 220 Central Powers.
Mounting economic hardship for European Germanys unrestricted submarine warfare
Slav Nationalism 168 civilians. Turnip winter in Germany. against Allied merchant shipping. The use of Guerilla War in East Africa 254
Subject Slavic peoples of Austria-Hungary, Breakdown of social cohesion. The threat convoys, nets, and mines. Campaign mounted against the British by
Germany, and Russia seek independence. of revolution in Russia. German colonial troops. Impact on the local
ERIC LUDENDORFF 222 African population.
The Battle of Jutland 170 DAVID LLOYD GEORGE 200
Indecisive clash between British and German The Nivelle Offensive 224 Naval War in the Mediterranean 256
eets in the North Sea. Germanys New Order 202 A French attack fails to break the German Allied intervention in Greece. Japanese help
Ludendorff and Hindenburg control the defensive line. Morale of the French soldiers counter the U-boat threat to Allied merchant
ON BOARD THE 172 German war effort. The formulation of plans breaks down. Widespread mutinies sweep shipping. Italian attacks on the Austro-
SMS DERFFLINGER to populate Eastern Europe with Germans. the French army. Hungarian navy.
From Gaza to Jerusalem 258 The German Search for Victory 282 Attacking the Hindenburg Line 312 GEORGES CLEMENCEAU 336
British and Commonwealth forces, aided by German offensive continues with Operation A series of Allied offensives break through
their Arab allies, mount a successful campaign Georgette. British and Portuguese troops the fortications of the Hindenburg Line. The Versailles Treaty 338
against the Turks in Palestine. come under pressure. Ferdinand Foch becomes The Allies impose a peace treaty on the
Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies. ST. QUENTIN CANAL 314 Germans. They regard it as unjust.
RECORDING THE WAR 260
The Battle of Belleau Wood 284 Turkey and Bulgaria Defeated 316 SIGNING THE VERSAILLES 340
U.S. marines engage advancing German Military defeats force Germanys allies to TREATY
troops near the Marne River. seek armistices with the Allies. Germany

6
is unable to intervene. Postwar Conicts 342
The Second Battle of the Marne 286 Red Army victory in the Russian Civil War.
German offensive at Reims halted. German Italy Victorious 318 Violence in Ireland. The rise of fascism.
troops are transferred from Flanders. The Italians repulse an Austro-Hungarian The Greco-Turkish War.
Successful French-led counteroffensive offensive at the Piave River, then launch a
ends hope of a German victory. successful attack at Vittorio Veneto. Never Again 344
Austria-Hungary collapses. Mourning the dead. Isolationism and
GAS ATTACK 288 pacism in the postwar world.
Mutiny and Revolution 320
VICTORY AND FERDINAND FOCH 290 Germany seeks an armistice. German naval MONUMENT TO THE FALLEN 346
revolt at Kiel. The abdication of the Kaiser.
DEFEAT The Zeebrugge Raid 292 Germany becomes a republic. In Memoriam 348
British attempt to block the movements of Country by country register of key World
1918 262 U-boats from the port of Zeebrugge ends in The Armistice 322 War I battle sites, cemeteries, memorials,
failure, but boosts civilian morale. More than four years of ghting come to and museums.
Introduction 264 an end. The last shots of the war. Public
Climax of the Air War 294 reactions to the news. Index 352
Timeline 266 Allies win ght for air supremacy over the
Western Front. Strategic bombing campaign CELEBRATIONS 324 Acknowledgments 359
Home Fronts 268 begins against German industrial targets.
Government attempts to raise civilian
morale in combatant countries. Rationing, AERIAL COMBAT 296

7
strikes, and falling standards of living.
MANFRED VON RICHTHOFEN 298
THE GERMAN HOME FRONT 270
Allied Intervention in Russia 300
Trench Warfare Transformed 272 Attempts to revive Russias war effort against
New innovations end deadlock of the Germany causes Allied troops to become
trenches. Inltration tactics developed by embroiled in the Russian Civil War.
Germany. Use of ground attack aircraft.
Greater coordination between infantry WRITERS AT WAR 302
and artillery. AFTERMATH
Turning Point at Amiens 304
STORMTROOPER 274 A British and Commonwealth offensive at 1919 1923 326
EQUIPMENT Amiens inicts a sharp defeat on the German
army. Loss of morale among German troops. Introduction 328
German Victory in the East 276
Bolsheviks and Germans sign the Treaty of Taking the St. Mihiel Salient 306 Timeline 330
Brest-Litovsk, ending hostilities. Germany U.S. Army enters battle for the rst time.
receives vast areas of Russia. It defeats the exposed German troops in Devastated World 332
the St. Mihiel salient. The horric death toll. Malnutrition, Spanish
The Michael Offensive 278 u epidemic, and poverty. The rise of extreme
Germany launches the rst of its Spring The Meuse-Argonne Offensive 308 nationalism and new conicts.
Offensives. Ludendorffs gamble to win the The largest battle in the history of the U.S.
war before U.S. troops arrive. Army. American and French troops push the The Paris Peace Conference 334
Germans back across the Meuse River. Attempts to create a lasting peace. Conicting
THE OPENING OF THE 280 demands of the national delegations. Creation
MICHAEL OFFENSIVE JOHN PERSHING 310 of the League of Nations.
Foreword
T
he War of 19141918, also known as the Great War, was a
world historical event, recognized as such by contemporaries.
The wealthy and powerful Western nations and empires that
had come to dominate the globe wrecked themselves in a paroxysm
of destruction unmatched in any previous era. Empires toppled,
millions died, and the world changed forever. To a remarkable
degree, the self-inicted war wounds to Western economies,
societies, and polities sprang from the same sources that had
nourished Western primacythe growth of industry, the expansion
of capital, the extension of citizenship, scientic prowess, and
technological innovation.

War was fueled by far-reaching changes in Western military


institutions and technology since the mid-19th century. Repeating
ries, smokeless powder, quick-ring long-range eld artillery, and
machine-guns multiplied repower and extended the killing zone.
Clad in eld gray or khaki, soldiers left ring lines and maneuvered
for ground cover and trenches. Runners gave way to telegraph and
wireless, muscle to steam and petrol, which powered new war
machines on the battleeld, in the air, and at sea. Judging the impact
of such innovations surpassed most contemporary imaginations. Few
people expected the new technology to reduce rather than augment
the ability of armies to be decisive on the battleeld.

World War I was the rst great industrial war. Manufacturing and
logistics came to matter more than all other aspects of war making.
The new weapons demanded ammunition in staggering quantities,
but that was only the rst challenge. General staffs burgeoned to
direct vast armies, as nations prepared to put millions of men under
arms. Armies so huge required supplies of every kind on a formerly
unimagined scale. War economy and home front entered the
lexicon for the conversion of industrial capacity, for the reorientation
of civic life, for the mobilization of imperial resources, for the
concentration of all efforts toward ghting total war. Managing the
armies and keeping them supplied exhausted military art and
science. Industrial engineering displaced generalship, and attrition
became the recipe for victory.

World War I fractured history. The world before 1914 was


dominated by condent, wealthy, and forward-looking Western
mainly Europeanimperial states, the products of a century of
progress. That world vanished in the cauldron of the Great War.
After 1918, the Western world comprised destroyed or shaken
polities, war-ravaged economies, the shards of empire, and dispirited
citizens haunted by the ghosts of dead millions. From the wreckage
left by the war grew the Great Depression, totalitarian dictatorships,
and a second world warall preface to the modern world.

Barton C. Hacker
Senior Curator of Armed Forces History, Smithsonian Institution
THE TROUBLED
1
CONTINENT
1870 1914
In the early 20th century, Europe was
dominated by ambitious imperial states.
This produced an unstable international
system and fueled an arms race. War broke
out in Europe with the assassination of
Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand
in the summer of 1914.
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT 18701914

THE TROUBLED CONTINENT


German chancellor The assination of German propaganda
Otto von Bismarck Archduke Franz Ferdinand, portrayed Germany in 1914 as a
masterminded the heir to the Austrian throne, chivalrous and heroic defender
creation of a united and his wife by Bosnian Serb of civilization against the
Germany in the 1860s Gavrilo Princip, in Sarajevo barbarism of its enemies.
and 1870s. He created on June 28, 1914, led
the Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary to declare
Austria-Hungary and war on Serbia.
kept friendly relations

Y
with Russia.

EN
ICELAND

RW

ED
NO

SW
EUROPE
BRITAIN
AY

EN

GERMANY
FAEROE ISLANDS RUSSIAN EMPIRE
RW

(Denmark)
ATL A N TIC AUSTRIA-
SWED

FRANCE HUNGARY

Ca
OCEA N IT
NO

A
Sea

Black Sea

sp
LY

ian
S PA I N
PORTUGAL OTTOMAN

Sea
North

TUN

N
TA
c

EMPIRE
SPANISH MOROCCO IS
ti

S e a DENMARK
CYPRUS
al AN

ISI A
B MOROCCO PERSIA H
FG TIBET
KUWAIT A (autonomous)
BR I TAI N NETH. R U S S I A N ALGERIA L I B YA BAHRAIN NEPAL
GERMANY RIO DE ORO
EGYPT
NEJD
QATAR

E M P I R E TRUCIAL I N D I A

HE
(Saudi)
BEL. LUX. ANGLO- OMAN

JA
OMAN

Z
EGYPTIAN
FRENCH WEST AFRICA SUDAN HADHRAMAUT
F R ANC E AUSTRIA- GAMBIA FRENCH (British mandate) ADEN PROTECTORATE
TOGO
SWITZ. HUNGARY PORTUGUESE GUINEA EQUATORIAL ERITREA FRENCH SOMALILAND
SIERRA LEONE NIGERIA AFRICA ABYSSINIA BRITISH CEYLON
ROMANIA LIBERIA SOMALILAND
CAMEROON
SER

GOLD ITALIAN
A BULGARIA B la c k Sea
IT

MONT. COAST BRITISH EAST SOMALILAND


BIA

LY AFRICA
L

FRENCH
PORTUGA

RIO MUNI BELGIAN


S PAI N ALB. (Spain) CONGO
CONGO GERMAN EAST
OTTOMAN I N D I A N
M e d AFRICA
i t GREECE EMPIRE
e ANGOLA
r r NORTHERN O C E A N
a n DODECANESE RHODESIA
(Italy)
MADAGASCAR
ALGERIA TUNISIA e a SOUTHERN
MOROCCO (France) (France) n S e a CYPRUS RHODESIA
(Britain)
GERMAN
(France) SOUTH WEST BECHUANA- PORTUGUESE
AFRICA LAND EAST
LIBYA AFRICA
(Italy) EGYPT
(Britain)
UNION OF
SOUTH AFRICA

Austro-Hungarian emperor In the Balkan Wars of


Franz Joseph, here holding court in 191213, Serbia, Greece, The arrival of the German
Schnbrunn Palace in Vienna, was Romania, and Bulgaria fought gunboat Panther off Agadir in
head of a vast but restless empire against Ottoman Turkey and July 1911 was a challenge to
with a large Slav population. Its against one another. Serbia French imperial ambitions in
annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina gained military strength and Morocco. The episode brought
in 1908 angered Serbia. confidence in these conflicts. Europe to the brink of war.

series of wars in the 1860s and 1870s established Germany leading up to World War I, peace was maintained by a balance of
A as Europes dominant military power. In the 1890s, France power between the two hostile alliance systems. The European states
and Russia formed an alliance to counter the might of Germany and expanded their armed forces and equipped them with the latest
its close ally, Austria-Hungary. In the first decade of the 20th century, technology. They developed plans for the rapid mobilization of
Britain, feeling threatened by the growth of the German navy, mass conscript armies that threatened to turn any confrontation
abandoned its traditional isolationism and a formed an entente into full-scale war. Every country felt that the side that struck first
a loose unofficial alliancewith France and Russia. In the years would have a decisive advantage.

12
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT 18701914

1870 1914
New technology transformed
the nature of warfare. This Russian
Ilya Mourometz was the worlds
largest aircraft on the eve of World
War I. Capable of carrying bombs,
it was widely imitated.

C A N A D A

Woodrow Wilson, U.S. president


from 1913, here addressing an
American audience, was a
UNITED S TAT E S high-principled political leader who,
C H I N A JAPANESE
OF AMERICA in August 1914, declared the
EMPIRE
United States strictly neutral.

BRITISH HONDURAS
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MEXICO
Mariana P A C I F I C CUBA VIRGIN ISLANDS A T L A N T I C
Hawaiian Islands HAITI LEEWARD ISLANDS
Islands
WINDWARD ISLANDS
SIAM PHILIPPINE HONDURAS
FRENCH
INDOCHINA ISLANDS GUAM O C E A N GUATEMALA
NICARAGUA
BARBADOS O C E A N
Marshall Islands EL SALVADOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
BRITISH COSTA RICA BRITISH GUIANA
NORTH BORNEO GERMAN PACIFIC TERRITORIES VENEZUELA
CANAL ZONE DUTCH GUIANA
Caroline PANAMA
BRUNEI
Islands Christmas FRENCH GUIANA
SARAWAK Island COLOMBIA
Gilbert
Islands
MALAYA Bismarck Nauru ECUADOR
KAISER Archipelago Cook
DUTCH EAST INDIES WILHELMSLAND Solomon Islands
Ellice B R A Z I L

P E
Islands
PAPUA Islands
German Samoa

R
PORTUGUESE (Western)
TIMOR

U
New French Polynesia
Hebrides
Tonga BOLIVIA
Fiji
PA
New RA
G
A U S T R A L I A Caledonia

UA
L E

Y
C H I

URUGUAY
ARGENTINA
An industrial giant by the
beginning of the 20th century, the
United States was manufacturing
munitions for the European arms FALKLAND
ISLANDS
race well before 1914. Americas
own army was small, and it relied THE WORLD IN JULY 1914
upon its navy for defense.
Frontiers

The behavior of Germanys leader, Kaiser Wilhelm II, was aggressive minorities, including Serbs, within its own borders. In June 1914,
and erratic, particularly during the Moroccan Crisis of 1911. But the a Serb terrorist assassinated the heir to the Austro-Hungarian
spark that ignited war came in the Balkans, where states such throne. Austria-Hungary was determined to use this as a pretext
as Serbia had become independent of Ottoman Turkish rule in the for a war with Serbia.
19th century. Russia had ambitions to spread its influence in the When Russia mobilized in defense of Serbia, Germany declared
Balkans as the champion of the Slav peoples. This led to hostile war on Russia and France. The German invasion of neutral Belgium
relations with Austria-Hungary, which was at odds with restless Slav then ensured that a hesitant Britain would enter the conflict.

13
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT 18701914

TIMELINE 1870 1914


Franco-Prussian War Rival military alliances Wilhelm II is Kaiser
Boer War Anglo-German naval race Moroccan Crises Wars in the
Balkans Assassination in Sarajevo Declarations of war

1870 1880 1881 1890 1891 1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906
JULY 1870 1881 1891 1901
Outbreak of the Russia joins Germany Architect of Germanys Discussions about
Franco-Prussian War. and Austria-Hungary prewar planning Alfred a possible alliance
in the League of the von Schlieffen becomes between Britain
JANUARY 1871 Three Emperors. German Chief of the and Germany come
France is defeated. General Staff. to nothing.
The King of Prussia 1882
is declared Emperor The Triple Alliance JANUARY 1894 JANUARY 1901
of Germany. is formed between Franco-Russian Alliance Death of Queen
Germany, Austria- is concluded. Victoria.
Hungary, and Italy.
Alfred von Schlieffen

1884 MARCH 1901 MARCH 1903 King Edward VII visits Paris
for the Entente Cordiale
The Maxim gun, the In the Boer War, the Germans make plans
first true machine gun, British adopt the policy of with Ottoman Turkey
is invented. The Berlin moving Boer civilians into to build a railroad 1905
Conference formalizes concentration camps. between Berlin German army adopts the
the division of Africa and Baghdad. Schlieffen Plan for fighting
between European SEPTEMBER 1901 a war on two fronts.
colonial powers. China signs a humiliating DECEMBER 1903
treaty with foreign The Wright brothers
powers after suppression make the first powered
of the Boxer Rebellion. heavier-than-air flight.

JUNE 1888 1898 JANUARY 1902 FEBRUARY 1904 MARCH 1905


Wilhelm II becomes Germany begins naval Britain establishes Russo-Japanese War begins. Japanese army defeats
emperor (Kaiser) expansion, starting a military alliance the Russians at the Battle
of Germany. an Anglo-German with Japan. APRIL 1904 of Mukden. Germany
naval race. Britain forms the Entente provokes the First
Cordiale with France. Moroccan Crisis to test the
OCTOBER 1899 Anglo-French Entente,
1889 The Boer War in South which holds firm.
Russia begins a Africa reveals
rapprochement deficiencies in the
with France. British Army.

1890 1900 MAY 1902 MAY 1905


European armies begin First effective Boer War ends in The Imperial Japanese
to adopt bolt-action submarines come into British victory. Navy destroys a Russian
repeater rifles, service. First flight of fleet at the Battle of
French Legion of Honor increasing infantry Zeppelin airship. Tsushima.
medal rate of fire.
SEPTEMBER 1905
MARCH 1878 Russo-Japanese War
Defeated in war with Russia, ends in humiliating
Ottoman Turkey is forced to defeat for Russia.
recognize the independence
of Serbia and Romania.

1879 JUNE 1902 FEBRUARY 1906


Germany and Triple Alliance HMS Dreadnought is
Austria-Hungary form between Germany, launched, rendering
the Dual Alliance. Austria-Hungary, and all earlier battleships
Italy is renewed. obsolete.

Belgian machine gun Kaiser Wilhelm II

14
TIMELINE 18701914

The accelerating arms race is a crushing burden


that weighs on all nations and, if prolonged, will lead
to the very cataclysm it seeks to avert.
TSAR NICHOLAS II, ADDRESSING THE HAGUE CONFERENCE, 1899

1907 1908 1909 1910 1911 1912 1913 1914


MARCH 1909 JULY FEBRUARY 12 MARCH 23MAY 30
Germany backs General Joseph Joffre is China becomes a Bulgarians capture
Austria-Hungary over appointed commander-in- republic as the last Adrianople, Turkey,
the annexation of chief of the French army. emperor abdicates. in First Balkan War.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, Treaty of London
forcing Russia to redraws boundaries.
withdraw its opposition JULY 1
by threatening war. Arrival of German gunboat JUNE 29
in Tangier provokes the Second Balkan War
Second Moroccan Crisis, begins. Bulgaria fights
Political postcard of taking Europe to the Serbia, Greece, and
European balancing act brink of war. Romania.

AUGUST 1907 APRIL 1909 German vacationers,


summer 1914
Russia and Britain sign Young Turks depose
a convention settling Ottoman Sultan Abdul JUNE 28
outstanding disputes Hamid II and replace Archduke Franz Ferdinand
in Central Asia. him with Mehmed V. is assassinated by a
Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo.
1908
German army JULY 6
adopts the MG 08 Germany agrees to support
machine gun. Austro-Hungarian action
against Serbia.

German Uhlan NOVEMBER 1909 The German High Seas Fleet MARCH 28 AUGUST 7 JULY 23
helmet in the North Sea
Britain creates an British House of Commons France enacts the Austria-Hungary
Imperial General rejects votes for women, Three-Year Law, issues the Serbians
Staff to coordinate SEPTEMBER 29 provoking suffragettes into extending conscription. an ultimatum.
military planning Italy declares war on adoption of militant tactics.
in Britain and Turkey in pursuit of AUGUST 10 JULY 28
its dominions. territorial claims in Libya. Second Balkan War Austria-Hungary
ends with defeat of declares war on Serbia.
Bulgaria.

1910 OCTOBER 8
Armies and navies of the First Balkan War begins,
major powers begin to pitting Turkey against
acquire planes and train the Balkan League:
military pilots. Serbia, Montenegro,
Greece, and Bulgaria.
JULY 1908
Young Turk revolution
begins drive to OCTOBER 18
modernize Italo-Turkish War
Ottoman Turkey. ends. Italy takes
Suffragette banner possession of Libya.

OCTOBER 1908 MAY 1910 NOVEMBER Announcement of war


in Berlin
Austria-Hungary In Britain, George V Britain and France
announces the becomes king on the agree to share naval
annexation of death of Edward VII. responsibilities, the French
NOVEMBER 1
Bosnia-Herzegovina. concentrating on the JULY 30
First combat use of
Mediterranean. Russia begins general
aircraft by Italians in
mobilization.
North Africa.
NOVEMBER 5
NOVEMBER 4 Woodrow Wilson is
Treaty of Fez resolves elected president of
the Moroccan Crisis. the United States.

15
Royal visit
A state visit by the British king Edward VII to
Paris in 1903 was the prelude to a diplomatic
agreement between Britain and France, the
Entente Cordiale, signed on April 8, 1904.

BE F O R E

A series of localized wars in the 1860s


and 1870s redrew the borders of
Europes High Noon
major European states. Convinced of the superiority of their civilization, Europeans had achieved a dominant position
in the world, rooted in the spectacular growth of their industries and populations, and in the
GERMAN UNIFICATION
In 1860, Germany was a collection of separate strength of their military forces.
states. Prussia was acknowledged as its

A
leading power, and in 187071, it t the dawn of the 20th century, Hungary. Italy and Ottoman Turkey
defeated France in the Franco-Prussian Europe was at the height of its aspired to join them. Of these states,
War. This victory led directly to the founding military and economic power. Germany was the most dynamic force.
of the German Empire under the king of States such as Britain and France Since the unication of Germany in
Prussia, who later became the German Kaiser. controlled huge empires, encompassing 1871 the country had undergone rapid
nearly all of Africa and large parts of industrialization. The population had
AUSTRIA-HUNGARY Asia. European capital and commerce grown a massive 43 percent between
The Austrian Hapsburgs survived created enormous 1880 and 1910. France,
in power by forming Austria- inuence and wealth. 1.63 BILLION The estimated by contrast, had an
Hungary, the Dual Monarchy, Global transportation global population in 1900. almost static population
held together by and communication Around one-quarter of this growth and less
allegiance to the networks tied the number resided in Europe. developed industries,
emperor of Austria, global economy to its despite ruling an
who was also the European hub. The United States extensive empire. Russia lagged even
king of Hungary. was the only major non-European further behind industrially, but was by Precarious balance
economic power, although Japan far the most populous European state. A 1910 postcard shows various heads of state
GERMAN ARMY
had emerged as an industrializing Britain had lost its industrial lead but embarked upon an uncertain journey, precariously
HELMET military force in the 1890s. The leading still exercised unchallenged dominance mounted aboard a motor vehicle. In the early
European powers were Britain, France, over international nance, maritime 20th century, the political balance was always
Germany, Russia, and Austria- trade, and its vast overseas empire. threatening to tip over into war.

16
EUROPES HIGH NOON

AFTER

Tensions between the European


powers mounted over disputes
outside Europe and in the Balkans.

THE MOROCCAN CRISES


Germany challenged French imperial
ambitions in Morocco, leading to diplomatic
crises in 1905 and 1911 1819 .

CENTRAL POWERS Name given to


Germany, Austria-Hungary, and
their allies in World War I.
ENTENTE POWERS Name given to
Britain, France, and Russia, which
are also referred to as the Allies.

OTTOMAN DECLINE
The long-term decline of the Turkish
Oppressed nationalities demands Imperial splendor Ottoman Empire was a serious source of
for self-rule were a threat to the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria receives guests at instability, triggering an Italian invasion
multinational Austro-Hungarian Schnbrunn Palace in Vienna. A member of the of Libya, an Ottoman-ruled area of North
Empire. Governments feared a Hapsburg dynasty, he was Europes longest-ruling Africa, in 1911, and two Balkan Wars in
breakdown of order and responded by monarch in 1914, having come to the throne in1848. 191213 1819 . Ottoman weakness and
asserting the military and diplomatic Balkan conicts were a temptation for both
prestige of the state. They hoped this traditionally isolationist, but its fear Russia and Austria-Hungary to intervene in an
would serve as an antidote to internal of Germany led to agreements with area on their southern borders where they had
forces of disintegration and subversion. France, and later Russia. These divisive competing interests. This was where World
All the major powers spent large alliance systems existed among nations War I would start, after the assassination of
amounts on their armed forces. Mass bound by cultural similarities, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand
education and a popular press united economic interdependence, and the in June 1914 2829 .
in spreading a message of patriotism ties that linked the various royal
that easily slipped into jingoism. As no families. The inability of the countries
formal institution existed for regulating to stop the slide to war was to be a
international affairs, states sought catastrophe for Europe, from which it
security in alliances. Germany allied would never recover its global power.
itself with Austria-Hungary and Italy,
and France with Russia. Britain was

European alliances, 18781918


Political systems By 1900, shifting military alliances had resolved into a
N
Y

Most European states were ruled by fixed confrontation between Russia and France on one
A

E
RW

hereditary monarchs. In Germany,


E D

side and Germany and Austria-Hungary on the other.


Austria-Hungary, and Russia, these
NO

S W

monarchs retained a large measure


Sea

of political power, despite the existence KEY


of elected parliaments. Britain had Austro-German alliance,
18781918 North
ic

retained its monarchy, but kings and DEN. lt


Sea Ba
queens scrupulously respected the Three Emperors alliance,
188187 R U S S I A N E M P I R E
authority of the Houses of Parliament. BRITAIN
GERMANY
France, conversely, was a republic. Austro-Serbian alliance, NETH.
188195 BEL.
Both Britain and France had restricted
Triple alliance, LUX.
electoral franchiseswomen could A U STRIA
18821915
not vote, and in Britain the poor were FRANCE H U N G A RY
Austro-German-Romanian SWIT.
also excluded. ATLANTIC
alliance, 18831916
OCEAN ROMANIA
IT A

Franco-Russian alliance, SERB. Black Sea


Threats and alliances
LY

18941917 MONT. BULGARIA


Although often seen in retrospect as
Russo-Bulgarian military ALB.
a golden age of tranquil prosperity, the convention, 190213 PORT. SPAIN OTTOMAN
years before World War I were racked GREECE
Anglo-French Entente, EMPIRE
by political conict. Mass socialist 19041918 M
movements preached the overthrow TUNISIA ed
Anglo-Russian Entente, ite
of the capitalist system. Anarchists 19071917 (French) rran
MOROCCO ean Sea
practiced propaganda of the deed, (French) ALGERIA PERSIA
ALLIANCES DURING WORLD WAR I, (French)
assassinating monarchs such as the LIBYA EGYPT
Italian King Umberto I in July 1900, 191418 (Italian) (British)
and bombing symbols of power. The Allies (and allied states)
Suffragettes turned to violence in their Central Powers (and allied states)
quest for womens voting rights. Neutral states

17
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

Crises and Conicts


In the years before the outbreak of World War I, the European powers engaged in
brinkmanship and an accelerating arms race. A series of diplomatic crises and conflicts
in the Balkans accustomed Europeans to the possibility of a major war.

G
ermany was indisputably a presented a direct challenge to the subsequent international conference.
major military and economic Royal Navys dominance of its home The Germans took up the issue again
power by the end of the waters, the cornerstone of Britains in 1911, sending the gunboat SMS
19th century. However, it lacked two national security. The British responded Panther to the Moroccan port of Agadir.
of the attributes then regarded as with a massive warship-building This move provoked a diplomatic
indicative of great power status: a program of their own, setting a crisis, briey raising fears of a general
substantial overseas empire and an new standard for battleships with European war. By the end of 1911,
oceangoing navy. HMS Dreadnought in 1906. As the naval a settlement had been negotiated,
Under the unstable Kaiser Wilhelm II, race gathered pace, the British buried involving a small concession of Crisis in Morocco
Germany set out to ex its muscles on old rivalries to form an entente with territory to Germany from French The dispatch of the German gunboat Panther to Agadir,
the world stage. A plan to build a France in 1904 and with Frances ally, Equatorial Africa. This saber-rattling, caricatured in this contemporary German illustration,
world-class eet, proposed by Admiral Russia, in 1907. along with some anti-British remarks took Europe to the brink of war in 1911. Diplomacy
Alfred von Tirpitz, was adopted in dropped by the Kaiser, drove Britain solved the crisis but strengthened Anglo-French resolve.
1897. To Britain, this appeared to be a Moroccan crises to strengthen its links with France.
hostile act. The German naval program While making an enemy When the crisis of 1911 blew over, army increasing, it was in Germanys
of Britain, Germany also the prospect of a general war best interest to make the conict
manufactured a confrontation appeared to recede. Yet at happen sooner rather than later.
BE F O RE with France. In 1905, Kaiser a private meeting in
Wilhelm made a provocative December 1912, the Kaiser Slav nationalism
visit to Morocco, a nominally and his senior military In southeastern Europe, tensions were
The accession of German Kaiser independent country that France commanders discussed rising. The Balkans were a traditional
Wilhelm II in 1888 was followed by was absorbing into its sphere of launching a preventive war area of rivalry between Austria-
a fatal shift in great power relations. inuence. He called for all the against France and Russia. Hungary and Russia. The Russians had
powers to be given equal access They argued that with the adopted the role of protectors and
LEAGUE OF THE THREE EMPERORS to Morocco, a claim rejected by a strength of the Russian leaders of the areas Slav states,
In 1873, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck
tried to stabilize Europe through an alliance
of three empires: Germany, Russia, and
Austria-Hungary. In the 1880s, rivalry
between Russia and Austria-Hungary
undermined this system. Germany formed the
Dual Alliance with Austria-Hungary, but
maintained friendly relations with Russia. This German fleet, pre-1914
policy was abandoned by Wilhelm II. By 1894, Dreadnought battleships of the
Russia had allied itself with France German High Seas Fleet steam
against Germany. into the North Sea before World
War I. The navy was a source of
pride to the German people, its
expansion supported by a
patriotic Navy League with more
than a million members.

OTTO VON BISMARCK


CRISES AND CONFLICTS

including Serbia and Bulgaria. Russia Balkan soldiers


also had long-term ambitions to The two Balkan Wars of 191213 were fought with
expand at the expense of the declining great ferocity, resulting in more than half a million
Ottoman Turkish Empire. For Austria- casualties. The instability of the region drew Russia
Hungary, Slavs were a domestic and Austria-Hungary into a dangerous confrontation.
problem, a restive part of the empires
ethnic mix. By asserting itself against Serbia and Bulgaria was a major
the Balkan Slavs, especially Serbia, setback for Russias Balkan policy.
which was not in the Hapsburg Empire, Unable to back both countries, Russia
Austria-Hungary hoped to reinforce its was left with Serbia as its sole ally in
authority over its own Slav minorities. the Balkans.
In 1908, the Austro-Hungarian Germany, meanwhile, sought to
annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, an extend its inuence southward, and
area it already administered, provoked planned to build a Berlin-to-Baghdad
a hostile response from Russia, but its railway. This was interpreted by Britain
allies, Britain and France, refused to as a threat to its interests in the Middle
back military action. The annexation East. Enver Pasha, a Young Turk army
left the Russians humiliated and ofcer who became Turkish leader in
angered Serbia, which covertly backed 1913, was pro-German. He invited a
a campaign of attacks on Austro- period of political upheaval. In 1912, hostilities, Bulgaria was heavily German military mission, headed by
Hungarian ofcials by Bosnian Serbs. the Balkan Leaguean alliance defeated. The major winner of both General Otto Liman von Sanders, to
of Serbia, Bulgaria, Greece, and wars was Serbia, which almost doubled modernize the Turkish army.
The Ottoman Empire Montenegroattacked and defeated its territory. None of these crises, fears, and
The weakness of Ottoman Turkey was Turkey in the First Balkan War. After the war, Bulgaria was left a conicting ambitions made a general
another source of instability. In 1908, The victors then fell out over the discontented state, eager for revenge European war inevitable, but it had
Turkish nationalists, known as the spoils. Bulgaria attacked Serbia and on the Serbs, while the strengthening become distinctly imaginable and even
Young Turks, rebelled against the Greece to start the Second Balkan of a hostile Serbia was a disaster for tempting for some as a possible
sultan, Abdul Hamid II, opening a War. When Romania also joined the Austria-Hungary. The split between solution to intractable problems.

If the German eet becomes superior to ours, AFTER

the German army can conquer this country. In the years leading up to World War I,
SIR EDWARD GREY, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, 1906 a growing arms race was a clear sign
of insecurity and potential conict.

THE ARMS RACE


In its naval race with Britain, Germany
had built 17 dreadnoughts and ve battle
cruisers by August 1914. Due to Britains
massive nancial investment, however, it
retained its superiority over Germany, boasting
24 dreadnoughts and 10 battle cruisers.

DREADNOUGHT The name of a


British battleship that entered
service in 1906. It became a
general term for all modern
battleships of comparable
armament and performance.

France extended conscription by the


Three Year Law of 1913, attempting to match
the size of the German army from a much
smaller population base. Russia increased
military spending.

BALKAN TROUBLES
World War I was in part a third Balkan War,
following on from the two wars of 191213.
Triggered by the assassination of Austrian
Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Bosnian
Serbs at Sarajevo in June 1914 2829 ,
World War I began when Austria-Hungary
declared war on Serbia 3031 .
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

EMPEROR OF GERMANY Born 1859 Died 1941

Kaiser Wilhelm II
England, France, and
Russia have conspired
to wage a war
of annihilation
against us.
KAISER WILHELM II, MEMORANDUM WRITTEN JULY 30, 1914

T
o his enemies, Wilhelm II, King of Young leader
Prussia and Kaiser (Emperor) In the early part of
of Germany was the embodiment his reign, Wilhelm was
of aggressive Prussian militarism. Yet in a fresh force in German
many ways, Wilhelm had struggled to life, promising to lead the
adapt to the requirements of his social country on a new course to
status and ofcial role. A difcult birth global power and prosperity.
had left him with a withered and
paralyzed left arm. To this disability, patriarchal. He was, however,
about which he was self-conscious, neither physically nor
was added a neurotic nature. He emotionally t for the role. A
hero-worshipped his stern and warlike weak man trying to prove he was
paternal ancestors, and molded himself strong, he developed a habit of
in the image of the Prussian military erratic posturing, alternately bullying
traditionstrict, hard, pitiless, and and ingratiating. The other European
powers viewed Germany as unreliable
and dangerous.

On the global stage


Coming to the throne at the age of 29,
Wilhelm was determined to assert his
personal rule. He quickly disposed of
the experienced Chancellor Otto von
Bismarck. Weltpolitik, the theory that
Germany should take its place as a
global superpower, was adopted as
ofcial German policy in 1897. This
expansionist outlook was not his own
invention. It reected the ideas and
aspirations of a host of German
nationalists, who demanded that
their country should have a colonial
empire, an oceangoing navy, and
possibly Lebensraum (living space) in
eastern Europe.
For Wilhelm, diplomacy was partly
a family affair. He was a grandson
of Britains Queen Victoria, on his
mother's side, and cousin to Tsar
Churchill meets the Kaiser Nicholas II of Russia. These blood
The Kaiser hosted Winston Churchill during military connections were important to him,
maneuvers in 1909. Churchill described him as a man but did not necessarily imply
who wanted to be like Napoleon without having to friendship. His attitude toward Britain
fight his battles. in particular was contradictory. He

20
KAISER WILHELM II

The Kaiser at war


TIMELINE
Wilhelm was sidelined by military leaders,
but could not be ignored completely. January 1859 Born in Berlin, the son of Prince
Here, he stands between generals Paul von Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia and Princess
Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff at German Victoria of Great Britain.
General Headquarters in 1917. February 1881 Marries Augusta Victoria,
Princess of Schleswig-Holstein.
In the years leading up to June 1888 Becomes Kaiser after the death
World War I, the German high of his father, Friedrich III.
command under General
March 1890 Forces the resignation of veteran
Helmuth von Moltke and the
Chancellor Otto von Bismarck.
chancellor, Theobald von
January 1896 Sends a personal telegram to
Bethmann-Hollweg, dictated
South Africa to congratulate Boer leader Paul
policy. In the crisis of summer
Kruger for defeating the British-backed
1914, Wilhelm wavered
Jameson Raid. This causes offense to Britain.
between violent assertions of
the need for war and feeble 1897 Backs Admiral von Tirpitzs plan to build
attempts to preserve peace. a modern navy capable of challenging the
British in the North Sea.

The war years March 1905 Visits Tangier to assert German


Although the spirit of national interests in Morocco, antagonizing France and
unity that gripped Germany in causing a diplomatic crisis.
August 1914 carried the Kaiser April 1907 Prince Philip of Eulenburg,
to an unprecedented level of Wilhelms closest friend and personal adviser,
veered from clear admiration to a November 1908, General Dietrich, popularity, his marginalization is accused in the press of homosexual activities,
conviction that the British were intent Count von Hlsen-Haeseler, the continued. He intervened in the initiating a major scandal.
on seeking his destruction. Such Chief of the German Imperial Military direction of the German war effort, October 1908 Gives an ill-considered interview
instability was typical of the Kaiser, Cabinet, died while dancing in front but did not control it. He took a special to the British Daily Telegraph that includes wild
as was his impulsiveness. of the Kaiser dressed in a ballerinas interest in naval affairs, limiting the statements on foreign affairs.
tutu. More damagingly, from 1907 operations of the High Seas Fleet in July 1914 Assures Austria-Hungary of German
Waning authority the Kaisers closest condant, Prince order to avoid loss of his precious support for military action against Serbia
Wilhelm liked dramatic diplomatic Philip of Eulenburg, had to defend battleships. His attitudes showed his following the assassination of Archduke
initiatives, such as his unexpected himself against press allegations of habitual instability, one moment Franz Ferdinand.
appearance in Tangier in 1905, homosexual behavior. advocating genocidal policies on the August 1914 Delivers an eloquent address
provoking the First Moroccan Crisis. Germanys military and bureaucratic Eastern Front, the next considering to the deputies of the German Reichstag,
Yet the language of his speeches could establishment was beginning to tire a peace initiative based on an appeal welcoming national unity.
be blustering in a way that damaged of Wilhelms ill-considered public to his royal relatives. From 1916, he
August 1916 Sidelined as generals
Germanys international image. statements and erratic attempts to lost control of senior appointments and Hindenburg and Ludendorff take control
of the German war effort.
Epaulettes
January 1917 Approves the decision to resort
These shoulder boards
to unrestricted U-boat warfare, which will
formed part of the
bring the United States into the war.
Kaisers Hussar Life
November 1918 Having lost the support
Guard uniform. Wilhelm
of his army commanders and the German
loved military regalia and
people, Wilhelm abdicates and flees to exile
was deeply captivated by
in the neutral Netherlands.
the grandeur of parades
and ceremonies. June 1919 The Treaty of Versailles attempts
to prosecute Wilhelm for supreme offense

Germany is a young and growing empire


against international morality. The Dutch
government refuses to extradite him.
November 1922 After the death of Victoria

to which the legitimate ambition of patriotic Augusta, Wilhelm marries his second wife,
Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz.
June 1941 Dies in his country house at Doorn
Germans refuses to assign any bounds. in the Netherlands.

KAISER WILHELM II, INTERVIEW IN BRITAINS DAILY TELEGRAPH, OCTOBER 28, 1908

In 1900, he told German troops sent to exercise personal diplomacy. The last was forced to accept the ascendancy
suppress the Boxer Rebellion in China straw was an interview the Kaiser of General Erich Ludendorff, whom
that they should behave like Huns, a accorded to a British journalist for the he loathed. Almost powerless, he was
reference to the devastating attacks on Daily Telegraph in October 1908, in dubbed the Shadow Kaiser. His last
European areas of the Roman Empire which he described the British as mad exercise of authority was to sack
by the hordes of Attila the Hun in the as March hares, suggested German Ludendorff as the war effort fell apart
fth century. naval expansion was aimed at Japan, in October 1918. In November, facing
Beginning in 1908, Wilhelms and claimed to have personally shown defeat and revolution, the army
personal position weakened and his the British how to win the Boer War insisted that he abdicate. Wilhelm
inuence on policy-making waned. His in South Africa. This outburst alienated was spirited away into exile in the WILHELM AND HERMINE IN EXILE
reputation was damaged by association public opinion inside Germany as Netherlands, an irrelevant gure
with scandal. At a private party in well as abroad. as Germany entered a new era.

21
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

Planning for War


The armies of the major European powers had long prepared for the conflict that erupted
in 1914. Their military plans were a crucial factor in fueling the buildup to war, although its
actual course confounded all their expectations.

T
he war plans of all the Continental This risky plan, based on optimistic line of fortresses on its eastern border.
powers were built on the rapid assumptions about everything from the In 1911, however, General Joseph
mobilization of mass armies. marching speed of German troops to Joffre took over as French commander-
European states maximized their the slowness of Russian mobilization, in-chief, and French tactics changed.
manpower by conscripting a large was adopted in 1905.
proportion of their male population Schlieffens successor as Chief of the Offense versus defense
into short-term peacetime service. General Staff, Helmuth von Moltke Inuenced by military theorists such as
These trained men formed a reserve (known as Moltke the Younger), General Ferdinand Foch, who argued
that could be easily merely tinkered with that in modern warfare the offense

Part-time soldiers
deployed in the
event of war.
This created armies
42The number of days it

fall to Germany, according to


details of the plan,
would take for France to such as avoiding the
violation of Dutch
would always triumph over the defense,
Joffre adopted Plan XVII, prescribing an
immediate invasion of German-annexed
A British soldier, British lion, and the figure of Britannia of unprecedented the Schlieffen Plan. neutrality and shifting Alsace and Lorraine if war broke out. By
advertise a military exhibition held at the Earls Court size in Germany, some troops from the 1913, the French had also managed to
Exhibition Centre in London in 1901. France, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. enveloping maneuver to reinforce the extract from their Russian allies, whose
Britain, which did not have border with France. The consequences rearmament they were nancing, a
conscription, had a relatively small of violating Belgian neutrality were promise to launch an offensive against
number of regular troops and reserves, not addressed. Germany within 15 days of mobilization.
BE F O RE backed up by a part-time Territorial At the time the Schlieffen Plan was The Russians continued to have
Army intended for home service only. adopted, French war planning was separate plans for a possible war with
essentially defensive. Fearing German Austria-Hungary alone.
Prussian victories in wars against Plans for a war on two fronts military strength, France had built a Austria-Hungary faced a problem of
Austria in 1866 and France in 187071 The assumption behind Germanys war
convinced all European powers of the
need for meticulous war planning by
a properly trained general staff.
planning was that it would have to
ght France and Russia simultaneously,
a Franco-Russian military alliance
Let the last man on the right
PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS
having been in place since the 1890s.
The German armys Chief of the
brush the Channel with
Staff ofcers trained at the Prussian War
Academy had excelled in the organizational
task of moving masses of men swiftly to the
General Staff from 1891 to 1906,
Alfred von Schlieffen, believed that
a two-front war could be won only
his sleeve.
borders by rail and of supplying them once through bold aggression. He devised REMARK ATTRIBUTED TO COUNT ALFRED VON SCHLIEFFEN, 1905
they arrived. After a plan to hurl most of the
1870, other European German army into an
countries imitated the initial offensive against
NETH.
Prussian system France. Approaching via
e l Ostend Antwerp Dsseldorf
France, for example, Belgium, his troops would BRITAIN n Ghent
a n
creating its cole de encircle the French, Dunkerque 1ST ARMY
Cologne
h

r BELGIUM
C

Guerre in 1880. New attacking from the rear Yse Maastricht Aachen
Calais
GERMANY
h

Brussels
is

railroads were built and crushing them within Boulogne 2ND ARMY
gl

s Lille Lige hi

R
y ne
to facilitate six weeks of mobilization. L
En

use
Me Koblenz
mobilization, and The German troops would br e Namur
Sam lle
the drawing up of then move by train to the
se
Mo

So
Mauberge 3RD ARMY
railroad timetables was Eastern Front and defeat m
m
recognized as a vital the Russians.
e Amiens LUXEMBOURG
So ise Trier
staff function. m me O
4TH ARMY
Sedan
A isne Luxembourg
Compigne 5TH ARMY
BRITISH REFORMS The Schlieffen Plan Diedenhofen
Seine

The British Army lagged Germanys plan for defeating France involved Soissons Reims 5TH ARMY
e

Oi s
behind Continental an advance through neutral Belgium, the Verdun Metz
BRITISH BOER
WAR MEDAL Europe, but serious Netherlands, and Luxembourg to sweep 4TH ARMY
3RD ARMY
Mo s e lle 6TH ARMY
failings revealed during behind the French armies, which were to Paris
Toul Nancy Strassburg
Britains war against the Boers in South Africa be enveloped and swiftly destroyed.
Provins 2ND ARMY
in 18991902 led to major military 7TH ARMY
Seine
se

reforms. Pushed through by War Minister


Yo

Se

Meu

KEY Epinal
in
nne

Ma r n

Richard Haldane from 1905, these reforms


e

e
Planned routes of 1ST ARMY
created the post of Chief of the Imperial
German armies
General Staff and instituted detailed
planning for mobilization in case of war. German fortified town Belfort
Belgian fortified town F R A N C E
SWITZ.
French fortified town

22
PLANNING FOR WAR

German troops on maneuvers in 1904, designed to deter German force across the English Channel to
A crowd watches soldiers cross a pontoon bridge aggression, led to the development of take up position on the left of the AFTER
during Germanys 1912 military maneuvers. These war plans that would commit the French line, facing the border with
annual occasions were a testing ground for new tactics British to a European war. Belgium. The British were careful to
and technology and a display of military strength. From 1911, informal talks between avoid any formal promise to carry out The mobilization of European armies
British and French army commanders this commitment to their French allies. in 1914 mostly proceeded with an
split objectives. The Austro-Hungarian resulted in an understanding that, if The pre-1914 war plans were efciency that was a credit to the
chief of staff, Conrad von Htzendorf, France were attacked by Germany, worked out in great detail by staff professionalism of army staff ofcers.
favored an offensive war against Britain would send an expeditionary ofcers, with timetables that had to Once the ghting had started,
Serbia, and was inclined to stand be adhered to if the military machine however, little went as planned.
on the defensive against Russia. was to function smoothly. Collectively,
Belgium 0.1
But Austria-Hungarys German allies they created a situation in which the THWARTED EXPECTATIONS
needed Austro-Hungarian forces Serbia 0.4 mobilization of armies could only None of the plans of the initial protagonists
to attack the Russians in Poland, to with great difculty be prevented worked out as they had expected. Attacking
relieve pressure on Germanys Eastern Britain 0.7 from leading to large-scale battles. on their eastern frontier, the French army
Countries

Front. Despite Austro-Hungarian plans The planners had written the script quickly discovered their troops
Austria-
for a swing force to be mobilized Hungary
1.9 for a Europe-wide war that could vulnerability to defensive firepower.
against Serbia or Russia as required, be precipitated at any moment by At the same time, instead of achieving the
France 3.7
the issue was still unresolved in 1914. a single incident. rapid defeat of France they had envisioned,
German forces were driven back at the Battle
Germany 3.8
British commitments of the Marne in September 1914 5455 .
Britains front line of defense was its Russia 4.2
Army sizes at the outbreak of war On Germanys eastern front, advancing
Royal Navy, which had long enabled Russias army was substantially larger than those Russian armies suffered heavy defeats.
British governments to adopt a of other European nations, but it was poorly equipped There was to be no quick victory for anyone.
0 1 2 3 4 5
detached pose in relation to European and badly organized. Britain had a relatively small
affairs. But its entente with France Troops (in millions) army, and depended on the Royal Navy for defense.

23
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

weapons were being replaced by

Evolving Military bolt-action ries with ammunition


fed from a magazine. A well-trained
soldier using the Lee-Eneld, the
British Armys standard rie from
1895, could re more than 20 rounds

Technology a minute. This rate of re was far


exceeded by machine guns. The
Maxim gun, the rst true machine
gun, brought into active service in
the 1890s, red 600 rounds a minute.
The German army took to machine

Everybody will be entrenched... The guns enthusiastically, while other


countries struggled to nd a good
tactical use for the weapon.

spade will be indispensable. Rapid-re artillery


Artillery guns (long-range weaponry
JAN BLOCH, POLISH FINANCIER AND INDUSTRIALIST, IN THE FUTURE OF WAR, 1897 used for bombardment) also adopted
ried barrels and breech-loading.
The range of guns greatly increased,

T
he European armies and navies in precision engineering made it much a ball and powder down the barrel, and gunners began practicing the
of 1914 were the beneciaries of easier to mass-produce weapons with and cannon ring solid shot. Navies bombardment of targets beyond their
a century of progress in industry, complex mechanisms. Chemists went to sea in wooden sailing ships. eld of view.
science, and technology. Change was experimented with new explosives The pace of change was slow at rst, The invention in the 1870s of a
often not specically driven by military that would provide a more powerful but by the 1870s a repower hydraulic mechanism that returned
requirements. Railroads transformed replacement for gunpowder. revolution was under way. the guns barrel to its original position
the speed at which armies could be In the Franco-Prussian War of after recoil cleared the way for
deployed to frontiers. New means Arming the infantry 187071, both sides armed their rapid-re artillery. Most important
of communication, from the electric In 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic infantry (foot soldiers) with breech- of all, scientically designed shells
telegraph to the telephone and radio, Wars, armies fought with smoothbore loading single-shot ries. By the 1880s, packed with nitrate-based high
were adapted to military uses. Progress intlock muskets, loaded by ramming these already effective infantry explosives ensured that artillery re

Potential bomber
Just before the outbreak of World War I,
Russian aviation pioneer Igor Sikorski
(right) built the first multiengine aircraft.
These flying machines could carry a
substantial load and were turned
into bombers during the war.

24
E V O LV I N G M I L I TA R Y T E C H N O L O G Y

High-explosive shells
TIMELINE
Mass-produced in factories and fired from breech-
loading rifled guns, these shells marked a revolutionary 1840s Prussia is the first European state to
advance in destructive power over the gunpowder and equip its infantry with a breech-loading rifle,
smoothbore cannons of the mid-19th century. the Dreyse needle gun.
1859 In France, the army makes the first mass
The rapid developments in military movement of troops by railroad, transporting
technology from the 1870s occurred an army to fight the Austrians in northern Italy.
during a long period of peace between
the great powers. The Russo-Japanese
War of 190405, the rst conict to
use modern armaments, provided a
preview of what was to come in World
War I. At sea, torpedoes and mines
proved capable of sinking the largest
warships. On land, troops were
entrenched behind barbed wire.
Invented to control cattle in the
American West, barbed wire inicted
massive casualties on infantry
attempting frontal assaults.

Aviation is ne as a sport. The old ways die hard


In Europe, naval commanders
But as an instrument of continued to focus on bigger and better
battleships, while army commanders
BELGIAN
MACHINE GUN, 1869

war, it is worthless. preached the triumph of offensive spirit


over defensive repower. Openness to
technological innovation coexisted with
1860s The first hand-cranked rapid-fire
weapons are introduced, including the Belgian
Montigny Mitrailleuse and the American
FERDINAND FOCH, FRENCH GENERAL, 1911 an attachment to venerated traditions, Gatling gun.
such as the cavalry charge with saber
1866 British engineer Robert Whitehead
was more destructive. Ried guns and radio equipment proved cumbersome and lance, and the infantry assault with invents the first self-propelled naval torpedo.
high-explosive shells were also used at on land, and armies preferred to use xed bayonets. World War I would be
187071 In the Franco-Prussian War, Krupps
sea, mounted in rotating turrets aboard eld telephones. characterized by the contrast between
rifled artillery guns prove their effectiveness.
steam-driven steel warships. Inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright the efcient exploitation of weaponry
developed a heavier-than-air ying supplied by science and industry and 1880s High explosives such as picric acid
New technology machine between 1903 and 1905. the persistence of many attitudes to war (lyddite) and TNT come into widespread use
By the early 20th century, armies European armies showed interest but belonging to an earlier era. as fillings for artillery and naval shells, greatly
increasing their destructive effect.
and navies were eager to explore other adoption of the invention was delayed
new inventions that might give them by the brothers refusal to demonstrate 1884 The first recoil-operated machine gun is
an advantage over the enemy. Wireless their aircraft in public. invented by Sir Hiram Maxim. The Maxim gun,
telegraphy (radio), rst demonstrated Meanwhile, airships were developed as it is known, is used by the British Army in
experimentally in the 1890s, was in by, among others, German Count colonial wars in the 1890s. Its derivatives
include the German MG 08 (1908) and the
use by navies by 1904. However, early Ferdinand von Zeppelin. From 1909,
British Vickers gun (1912) used in World War I.
the year in which French pilot Louis
Blriot ew a monoplane across the 1886 Replacing gunpowder with a smokeless
Channel, an air craze gripped Europe. propellent makes rifle fire more effective.
Air enthusiasts and fantasy ction 1890s European armies are equipped with the
writers envisaged future aerial wars bolt-action repeater rifles they will use in World
with mass bombing of cities. More War I, such as the German Mauser Gewehr 98,
French Lebel, and Russian Mosin-Nagant.
The number of
12,000 machine guns in
service with the German army in
1897 The U.S. Navy adopts the first successful
powered submarine.
1898 France introduces the 75 mm field gun
August 1914. In contrast, the British that can fire up to 30 rounds a minute to a
and French armies had only a few range of 5 miles (8.5 km).
hundred machine guns each. 190405 In the Russo-Japanese War, the
combination of trenches and barbed wire,
soberly, armies and navies explored the artillery firing high-explosive shells beyond line
potential of airplanes and airships for of sight, and the use of field telephones and
reconnaissance, integrating both into radio anticipate the warfare of World War I.
maneuvers from 1911.
1906 The British battleship HMS Dreadnought
By that date, motor transportation enters service, making all previous leading
was having a major impact on warships obsolescent.
civilian life, but armies remained Clment-Bayard II airship
1911 The military use of aircraft begins as Italy
overwhelmingly reliant upon horse- Built in 1910 for the French army, this airship never
drops grenades on Ottoman Turks in Libya.
drawn vehicles. Armored cars began to entered service. It was the first airship to fly over the
come into service, and were used by English Channel, and its wireless transmitter achieved
Italy in its war with Turkey in 1911. the first air-ground radio communication.

25
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

1 MAUSER GEWEHR 98 (GERMAN)

2 7.92MM X57 MAUSER CARTRIDGE


(GERMAN)

5 PATTERN 1907 SWORD BAYONET (BRITISH)

7 KNIFE BAYONET (GERMAN)

8 .303 MKVII CARTRIDGE (BRITISH)


9 SHORT MAGAZINE LEE-ENFIELD (BRITISH)

Ries 11 HALES NO. 3 RIFLE GRENADE (BRITISH)


The infantry was armed with bolt-action rapid-fire rifles, with ammunition fed
from a box magazine. These were reliable, efficient weapons, and armies saw
no need for substantial innovations during the war.

1 Mauser Gewehr 98 (German) entered service in 1898. caused the cartridge to twist and deform, inicting more
This model has been tted with a telescopic sight for use severe wounds on the enemy. 9 Short Magazine
by a sniper. 2 7.92mm X57 Mauser cartridge (German) Lee-Eneld (British) was the standard British infantry
was adopted in 1905. Its use with the Gewehr 98 rie led weapon. The rie shown is the Mark III Star, introduced in
to the name Mauser being added. 3 Ross .303IN MK III late 1915. 10 Berthier MLE 1916 (French) A modied
(Canadian) Produced until 1916, the Ross was favored by version of the earlier MLE 1907/15, this increased the
many snipers due to its long-range accuracy. However, it magazine size from three rounds to ve. 11 Hales No. 3
often jammed in the muddy conditions of the trenches. rie grenade (British) Rie grenades, which clipped to the
4 M91 Moschetto de Cavalleria (Italian) This was a muzzle, provided greater range for explosives. 12 Cartridge
shorter variant of the Carcano M91 rie, the standard Italian belt (American) Standard issue for infantrymen, these belts
infantry weapon. 5 Pattern 1907 sword bayonet (British) enabled them to carry extra ammunition. 13 Mosin Nagant
Designed for the Lee-Eneld rie, this was based on the M1891 (Russian) was the main weapon of the Russian
Japanese Arisaka bayonet, but its long blade was unwieldy infantry. Due to shortages, Russia issued contracts to
in the trenches. 6 Steyr-Mannlicher M1895 (Austro- American rms for over three million of these ries.
Hungarian) was used by Austro-Hungarian troops, who 14 M1903 Springeld (American) After encountering
called it the Ruck-Zuck (very quick) due to its high ring Mauser ries in the Spanish-American War of 1898, the
rate. 7 Knife bayonet (German) Short and double-edged, United States negotiated a license to manufacture a
this attached to the Gewehr 98 rie and doubled as a Mauser-style rie of its own. 15 Cartridge belt (Turkish) This
trench knife. 8 .303 MKVII cartridge (British) This version belt with its cartridge pouches was made in Germany, as
of the Lee-Eneld cartridge had a heavy lead base, which was most of the equipment used by the Turkish troops.

26
RIFLES

3 ROSS .303IN MK III (CANADIAN)

4 M91 MOSCHETTO
DE CAVALLERIA (ITALIAN)

6 STEYRMANNLICHER
M1895 (AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN)

10 BERTHIER MLE 1916 (FRENCH)

13 MOSIN NAGANT M1891 (RUSSIAN) 12 CARTRIDGE BELT (AMERICAN)

14 M1903 SPRINGFIELD (AMERICAN)

15 CARTRIDGE
BELT (TURKISH)

27
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

BE F O RE

Austria-Hungary was a multiethnic


state in crisis. Its stability was under
Assassination
at Sarajevo
threat from growing discontent
among its Slav subject peoples.

AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN WEAKNESS
The countrys ruler, Emperor Franz
Joseph, had come to the throne in 1849.
His regime was splendid in its public On June 28, 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand,
ceremonies but shaky in its political and his wife, Sophie, were shot to death by a Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo. This act
foundations. In 1908, Austria-Hungary
annexed Bosnia- triggered a chain of events that would lead to the outbreak of war.
Herzegovina 1819, a

A
province with a mixed Serb, rchduke Franz Ferdinands visit the Austro-Hungarian authorities in not fully control one of the provinces
Croat, and Bosnian Muslim to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Austrian of their empire. The archdukes
population. This annexation Bosnia-Herzegovina, was a government had received specic planned route and schedule were
angered Serbia, an blunt assertion of imperial authority in warning of a planned assassination publicized in advance of the visit.
aggressive Balkan state with a recently annexed province. Even its attempt against the archduke, but the
ambitions to unite the regions timing was provocative June 28 was Imperial visitor
Slav population under its rule. The a day sacred to Serb nationalists as the The Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary Franz Ferdinand arrived in Sarajevo
Austro-Hungarian government felt the anniversary of the 1389 Battle of were one of Europes oldest royal by train at 9:50am. He was delighted
rising power of Serbia was a Kosovo, in which a defeat by the Turks families. They took their name to be accompanied by his wife, who
threat to its authority over its restive had cost Serbia its independence. from a castle in Switzerland. was usually excluded from all public
Slav subjects in the Balkans. Bosnian Serb separatists, who were ceremonies under the terms of their
armed, trained, and organized by visit went ahead regardless. To cancel marriage. The archduke rst inspected
EMPEROR FRANZ JOSEPH shadowy nationalist groups and it, or even to mount a heavy-handed troops drawn up on the Filipovic
military intelligence ofcers in Serbia, security operation, would have been parade ground and then set off for
had been carrying out attacks against an admission that the Hapsburgs did the town hall in a procession of cars.

Assassin apprehended
Gavrilo Princip is arrested after shooting Archduke
Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914.
Princip declared himself inspired by a mission to
free Slavs from Austrian rule by means of terror.
A S S A S S I N AT I O N AT S A R A J E V O

been planned and ARCHDUKE (18631914)


organized in Serbia.
This was enough. A FRANZ FERDINAND
Waiting among the band of assassins,
crowds along the route were with Serbian backing, Franz Ferdinand was the nephew of
seven young conspirators bent had killed the heir to the Emperor Franz Joseph. He became heir
on assassination. Six of them throne. Austria-Hungarys apparent to the Hapsburg throne in
were Bosnian Serbs and one a honor, prestige, and 1889. His relations with Franz Joseph
Bosnian Muslim, apparently credibility required that were soured by his insistence on
chosen deliberately to give the Serbia be made to pay. marrying an impoverished Czech
operation multicultural credentials. Assassins gun aristocrat, Sophie Chotek, in 1900. He
Between them they had six bombs The assassination was The road to war was forced to agree to humiliating
and four Serbian army pistols. carried out with a Austro-Hungarian ruling terms in order to marry her. She was
Belgian-manufactured circles were split between denied royal status, and any offspring
The assassination Fabrique Nationale Model hawks and doves. Chief of would be barred from inheriting the
As the motorcade drove along the 1910 semiautomatic the General Staff Count throne. Franz Ferdinands political
quay by the Miljacka river, one of the pistol, supplied by the Franz Conrad von position varied over time, but he was
conspirators, Nedjelko Cabrinovic, Serbian army. Htzendorf had long viewed by the Austro-Hungarian
threw a bomb that bounced off the sought a war with establishment as dangerously liberal
back of the archdukes car and the abdomen. The Serbia. He saw the on the key issue of Slav nationalism.
exploded. This injured a number of couple died within assassinations as an
bystanders, including a police ofcer. minutes, while still in ideal pretext for military
The would-be assassin then swallowed the car. Princip tried to kill action. Other important gures,
a cyanide pill and jumped into the himself but was overpowered by including Count Istvn Tisza, prime
shallow river, where he was arrested, onlookers and arrested. minister of Hungary, were more
the cyanide dose proving nonlethal. cautious, preferring a diplomatic
Angry and shocked by the incident, Austria-Hungary reacts solution. In the rst week of July,
Franz Ferdinand continued making his The news of the couples death was a
way to the town hall. The conspirators
dispersed into the crowds, their
assassination bid having seemingly
shock to the Hapsburg court. There
was no state funeral. Franz Ferdinand
and Sophie were interred side by side
47 PERCENT of the population
of Austria-Hungary were Slavs.
They included Poles, Czechs, Croats,
ended in failure. in a private crypt at Artstetten Castle in Slovaks, Slovenes, and Serbs. Only
Nineteen-year-old Gavrilo Princip the Danube valley. Emperor Franz 24 percent of the population were
went into a delicatessen to buy a Joseph was privately relieved that he ethnic Germans.
sandwich. Coming out of the shop, would never be succeeded by a
he found the archdukes car stopped nephew he neither liked nor trusted. Austria-Hungary sought the opinion of
directly in front of him. Franz A higher power, the emperor said, its ally Germany. Kaiser Wilhelm II had
Ferdinand had decided to visit the has restored that order which I could been outraged by the assassinations.
injured police ofcer in the hospital, unfortunately not maintain. But the His advisers, including Chancellor AFTER
but his driver had taken a wrong turn public affront to the Austro-Hungarian Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg,
and was trying to reverse. Seizing his state was gross. Although there was no agreed that Austria-Hungary should
opportunity, Princip pulled out his clear evidence that the Serbian be encouraged to take decisive, but The interrogation and trial of the
pistol and red twice, hitting the government had been directly unspecied, action against Serbia. conspirators failed to dispel the
archduke in the neck and his wife in involved, the operation had denitely Whatever the Austro-Hungarian mystery surrounding the event.
government chose to do, it could be

Sophie, Sophie, dont die! assured of Germanys support.


This loose guarantee of German
backingoften referred to as the
TRIALS AND EXECUTIONS
Twenty-ve Bosnian conspirators
implicated in the archdukes assassination
Stay alive for our children! blank checkput the hawks rmly
in control in Vienna. Austria-Hungary
were tried in Austria-Hungary in October
1914. Sixteen were found guilty and three
LAST WORDS OF ARCHDUKE FRANZ FERDINAND, JUNE 28, 1914 then drew up a series of demands hanged. Gavrilo Princip was spared execution
deliberately designed to prove because he had been under 20 years old when
unacceptable. Their rejection by Serbia the crime was committed. He died of
would provide a pretext for an attack tuberculosis in prison in April 1918.
by the Austro-Hungarian army. The planning of the operation was
No one was planning for a full- traced to the head of Serbian military
scale war. The idea was for a swift intelligence, Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijevic.
punitive invasion followed by a harsh Using the code name Apis, he also led a
peace settlement to humiliate and Serbian secret society known as the Black
permanently weaken Serbia. However, Hand. In 1917, the Serbian government had
nothing could happen quickly. Much Dimitrijevic and three other Black Hand
of the army was on leave, helping to members executed after a rigged trial.
bring in the harvest. After some
hesitation, the date for delivery of THE OUTBREAK OF WAR
an ultimatum was set for July 23. Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia
on July 28, 1914 3031 . Within a week, a
Private burial wider European war had broken out. World
Franz Ferdinand knew his Czech wife would be denied War I led directly to the collapse of Austria-
burial in the Hapsburg imperial crypt below the Hungary and the fall of the Hapsburg dynasty.
Capuchin Church in Vienna. He therefore specified in
his will that they be buried at Artstetten Castle, Austria.

29
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

The Slide to War


In late July 1914, an Austro-Hungarian confrontation with Serbia plunged Europe into
crisis. Such situations had been resolved before by diplomacy, but this time the major
powers slid with startling rapidity from peace to a long-anticipated war.

O
n July 23, at 6pm, the allow Austro-Hungarian ofcials to
Austro-Hungarian ambassador take part in the investigation of those
delivered an ultimatum to the who were responsible for the Sarajevo
Serbian government, starting the world assassinations. The Serbians were
on the road to war. The ultimatum given 48 hours to accept the demands
demanded that the Serbs suppress of the ultimatum or face war. Serbia
anti-Austrian terrorist organizations, accepted most of them but, assured
stop anti-Austrian propaganda, and of support from Russia, rejected
outright the idea of Austrian ofcials
operating in its territory.
BE F O RE A diplomatic solution was still
possible. On July 26, British Foreign
Secretary Sir Edward Grey proposed a
The assassination of Archduke conference of the major powers. Kaiser
Franz Ferdinand and his wife by a Wilhelm, returning from his holiday
Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo on June 28, cruise in the North Sea, enthused over
1914 2829 was followed by an the humiliation of Serbia and suggested faced the prospect of war spreading Life as usual
interlude in which, in public at least, that war was no longer necessary. to engulf them all. The insecurity The gravity of the diplomatic crisis in July 1914 was
little happened. and crises of the last decade had masked by summer holidays. Relaxation in the sun
The Russian reaction strengthened rival alliances and distracted ordinary German citizens and cloaked the
PLANNING FOR WAR The dominant elements within the hardened mutual suspicions. France machinations of military and political leaders.
Dominant gures in Austria-Hungary, notably Austro-Hungarian military and and Russia felt that they must stand or
Chief of Staff Franz Conrad von Htzendorf, political establishment did not want fall together. Neither had the military occasions that, for Germany, it was
were determined to use the assassination as a a diplomatic triumph. They wanted a or industrial capability to stand up to better if the war came sooner rather
pretext for war against Serbia. They had military victory to dismember Serbia Germany alone. By making no effort to than later. On July 29, he urged
received clearance from Germany to take and bolster Hasburg authority. Thus, restrain their ally, the French in effect mobilization to support Austria-
whatever action they wanted. It took time for on July 28, Austria-Hungary formally abandoned all inuence over the Hungary. German war plans dictated
Austria-Hungary to organize its blow against declared war on Serbia. evolving situation. that this had to be directed against both
Serbia, so through the rst three weeks of July To stand by while Serbia was defeated Russia and France and involve the
the crisis appeared to subside. by Austria-Hungary would have been German mobilization invasion of neutral Belgium.
a severe humiliation for Russia. It At this point in the crisis, a general war Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, debate
BUSINESS AS USUAL would have signaled the end of its was still far from inevitable. Yet leading raged about the practicality of partial
Maintaining a facade of normality, Kaiser long-nourished ambition to expand its gures in the German political and mobilization. The Russian foreign
Wilhelm left for a summer cruise. inuence in the Balkans and toward military ruling circle, including the minister Sergei Sazonov, fearful of
Meanwhile, French president Constantinople (modern Istanbul). Chief of the General Staff, Helmuth German intentions, forced through a
Raymond Poincar made a So, on July 28, Russia declared the von Moltke, and Prussian War Minister shift to general mobilization on the
prearranged visit to Russia to mobilization of its armed forces in Erich von Falkenhayn, decided the evening of July 30. This played into
conrm the long-established those regions facing Austria-Hungary, moment for the long-predicted war the hands of the German hawks, who
Franco-Russian but not along its border with Germany. with France and Russia had come. could now present themselves as
alliance. The issue of Suddenly the great European powers Moltke had argued on previous responding to Russian aggression.
Serbia was mentioned,
but without the urgency
of a matter that might
threaten war.
The lights are going out all over Europe;
TSARIST STATE EMBLEM
we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.
ATTRIBUTED TO SIR EDWARD GREY, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY, AUGUST 3, 1914

Naval review
In July 1914, Britains Royal Navy conducted a test
mobilization, followed by a review at Spithead.
Submarines were among the ships on show.
THE SLIDE TO WAR

AFTER

Through 1914, there were more


declarations of war as the conict
took on a global scale. Other countries
asserted neutrality.

THE WIDENING WAR


Britain and France also brought their
empires into the war 11819 .
In Britains case, this included the British
dominions of Australia, New Zealand, Canada,
and South Africaalthough in South Africa
entry into the war was contested by
anti-British Boers. Japan, an ally of Britain
since 1902, declared war on Germany
on August 23, 1914 8485 . The Ottoman
Empire entered the war as an ally of
Germany at the end of October 7475 .

NEUTRALITY
Italy opted to stay neutral. It had been
a member of the Triple Alliance with
Germany and Austria-
Hungary since 1882, but
with the Italian people in
equal measure hostile
to Austria-Hungary
and hostile to going to
war, in August 1914
neutrality seemed the best
policy. The United States
also declared neutrality
13031 .

PUBLIC UNITY
Combatant countries
experienced a wave of
social solidarity and
patriotic fervor at the FRENCH MEDAL
outbreak of war 3233 . OF HONOR

Rallying the nation


Germania, the personification of the German nation,
stands ready for war in Friedrich August von Kaulbachs
1914 painting of the same name. The German
government presented itself as the armed defender
of civilization against tsarist Russia in the East.

its commitment to Belgium. Britain


was a guarantor of Belgian neutrality
under the terms of the 1839 Treaty
of London. In order to implement the
Schlieffen Plan,the German army had
to cross Belgium. On August 2,
Germany demanded right of passage
for its troops.
The Belgians opted to ght. When
German troops entered Belgium on
On July 31, German chancellor limit the war to Russia, he was told government was horried by the August 3, Britain responded with
Bethmann-Hollweg asked Moltke, that mobilization for a war on two prospect of war. An inner circle of an ultimatum demanding their
Is the fatherland in danger? Moltke fronts could not be changed. A German ministers had gone much further than withdrawal. A British declaration
answered in the afrmative. On declaration of war on France followed was publicly known in committing of war on Germany followed on
August 1, Germany declared war on on August 3. British military support to France in August 4. Chancellor Bethmann-
Russia. The Kaiser made a last-ditch bid case of war. As ghting broke out on Hollweg, appalled at this turn of
for peace by sending a telegram to his Enter the British the continent, they could not carry events, told the departing British
cousin, Tsar Nicholas II, but the two For the Germans, a crucial but the rest of the government with them. ambassador, Edward Goschen, that
heads of state were not in control. unknown factor in the crisis was the More clear-cut than Britains ententes Britain had gone to war just for a
When the Kaiser ordered Moltke to reaction of Britain. The British Liberal with France and Russia, however, was scrap of paper.

31
THE TROUBLED CONTINENT

Pulling Together extremist in a Parisian caf. This act


of violence might have been expected
on a wider scalea struggle between
those in favor of the war and those
against it. Instead, the outbreak of war
The outbreak of war in August 1914 produced a remarkable show of solidarity in deeply was followed by an extraordinary
divided societies. As the mobilization of mass citizen armies proceeded smoothly, social and political solidarity.

revolutionary aspirations and antiwar sentiments drowned in a flood of patriotism. Growing patriotism
In every country, the vast majority

B
efore 1914, war was a divisive In Germany, the Social Democrats, parties of all the major European of people were convinced that their
issue in Europe. Nationalists and outspoken critics of Prussian countries belonged, believed it could nations cause was just, a necessary
imperialists praised war as a militarism, were the largest party in make war impossible through act of defense or the fulllment of an
healthy struggle for survival. Liberals the Reichstag. European socialists took coordinated working-class resistance. obligation. Accepting the need to
and socialists denounced it as an the slogan Workers of the world, On July 31, 1914, Frances most defend their country against tsarist
offense against civilized values or unite! seriously. The Second prominent antiwar socialist, Jean Russia, the most reactionary regime in
an evil product of capitalism and International, to which the socialist Jaurs, was killed by a nationalist Europe, the German Social Democrats
autocracy. Although newspapers were voted in support of the war. Surprised
often aggressively jingoistic, most Called to war and elated, Kaiser Wilhelm stated that
ordinary people were not, as their German reservists, some in he no longer saw parties, but only
voting patterns showed. uniform and others still in Germans. In Austria-Hungary, to
A general election in France in spring civilian dress, are mobilized general astonishment, even the
1914 brought a landslide victory for at the start of World War I. empires Slav minorities showed initial
radicals and socialists opposed to the Part-time, nonprofessional enthusiasm for the war.
countrys virulently anti-German troops, reservists were soon In France, squabbling
president, Raymond Poincar. to be thrown into battle. politicians buried their
differences in response

BE F O R E

If the slide to war took Europe by


surprise in summer 1914, it was partly
because other crises and scandals
were holding governments attention.

INTERNAL UNREST
Russia faced widespread strikes that
threatened to develop into revolutionary
upheaval. In France, the public was
preoccupied with the sensational trial of
Henriette Caillaux, wife of a former prime
minister. She had shot a French newspaper
editor for publishing her love letters. The
British were wrestling with a grave crisis over
Irish Home Rule 10607 , which
threatened civil war between Irish Protestants
and Catholics, and an arson campaign by
suffragettes seeking voting
rights for women.

SUFFRAGETTE BANNER

32
PULLING TOGETHER

AFTER

Unity in support of the war was never


complete and did not last. Social
conicts soon resurfaced and
opposition mounted.

DISSENTING VOICES
Socialists who opposed the war from the start
included Kier Hardie in Britain, Karl Liebknecht
in Germany, and Russian Bolshevik leader
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. In 1915, Liebknecht
and Rosa Luxemburg formed the revolutionary
Spartacus League to oppose the war.

to President Poincars appeal for a Britain was similarly swept by a wave Reviewing the Ulstermen
Union sacre (Sacred Union) in defense of patriotism. This was stimulated by The Ulster Volunteers are reviewed by their founder,
of the fatherland. French socialists fear of an increasingly powerful Edward Carson. On the outbreak of war, this Protestant
redirected their hostility against Germany and widespread sympathy militia, set up to fight Irish Home Rule, formed the HONORING THE SPARTICUS LEAGUE, BERLIN
German militarism. In Russia, widely for the plight of Belgium. Suffragettes basis of the British 36th (Ulster) Division.
believed to be on the brink of a negotiated a halt to their violent
revolution in the summer of 1914, campaign for womens voting rights, Rule when it ended. Somewhat
a vast crowd assembled with banners with the government freeing reluctantly accepted by the British
SUFFRAGETTE (18581928)
and icons in St. Petersburg to pledge suffragette prisoners in return for Army, Redmonds Irish Volunteers
their support to Tsar Nicholas II. the movements support in the war. formed the basis of the 16th (Irish) EMMELINE PANKHURST
Division. Some Volunteers refused

A fateful hour has fallen to follow Redmond and continued


their campaign against British rule.
Born in Manchester, Emmeline
Pankhurst was the founder of the
Womens Social and Political Union
upon Germany The sword Conscript armies
Mobilization of Europes conscript
(WSPU) suffragist movement. From
1903, she adopted militant tactics,

is being forced into our hands. armiesa complex operation on a vast


scalemostly proceeded smoothly.
including attacks on property and
hunger strikes, in pursuit of womens
Millions of men and horses were right to vote. On the outbreak of war in
KAISER WILHELM II, IN A SPEECH IN BERLIN, JULY 31, 1914 assembled, equipped, and sent by train 1914, she dedicated her organization to
to the front. Before the war, French support of the war effort. She called on
British trade unions also rallied behind military authorities had estimated that women to ght for their country as
the call for war, canceling a planned up to 13 percent of those called up they fought for the vote. Pankhurst
series of strikes. might not appear; in fact, only 1.5 felt her stance was vindicated by the
percent failed to present themselves as British parliaments partial extension
Irish support instructed. There were antidraft riots of voting rights to women in 1918.
Most remarkably, a perilous situation in some Russian towns and country
in Ireland was transformed. The war districts, but they were the exception.
broke out as Britain was about to grant Nonetheless, the popular image of
the Irish a measure of self-government, smiling soldiers leaving for the front
known as Home cheered by crowds is
Rule. This was
opposed by the
Protestants in Ulster,
715,000 The deceptive. There were
number tears, anxiety, and
of horses mobilized by resigned acceptance,
who had formed an Germany in 1914. as well as enthusiasm.
armed militia, the The large number of
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), to resist those not liable for military service
such moves. ProHome Rule Catholics who volunteered to ght in August
had responded by arming a militia of 1914 is evidence of the war fever
their own, the Irish Volunteers. gripping European nations. Britain was
The outbreak of the European war the only combatant country that did
prevented a civil war in Ireland. UVF not conscript. Responding to an appeal
leaders offered the services of their for volunteers launched by the newly
militia to the British Army, which appointed Minister for War, Lord
readily accepted them. Irish nationalist Kitchener, over 750,000 men had
leader John Redmond also supported enlisted by the end of September.
Britain in the war, calculating that this World War I was, at least initially,
would ensure implementation of Home a peoples war.

33
EYEWITNESS August 1914

The Declaration of War


The outbreak of war in the summer of 1914 was greeted
with a range of emotions from the people of Europe.
Most imagined it would be a brief conflict, with short,
murderous battles and a clear result. Thousands of young
men immediately rushed to take part in the glory,
while mobilization papers soon took othersfathers,
brothers, and sonsaway from their worried families.

dayUpandandnight,
down the wide road crowds paced incessantly by
singing the German war songs: Was blasen die
Trompeten?, which is the finest, Deutschland, Deutschland ber
Alles, which comes next, and Die Wacht am Rhein, which was
most popular. As I walked to and fro among the patriot crowds, I
came to know many of the circling and returning faces by sight
Sometimes a company of infantry, sometimes a squadron of horses
went down the road westward, wearing the new grey uniforms in
place of the familiar Prussian blue Sometimes the Kaiser in full
uniform swept along in his fine motor, cheered he was certainly
[But] the most mighty storm of cheering was reserved for the
crown prince, known to be at variance with his father in longing
to test his imagined genius in the field.

MR. H.W. NEVINSON, A CORRESPONDENT FOR THE LONDON DAILY NEWS, IN BERLIN
DURING THE FIRST DAYS OF AUGUST 1914

fields!
The tocsin! cried someone in the field. Theres a fire in the
Then we saw men running Soon the field was swept
with a wave of agitation. My husband and I stared without
understanding before we heard, right in our faces, the news
that a neighbor, in his turn, was yelling, War! Its war!
Then, we dropped our tools and joined the crowd, running
as fast as our legs could carry us, to the farmhouse. The men
usually so calm were seized with frenzy. Horses entered at
quick trot, whipped by their drivers, while the oxen, goaded
until they bled, hurried in reluctantly. In this coming and
going of wagons and animals, I could hear disjointed phrases:
General mobilization, What a misfortune, what an awful
misfortune!, Ill have to leave right away!, It was all bound
to come to this.

MM SANTERRE, A WEAVER FROM A FRENCH VILLAGE NEAR THE BELGIAN BORDER

War is declared
News of the much-anticipated announcement of war
in August 1914 drew huge crowds onto the streets
of Berlin. It was greeted with a mixture of solemnity
and excitement, for a swift victory was expected.

34
NOT OVER
2
BY CHRISTMAS
DECEMBER 1914
When Europe went to war in summer 1914,
most people expected a decisive victory for
one side or the other by the years end. In
fact, although battles were fought on a vast
scale, costing hundreds of thousands of lives,
the outcome of the war remained undecided.
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS


Britains naval supremacy King Albert I of Belgium At the Battle of
allows it to impose a blockade leads his nations defiance of Tannenberg on the
on Germany from the start German military might. Eastern Front in August
of the war. Its warship Belgium is overrun by the 1914, cavalry play an
HMS Queen Elizabeth, German army and subjected important role in the
launched in 1913, was a to brutal reprisals for alleged fighting between Russia
super-dreadnought, at the acts of resistance. and the Central Powers.
time the worlds most
advanced battleship.

Y
A

EN
ICELAND

RW

ED
NO

SW
EUROPE
BRITAIN
AY

EN

GERMANY
FAEROE ISLANDS
ATL A N TIC RUSSIAN EMPIRE
RW

(Denmark)
AUSTRIA-
SWED

FRANCE HUNGARY

Ca
OCEA N IT
NO

A
Sea

Black Sea

sp
LY

ian
S PA I N
PORTUGAL OTTOMAN

Sea
TUN

N
TA
c

EMPIRE
SPANISH MOROCCO IS
ti

DENMARK CYPRUS
AN
al

ISI A
B MOROCCO PERSIA H TIBET
North FG
A (autonomous)
Sea
BRI TAI N NETH. R U S S I A N ALGERIA L I B YA KUWAIT
BAHRAIN NEPAL
G E R MA N Y RIO DE ORO
EGYPT QATAR

E M P I R E NEJD TRUCIAL I N D I A

HE
BEL. LUX. ANGLO-
(Saudi) OMAN

JA
OMAN

Z
EGYPTIAN
FRENCH WEST AFRICA SUDAN HADHRAMAUT
F R ANC E AUSTRIA- GAMBIA FRENCH (British mandate) ADEN PROTECTORATE
TOGO
SWITZ. HUNGARY PORTUGUESE GUINEA EQUATORIAL ERITREA FRENCH SOMALILAND
SIERRA LEONE NIGERIA AFRICA ABYSSINIA BRITISH CEYLON
ROMANIA LIBERIA SOMALILAND
CAMEROON
SER

GOLD ITALIAN
A BULGARIA B la c k Sea
IT

COAST BRITISH EAST SOMALILAND


MONT.
I N D I A N
BIA

LY
L

AFRICA
FRENCH
PORTUGA

RIO MUNI BELGIAN


S PAI N ALB. (Spain) CONGO
CONGO GERMAN EAST
OTTOMAN AFRICA O C E A N
Me GREECE
di EMPIRE
te ANGOLA
rr DODECANESE NORTHERN
ALGERIA TUNISIA an (Italy) RHODESIA
MADAGASCAR
(France) (France) ean SOUTHERN
MOROCCO S e a CYPRUS GERMAN
RHODESIA
(France) (Britain) PORTUGUESE
SOUTH WEST BECHUANA-
AFRICA LAND EAST
LIBYA AFRICA
(Italy) EGYPT
(Britain)
UNION OF
SOUTH AFRICA

General Joseph Gallieni is The Kings African Rifles, a


entrusted with the defense of British colonial force, fight the
Paris in 1914. He leads the Ottoman Turkey joins the war on Germans in East Africa. German
counterattack against the flank the side of the Central Powers in late colonial troops sustain a
of invading German forces in October 1914. Russia declares war guerrilla campaign throughout
September, using taxis to move on Turkey after it bombs Russian the war, led by Colonel
troops from Paris to the front. Black Sea ports. Lettow-Vorbeck.

n August 1914, Germany implemented the Schlieffen Plan. counteroffensive at the Battle of the Marne. Germany was denied its
I German leaders intended to defeat France in six weeks before swift victory and a series of battles progressing northward to Ypres
turning to fight the Russians on the Eastern Front. Courageous and the Yser River left both sides dug into trenches by December
resistance from the Belgians, although soon swept aside, slowed the 1914. Meanwhile, on the Eastern Front, a Russian invasion of
advance of the main German armies into northern France. The French Germany was halted at Tannenberg. In warfare involving large-scale
suffered tremendous losses attacking Germanys western border but, maneuvers, the Russians generally performed better than Austria-
aided by the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), turned the tide with a Hungary but lost when fighting German forces.

38
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

1914
GREENLAND

C A N A D A
NEWFOUNDLAND

The Japanese Siege of Tsingtao, a


German naval base on the Shantung
Peninsula of China, is the first of several
successful Japanese assaults on German
territory in the Pacific.
UNITED S TAT E S
C H I N A JAPANESE
OF AMERICA
EMPIRE

BRITISH HONDURAS
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MEXICO
Mariana Hawaiian P A C I F I C CUBA VIRGIN ISLANDS A T L A N T I C
HAITI LEEWARD ISLANDS
Islands Islands
PHILIPPINE WINDWARD ISLANDS
SIAM HONDURAS
FRENCH
INDOCHINA
ISLANDS
GUAM Marshall O C E A N GUATEMALA
NICARAGUA
BARBADOS O C E A N
EL SALVADOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
BRITISH Islands
GERMAN PACIFIC TERRITORIES COSTA RICA BRITISH GUIANA
NORTH BORNEO VENEZUELA
Caroline CANAL ZONE DUTCH GUIANA
PANAMA
BRUNEI Islands
SARAWAK Christmas COLOMBIA FRENCH GUIANA
Gilbert Island
Islands
MALAYA Bismarck Nauru
Archipelago ECUADOR
KAISER Cook
DUTCH EAST INDIES WILHELMSLAND Solomon Islands
Ellice B R A Z I L

P E
Islands
PAPUA Islands
German Samoa

R
PORTUGUESE
TIMOR (Western) French Polynesia

U
New
Hebrides
Fiji Tonga BOLIVIA
PA
New RA
G
A U S T R A L I A Caledonia

UA
L E

Y
THE WORLD IN
C H I

URUGUAY DECEMBER 1914


ARGENTINA
The Central Powers
In the Battle of the Central Powers conquests
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, part Falklands in December 1914, to Dec 1914
of German New Guinea Vice Admiral Sir Frederick Allied states
is attacked by an Australian Sturdee commands the FALKLAND
ISLANDS Allied conquests to
expeditionary force in victorious British squadron. Dec 1914
September 1914. Only lightly Four German cruisers are sunk Neutral states
defended, the territory quickly falls. in the naval battle.
Frontiers, Jul 1914

At sea, the superiority of the British Royal Navy mostly kept the Germanys colonies in Africa, China, and the Pacific were mostly taken
German High Seas Fleet pinned in port. German cruisers stationed with ease by the Allies, including Japan, which entered the war at
outside Europe when the war began threatened Allied merchant Britains request. Only in East Africa would prolonged German
shipping but were tracked down and destroyed. A German resistance require a large-scale campaign. The entry of Ottoman
squadron commanded by Vice Admiral Maximilian von Spee was Turkey into the war as one of the Central Powers extended the conflict
at large in the Pacific, but after a victory at Coronel, off Chile, into the Middle East. The Ottoman sultan called for a Muslim holy war
was sunk off the Falkland Islands. against the European empires.

39
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

TIMELINE 1914
Declarations of war Germany invades Belgium Battle of Tannenberg
First Battle of the Marne Turkey enters the war First Battle of Ypres
Start of trench warfare Christmas Truce

AUGUST SEPTEMBER
AUGUST 1 AUGUST 16 AUGUST 24
Germany declares war Germans capture French and British
on Russia. Belgiums Lige forts, forces begin a retreat
using siege artillery. from Belgium.
AUGUST 3
Germany declares war AUGUST 20 AUGUST 25
on France. Brussels falls to the Belgian city of Louvain
Germans. Belgian army is sacked by German
withdraws to Antwerp. troops. Fortress
Germans retreat in East of Namur falls to
French infantry Prussia after Battle of the Germans.
uniform Gumbinnen.

AUGUST 4 AUGUST 26 Indian cavalry in SEPTEMBER 5


northern France
Germany invades First day of the Battle of French Sixth Army
Belgium. Britain Tannenberg between counterattacks German
declares war on Russian and German SEPTEMBER 2 troops marching east
Germany. forces. British fight French government of Paris.
rearguard action at evacuated from Paris
AUGUST 5 Le Cateau in France. to Bordeaux.
SEPTEMBER 6
Austria-Hungary
French general
declares war on Russia.
Joffre launches a
counteroffensive, the
First Battle of the Marne.

AUGUST 6 AUGUST 12 AUGUST 21 AUGUST 28 SEPTEMBER 7


Belgian city of Lige Austro-Hungarian Serbs drive back Clash of British and French fortress of
surrenders to the forces invade Serbia. Austro-Hungarians German warships at Maubeuge surrenders
Germans but its forts at the Jadar River. Heligoland Bight results after 13-day siege.
continue resistance. AUGUST 14 in British victory.
French offensive SEPTEMBER 11
AUGUST 7 in Lorraine begins, Australian troops
First troops of British opening the Battle land in German
Expeditionary Force of the Frontiers. New Guinea.
(BEF) land in France.

German knife

AUGUST 23 AUGUST 29 SEPTEMBER 13


British encounter German Russians suffer defeat at German troops
troops for the first time at Tannenberg. German retreating from the
Mons, Belgium. More than advance from Belgium British recruitment poster Marne dig into
600 Belgian civilians are delayed by French trenches at the Aisne.
massacred by Germans counterattack at Guise
at Dinant. Japan declares and St. Quentin. SEPTEMBER 14
war on Germany. Defeated at the Masurian
SEPTEMBER 3 Lakes, Russians are driven
Russians take Lvov out of East Prussia.
(Lemberg) from Austria- Falkenhayn becomes
The Battle of Mons Hungary in Galicia. German chief of staff.

AUGUST 15 SEPTEMBER 22
Russian troops Three British cruisers
advance into are sunk by a German
East Prussia. submarine in the
North Sea.

SEPTEMBER 26
First British Indian
troops arrive
in France.

French refugees

40
TIMELINE 1914

In a battle on which the countrys fate depends, every


effort must be made to attack A soldier must be
killed where he stands rather than retreat.
FRENCH GENERAL JOSEPH JOFFRE, ORDER NO 6, ISSUED SEPTEMBER 5, 1914

OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER


OCTOBER 1 OCTOBER 17 NOVEMBER 9 DECEMBER 16
French offensive at Arrival of Russian Australian cruiser German battle cruisers
Arras is halted by the reinforcements forces Sydney sinks the shell Scarborough and
Germans during the the Germans to begin German commerce other towns on the
Race to the Sea. withdrawal from Poland. raider SMS Emden in English east coast.
the Indian Ocean.
OCTOBER 8 OCTOBER 19
Belgian army abandons First Battle of Ypres
Antwerp under begins as Germans
bombardment from fight to reach the
German siege guns. Channel ports.
German pilots badge

OCTOBER 12 OCTOBER 22 NOVEMBER 11 DECEMBER 8


Germans occupy the Germans suffer heavy German offensive in At the Battle of the
French city of Lille. British losses at the Battle of Poland launches the Falkland Islands, the
Expeditionary Force is Langemarck, known month-long Battle British Royal Navy
moved to positions as the Kindermord. of Lodz. destroys a German
in Flanders. squadron commanded
NOVEMBER 1
OCTOBER 27 NOVEMBER 12 by Admiral von Spee.
Royal Navy squadron
OCTOBER 15 Britains Royal At the First Battle of
is defeated by Admiral
First Canadian troops Navy dreadnought Ypres, fierce German
von Spee at the
arrive in Britain. Germans HMS Audacious is attacks are repulsed
Battle of Coronel in
and Russians fight in front sunk by a mine. at Gheluvelt. Field Marshal
the Pacific.
of Warsaw. Paul von Hindenburg

NOVEMBER 4 NOVEMBER 16 DECEMBER 10 DECEMBER 17


In German East Africa, Sultan of Turkey calls With opposing armies The British depose the
a British Indian for a jihad (holy war) in France and Belgium pro-Turkish Khedive of
invasion force is against the British dug into trench lines, Egypt. Egypt becomes
defeated by German Empire. the French launch a British protectorate.
colonial troops an offensive in
at Tanga. NOVEMBER 21 Champagne. It is a DECEMBER 22
British Indian forces costly failure. On the Caucasus front,
NOVEMBER 7 take Basra in southern the Russians launch a
Japanese take the Mesopotamia. counteroffensive at
German base of Sarikamish that crushes
Tsingtao in China. Turkish forces.

The Battle of the Yser OCTOBER 29 NOVEMBER 8 NOVEMBER 29


Turkey enters the war Austria-Hungary Germans launch a final
OCTOBER 16 on the side of the relaunches its invasion offensive at the First
Belgians resist the Central Powers, of Serbia. Battle of Ypres.
Germans at the Battle bombarding Russian
of the Yser. Japanese Black Sea ports.
attack the German Renewed German
base at Tsingtao offensive at Ypres drives
in China. back Allied forces.

OCTOBER 30 DECEMBER 15 British and German soldiers


Belgians flood land Austro-Hungarian during the Christmas Truce
at the Yser Canal, forces are driven out
DECEMBER 25
halting the German of Belgrade by the
Soldiers of the opposing
advance. Serbs after occupying
armies fraternize at
the city for two weeks.
many points along the
Western Front in the
Christmas truce.
British naval aircraft
raid German airship
Barbed wire
sheds at Cuxhaven.

41
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O RE

Neutral Belgium was a small country,


but densely populated and heavily
industrialized. In 1914, it stood in the
The Invasion of Belgium
path of the German attack on France. In August 1914, the Belgians fought the German army to defend their independence.
Outraged by Belgiums determined stand, which they had not expected, the Germans
GERMAN THREATS
The German Schlieffen Plan 2223, carried out massacres and acts of destruction that shocked the world.
adopted in 1905, required the bulk of the

G
German army to advance through erman forces invaded Belgian refugees
Belgium. On August 2, the German Belgium on August 4. Carrying a few belongings, Belgians fleeing the
ambassador delivered a note to the Belgian Immediately in their path German invasion cross into the Netherlands in
government, stating that the German army lay the industrial city of Lige, August 1914. About 300,000 Belgians sought
was going to enter Belgium to forestall surrounded by fortresses. refuge in the Netherlands, Britain, or France for
a violation of Belgian neutrality by France. Expecting only token resistance, the duration of the war.
The note gave the Belgians 12 hours to decide the Germans instructed a force of
on whether to allow this or go to war. The next 39,000 men, under General Otto Civilians pay the price
day, Belgium informed Germany that it would von Emmich, to seize the city in Many German ofcers seem
resist by all means in its power. 48 hours. to have regarded the fact that
Belgiums King Albert I Belgium fought at all as a form
BELGIUM PREPARES entrusted the defense of Lige of treachery and a cause for
Belgiums army was weak, and military to the reliable General Grard outrage. Rumors of attacks on
service had only been introduced in 1913. In Leman, with rm instructions to soldiers by Belgian civilians and
their favor, the Belgians had built state-of-the- hold out to the end. The Belgians of the mutilation of corpses were
art fortresses at Lige and Namur. In blew up the bridges over the Meuse penetrated the city and received the rife in the German ranks and repeated
addition, Britain was a guarantor of River to slow the German advance. surrender of its citadel. Most of the by the German press. In the confusion
Belgian neutrality under the 1839 Treaty When Emmichs infantry and cavalry other fortresses held out, their concrete of war fought amid towns and villages,
of London 3031. At the outset of war, the reached Lige, their frontal assaults on and armor plate invulnerable to it was easy for troops to convince
Belgian government told civilians not to prepared Belgian defensive positions German artillery. But on August 12, themselves that they had been shot
carry out acts that might give the Germans were repulsed by artillery and Krupp 420 mm and Skoda 305 mm at by civilians, when in fact they were
a pretext for bloodshed or pillage or massacre machine-gun re, with heavy losses. howitzersmonstrous siege guns victims of friendly re or Belgian
of the innocent population. The great German offensive was reached Lige. Within three days the troops ring from houses.
immobilized until, on August 7, staff Germans had bombarded the fortresses There is no evidence that civilians
ofcer Erich Ludendorff and his forces into submission, and the way was resisted the Germans at all, but
open for them to ood across Belgium. nonresistance did them no good. In

Our advance in Belgium is German troops were under orders


to respond to any Belgian civilian
resistance with summary executions
many places prominent individuals
typically the parish priest and the
mayorwere shot. Occasionally,
certainly brutal, but we are and collective reprisals. From the rst
day of the invasion, soldiers shot
massacres occurred. In the town of
Dinant on August 23, 674 civilians,

ghting for our lives Belgian civilians and burned down


houses as a punishment for alleged
acts of resistance.
including women and children, were
executed by German ring squads.
At Tamines, the death toll was 384.
HELMUT VON MOLTKE, GERMAN CHIEF OF STAFF, AUGUST 5, 1914
German advance
News of German attacks on civilians
and the burning of towns and villages
was inated by rumors, such as the
false allegation that German soldiers
were cutting off the right hands of
male children. A ood of Belgian
refugees was soon eeing from the
advancing German forces.
Determined to continue the struggle
but incapable of facing the Germans in
the eld, King Albert withdrew the
bulk of his army to Antwerp, which
had a fortied perimeter. Brussels was
abandoned to occupation by the
German First Army. Farther south, the
fortress complex of Namur, in the path
of the German Second Army, held out
for only three days after the German
siege guns arrived on August 21.

Effects of German bombardment


Pre-World War I fortresses were armor-plated
structures buried deep in the earth, with their guns
mounted on rotating turrets. Only the largest German
siege guns could bombard them to rubble.

42
T H E I N VA S I O N O F B E L G I U M

By the third week in August, British


and French troops were beginning
to engage with the Germans on
Belgian soil. As the next phase
of the war opened, however, there
was a nal paroxysm of German
rage against the Belgian nation.
On August 25, German troops Pickelhaube
occupying the historic city of Louvain, Cartridge
19 miles (30 km) east of Brussels, red pouch
on one another in a confused
nighttime incident. Convinced they

5,521 The number of


Belgian civilians
who were massacred by advancing
M1898
bayonet
German forces during their invasion
of Belgium. According to official
figures, at least 14,000 buildings
were deliberately destroyed.

had been attacked by civilians rather


than by friendly re, German soldiers
reacted ruthlessly, looting and burning
the towns buildings (including its
famous medieval library), executing
more than 200 people, and emptying
the town of its population.
The destruction of Louvain proved to
be a propaganda disaster for Germany,
conrming an image of the brutal
Huns that would sustain its enemies
in war for four years.

KING OF BELGIUM (18751934)

ALBERT I

Scabbard

AFTER

The Germans occupied


almost the whole of
Belgium. Antwerp fell
in early October, but Belgian forces
Albert I had come to the Belgian throne held on to a strip of the Flanders
in 1909 and was a popular king. As a coast in the Battle of the Yser
constitutional monarch, he had no later that month.
control over military matters until the
outbreak of war, when the constitution PLUNDERED NATION
made him commander-in-chief. His The Germans placed Belgium under
resistance to Germany was motivated by military government. In 191617, Belgians
a determination to preserve Belgium as were deported to work in German factories.
an independent nation. He kept his Model 1866 Belgian resistance workers who spied
army intact in 1914, rst in Antwerp boots on German troop movements or aided escaping
and then through withdrawing Allied prisoners of war were executed. Many
westward along the Flanders coast. German infantry uniform Belgians also suffered from malnutrition,
He headed a government-in-exile in The uniform of a German noncommissioned despite food aid from the United States.
Le Havre, France. In October 1918, he officer at the start of World War I included a Flemish separatism was encouraged by the
commanded Allied forces in the Courtrai Pickelhaube (spiked helmet), made of boiled Germans, and the annexation of Belgium
Offensive, in Belgium, re-entering leather (no army used steel helmets in became a German war aim 20203 .
Brussels in triumph in November 1918. 1914). The cloth cover prevented the
helmet from glistening in the sun.

43
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

The French Uncovered kepi

Offensive Tunic

Frances attacking strategy at the start of the war, flawed in


conception and naively executed, led to heavy losses in Alsace,
Lorraine, and the Ardennes. Despite the scale of the casualties,
this military disaster did not break French resolve.

O
n August 8, French commander- infantry. The Schlieffen Plan dictated
in-chief General Joseph Joffre that the Germans should hold prepared
issued General Instruction defensive positions at Morhange and
No. 1, ordering a general offensive to Sarrebourg, but Crown Prince
open on August 14. Two armies were Rupprecht of Bavaria, commanding in
to advance into Lorraine and three Lorraine, obtained permission from
into the Ardennes forest and southern German General Staff to launch
Belgium. By the time the order was a counteroffensive.
Celebrating victory issued, one French force had already
French propaganda shows Alsace-Lorraine as a woman crossed the German border. An army Forced back
carried off by a Prussian in 1870 but returned to her corps and a cavalry division under On August 20, German infantry moved
true French lover in 1914. Optimism about the recovery General Louis Bonneau was sent into forward after a concentrated artillery
of the lost provinces proved to be premature. Alsace on August 7 to take the city bombardment. Stunned by the power
of the German heavy guns, the French

BE F O RE 84 PERCENT of eligible French


men were called up for
military service. From 1913, the
Second Army reeled back from
Morhange, forcing the First Army
to fall back as well. By August 23,
service period was three years. the French troops, much depleted
In the rst week of August 1914, ve in numbers, had been thrown back
French armies mobilized on the of Mulhouse. The Alsatians, supposedly to their starting points on the
countrys eastern borders, ready to groaning under German rule since Meurthe river.
implement General Joffres Plan XVII. 1871, were expected to rise up against By then, the French Third and Fourth Bayonet
their oppressors. Overcoming light armies were engaged farther north,
FAST FORWARD German resistance, Bonneau entered with similarly disastrous results. They
French mobilization was efciently Mulhouse, triggering a fanfare from marched into the heavily wooded
conducted. The French First and Second French propagandists euphorically Ardennes expecting to achieve surprise
Armies faced Alsace and Lorraine, the celebrating the liberation of Alsace. and nd it lightly held. For the
provinces lost by France to Germany in 1871. The Germans quickly counterattacked Germans, this sector formed the
The other three armies took up positions and Bonneau embarrassingly innermost part of their great wheeling
from Verdun northward. The British scampered back across the French movement through Belgium. Their
Expeditionary Force (BEF) was stationed border, where he became the rst of Fourth and Fifth Armies, respectively
to their left at Maubeuge. many French generals in the war to be commanded by Albrecht, Duke
dismissed by Joffre. A hastily organized of Wrttemberg, and German Crown
FRENCH CONFIDENCE Army of Alsace retook Mulhouse, but Prince Wilhelm, were advancing in
The French anticipated a German move the French effort in Alsace was the opposite direction from the French.
through southern Belgium, but not the overtaken by events farther north German reconnaissance aircraft
large-scale sweeping movement planned by and soon abandoned. reported the presence of
Alfred von Schlieffen 22. By French troops, alerting
August 14, German troops Attempt on Lorraine the Germans to the
were pouring into The main French imminence of battle.
Belgium 4243, but offensive opened in Depending on cavalry
General Joffre remained Lorraine on August 14. for reconnaissance, the
condent of success, The French First and French plunged
dismissing fears Second Armies crossed forward, believing that,
expressed by the border, advancing as Joffres headquarters
General Charles with banners and bands informed them, no
Lanrezac, who playing. The German serious opposition
was commanding Sixth and Seventh need be anticipated. Hobnailed boots
troops on the left Armies withdrew, Royal commander On August 22, the
of the French line. ghting stiff delaying Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, opposing armies collided
actions in which their depicted on this medal, commanded in morning fog. Both
VON SCHLIEFFEN machine guns took a German forces in Lorraine in August sides suffered heavy
heavy toll of the 1914. Bavaria was part of the German casualties. The rapid re
brightly clad French Empire but had its own monarchy. of the French 75 mm

44
THE FRENCH OFFENSIVE

AFTER

Regimental In an instant it had At the same time that French


markings

become clear that all offensives failed in Lorraine and the


Ardennes, French and British forces

the courage in the encountered the main German armies


advancing through Belgium.

world could not SAMBRE AND MONS


The French Fifth Army, under General

withstand this re. Charles Lanrezac, fought the German


Second Army at the Battle of the Sambre.
On Lanrezacs left, the British Expeditionary
CHARLES DE GAULLE, A PLATOON COMMANDER IN THE Force confronted the German First Army at
FRENCH FIFTH ARMY, AUGUST 1914 Mons 4647 . Overwhelmed by the
German forces, the French and British
eld guns slaughtered German troops began a retreat from Belgium that took them
caught on open ground, but the French south of Paris 5253 .
came off worse. They were too often
thrown forward in futile bayonet FRENCH RECOVERY
Cartridge pouch charges and reluctant to dig trenches, Departing from the Schlieffen Plan, Chief
the only effective protection against of the General Staff Helmuth von Moltke
artillery and machine gun re. provided reinforcements to continue the
German offensive in Lorraine. In desperate

140,000 The estimated


number of
French casualties in the Battle of
fighting in early September, Frances eastern
line held in front of Nancy and Verdun.
Meanwhile, Joffre set about rearranging
the Frontiers, August 1424, out of his armies. On September 5, he launched a
some 1.25 million troops deployed. major counteroffensive at the Battle
Haversack of the Marne 5455 .
The French Third Colonial Division lost
11,000 of its 15,000 men in a day.
Despite receiving orders from Joffre to
resume their advance in the Ardennes, Forced on the defensive, however, the
the French armies fell back in disarray French troops fought like tigers. The
behind the Meuse River. Germans, in their turn, discovered how
difcult it was to assault determinedly
End of the offensive held defensive positions. By August 26,
By August 24, the French offensive the French had halted their enemy in
laid down in Plan XVII had clearly front of the town of Nancy.
failed. On the attack, French forces
had proved naive, launching infantry African soldiers
assaults without artillery support and Arab and Berber troops of the French Army of Africa
without adequate reconnaissance. were brought to France from Algeria, Morocco, and
Lack of heavy guns and entrenching Tunisia on the outbreak of war. These colonial soldiers
equipment had proved fatal defects. soon moved into frontline positions.

Scabbard

Pants

French infantry uniform


The French army entered the war with uniforms that
made little concession to the need for camouflage.
Dark blue overcoats and bright red trousers offered a
clear target for enemy fire, although the red kepi was
hidden by a cloth cover.

45
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O R E

Britain declared war on Germany


on August 4, 1914. By the time the
The British Peak cap

Go into Action
British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had
deployed to France, the ghting was
already well under way.

BRITAIN JOINS FRANCE


First organized in 1907, the BEF consisted of
six infantry divisions and a cavalry The regular professional soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force
division. Under plans discussed with the arrived in France in August 1914 to find themselves directly in the
French army from 1911, the BEF was to take up
position on the left of the French line. Home path of the main German offensive through Belgium. They received
defense was to be entrusted to the Territorial their first taste of war at the Battle of Mons.
Army and reserves. At the outbreak of war,

P
laced in command of the British sector. By August 16, when Field
Expeditionary Force (BEF), Field Marshall French went for his rst
Marshal Sir John French was meeting with General Charles
given written instructions by the newly Lanrezac, commander of the French
appointed Secretary of State for War, Fifth Army, it was becoming apparent
Lord Kitchener. These told him to this would not be the case.
support and cooperate with the
French army, while at the same time Mutual incomprehension
stressing that he would in no case Ordered by a complacent General
come under the orders of any Allied Joffre to advance into southern
general. The eld marshal was also Belgium, Lanrezac was convinced he
instructed to take the greatest care to was about to be overwhelmed by
minimize losses German forces. He
and wastage.
How the BEF
wasto remain
100,000 The number of
British soldiers
did not trust the
British to protect
deployed by the BEF in August 1914. his left ank,
BRITISH FORCES ARRIVE AT BOULOGNE independent and By the end of the year, 90 percent especially as they
intact while were killed, wounded, or missing. had arrived with
however, the nervous British government wholeheartedly only four divisions
insisted on two infantry divisions remaining at supporting the French was not instead of the promised six. The
home. Mobilization was punctual and explained. Kitchener also sent a meeting between French and Lanrezac
efficient, with large numbers of horses also personal message to the troops in ended in mutual incomprehension.
sent to the front. The BEF was in position which they were advised, among other The British advanced into Belgium,
around Maubeuge in France by August 20. things, to behave courteously in reaching the Cond-Mons canal on
By then, the Lorraine offensive was in foreign lands and resist temptations August 22, a day ahead of General
trouble 4445, and Belgium was both in wine and women. Alexander von Klucks German First
being decimated 4243. The BEFs position on the Belgian Army, which was advancing from the
frontier at the extreme left of the east. Under orders to maintain the
French line was considered a quiet pace of the advance through
Belgium, Kluck mounted a frontal
assault on the British, who were
in defensive positions along the far
BRITISH GENERAL (18521925)
bank of the canal. The Battle of
JOHN FRENCH Mons, as it became known, was
a erce skirmish.
The rst commander of the British Expeditionary
Force, Field Marshal Sir John French made his Gunned down
reputation as a dashing cavalry ofcer ghting The British were short of machine
the Boers in South Africa. guns but the rapid rie re of the
Appointed Chief of the Imperial General regular soldiers mowed down the
Staff in 1912, he resigned in April 1914 over massed columns of German
government policy on Ireland. His seniority infantry. British eld artillery
made him a natural choice to lead the BEF, but was pushed dangerously
he soon proved to be out of his depth. He was forward, because the
reluctant to liaise with the French and, after gunners were unpracticed in
initial setbacks in August, was persuaded ring beyond line of sight, but
only with great difculty to return its shrapnel was brutally effective
to the ght at the Battle of the against soldiers advancing in the open.
Marne. Considered ill-equipped By the end of the day, the BEF had
to cope with the challenges of suffered 1,600 casualties, and the B5 ammunition boots
trench warfare, he was replaced Germans 5,000. Outnumbered two to
by Sir Douglas Haig in one in soldiers and guns, the British
December 1915. had been forced to pull back, but they
were ready to resume the next day.

46
THE BRITISH GO INTO ACTION

AFTER
Knapsack

The Battle of Mons was a minor THE GREAT RETREAT


engagement, but because it was the Mons was the starting point for the Great
rst entry of British troops in the war, Retreat 5253 , in which French and
it was portrayed as an epic British troops marched from
battle to the British public. Belgium to south
of the Marne river,
Tunic THE MONS MYTH with German armies
Mons was soon being compared advancing behind them.
to historic examples of British Joffre struggled to
forces defying much larger reorganize French
enemy armies, such as the forces. With some difculty,
Cartridge
pouch Battle of Agincourt. he revived cooperation with
A popular myth developed in the British, convincing their
1915 that angels had commander to resume
intervened to protect British the fight.
soldiers. The angel of Mons
became a standard theme
MUSIC SCORE COMMEMORATING
of British propaganda. BRITISH SUCCESS AT MONS

To the right of the British position, from French to continue the


however, Lanrezacs army was in withdrawal, which he considered
serious trouble. The French faced a impossible, Smith-Dorrien turned to
large-scale attack by General Karl von ght. On the morning of August 26,
Blows German Second Army, which the British delivered a sufcient check
had established bridgeheads across the to the Germans to allow an orderly
Sambre and Meuse rivers. withdrawal later in the day, but this
was achieved at the cost of some 8,000
Retreat and pursuit men, including a battalion of Gordon
Lanrezac needed to extricate his army Highlanders who, failing to receive the
from potential encirclement and order to retreat, fought on until all
destruction. On the night of August 23, were dead or captured.
he sent Joffre the unwelcome news The war had hardly begun and the
that he was going to withdraw the BEF had already lost about 10 percent
following day. The BEF had no choice of its original strength.
but to follow Lanrezacs example.
Beginning on August 24, there was

38 The number of British field


guns that were lost to the
Germans at the Battle of Le Cateau
during the British retreat.

a series of hard-fought actions as the


British sought to disengage from an
British uniform enemy in close pursuit. Getting the
The British army adopted khaki eld guns away before they were
as its campaign uniform in 1897, seized was often a hazardous
replacing the traditional red coats. operation, as batteries kept ring
This camouflage increased soldiers until the very last moment, covering
chances of survival, but the cloth the infantry as it fell back from the
and leather headgear gave no German advance.
protection against shrapnel. The largest engagement was at
Pattern Le Cateau, northern France, where
1907
bayonet the Germans caught up with the
Scabbard BEFs II Corps, commanded by General
Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien, on the night
of August 25. Disobeying an order

Youd have to load your rie


and re, tip the case out, re, Retreating troops
A British officer with a head wound is helped to walk
re, re, re. in the retreat from Mons. Combat against the odds,
followed by a long retreat, placed immense strain upon
CORPORAL BILL HOLBROOK, ROYAL FUSILIERS, AT THE BATTLE OF MONS British morale and physical endurance.

47
Retreat from Mons
Richard Caton Woodvilles painting Charge of the Ninth Lancers shows
British troops fighting to save a battery of field guns on August 24,
1914, the first day of the retreat from Mons. Captain Francis Grenfell
of the Ninth Lancers won a Victoria Cross for his part in the incident.
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

Artillery
At the start of the war, field artillery was relatively mobile and often loaded
with shrapnel to scythe down advancing infantry. Trench systems demanded
heavier guns that could saturate enemy defenses with shell fire.

1 18-Pounder eld gun (British) The standard British eld number of bullets, shrapnel shells were effective against
gun lacked the power or angle of re to be effective against massed troops in open terrain. 7 Munitions carriage with
trenches. 2 149 mm Obice Krupp M14 Howitzer (Italian) 38 cm shell (German) Some shells were so large that they
This German design was built in Italy under license. had to be transported by carriage. 8 75 mm shells (French)
Howitzers were used to re heavy shells on a high trajectory, Shells for the 75 mm eld gun contained either shrapnel or
enabling them to reach concealed targets. 3 2.75 in high explosives. 9 Schneider mortar (French) Designed to 1 18-POUNDER FIELD GUN
mountain gun (British) This weapon saw service in re at a steep angle, mortars were useful in trench warfare. (BRITISH)
Mesopotamia (Iraq) and on the Macedonian front. 10 Fahrpanzer (German) This gun was mounted on narrow-
4 75 mm eld gun (French) The hydraulic recoil gauge railroad tracks and operated by a two-man crew.
mechanism of this gun enabled accurate and rapid re, 11 149 mm Howitzer M14/16 (Austro-Hungarian) This
without the need to reposition the gun after each shot. howitzer was built by Skoda, the largest industrial enterprise
5 Gas shell (German) The rst use of artillery-red in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 12 21 cm Mrser 16
chemical shells was at Neuve-Chapelle in October 1914. (German) This howitzer, here packed for transportation, was
6 77 mm shrapnel shell (German) Packed with a large used by the German army until 1940.

4 75 MM FIELD GUN (FRENCH)

5 GAS SHELL 6 77 MM SHRAPNEL SHELL 7 MUNITIONS CARRIAGE


(GERMAN) (GERMAN) WITH 38 CM SHELL (GERMAN)

11 149 MM HOWITZER M14/16


(AUSTROHUNGARIAN)

50
ARTILLERY

2 149 MM OBICE KRUPP


M14 HOWITZER (ITALIAN)

3 2.75 IN MOUNTAIN GUN (BRITISH)

9 SCHNEIDER MORTAR (FRENCH)

8 75 MM SHELLS (FRENCH)

10 FAHRPANZER (GERMAN)

12 21 CM MRSER 16 (GERMAN)

51
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

The Great Retreat


In the last days of August 1914, French and British troops were retreating as fast as they could
march, pursued by German armies. The Germans were occupying French territory and threatening
Paris. Faced with this debacle, General Joffre calmly set about organizing a counteroffensive.

O
n August 25, Joffre issued his planned to withdraw his
BE F O R E General Instruction No. 2. This army. The British war
envisioned a withdrawal of the minister, Lord Kitchener,
French and British armies to a made a lightning visit to
In August 1914, the German Schlieffen defensible lineinitially set at the Paris and told him to
Plan, intended to defeat France in six Somme, but later revised to the stay in line.
weeks, appeared to be working. But Marnewhere the German advance
in reality, the German offensive was would be halted. A new French Sixth The line holds
going awry. Army would be created and moved by By early September,
rail north of Paris to help repel the Joffres plans were taking
FATALLY WEAKENED German armies ooding into France shape. The French
The basis of the Schlieffen Plan 2223 from Belgium. This strategic vision continued to hold against
was the concentration of German forces on German attacks in front
their right wing to sweep through Belgium and
northern France. These forces became fatally
weakened. Troops had to be detached to
137 The number of miles
(220 km) marched by the
British Expeditionary Force from
of Nancy and Verdun.
The French Third and
Fourth Armies lost
besiege the Belgians at Antwerp and the Mons during the Great Retreat. more ground, including
French fortress at Maubeuge. The German the city of Reims on
offensive from Lorraine 4445 was seemed mere fantasy when set against September 5, but a
reinforced at the expense of the armies on the the reality faced by French and British General Gallieni defensive line was emerging, with a
right. On August 26, two German corps were troops on the ground. French General Joseph Gallieni was recalled from new Ninth Army under the command
sent to the Eastern Front to face the Russian The battered British Expeditionary retirement to take command of the defense of Paris in of General Ferdinand Foch inserted
threat to East Prussia 6465 . Force (BEF) and French Fifth Army August 1914. In September, he turned the capital into between the Fourth and Fifth armies.
were marching up to 12 miles (20 km) the base for a counterattack against the German flank. Meanwhile, the strains imposed on
ALLIED RESPONSE a day in burning summer heat with Allied troops by the Great Retreat
In spite of their massive losses, the the German First and Second Armies In Paris, there was panic as the were mirrored on the German side.
French maintained their coherence and at their heels. Occasionally, British Germans approached. The French Soldiers on the German right wing had
ghting spirit. The British confirmed and French troops fought rearguard government ed to Bordeaux while been marching for a month since
their commitment to the war by actions, including a successful French General Gallieni defended the capital. crossing the Belgian border. Dependent
sending another infantry division to France counterattack at St. Quentin. Mostly Meanwhile, the BEF commander, Field on horse-drawn transportation, their
on August 19. they marched, often short of food Marshal Sir John French, had lost all supplies failed to keep up, leaving
and drink, their feet blistered, and condence in his allies. Determined to troops hungry and thirsty. The German
snatching sleep by the roadside. save his army from destruction, he First and Second Armies, advancing in
T H E G R E AT R E T R E AT

Invasion of France 1 Aug 20


The course of the German invasion departed from the Belgian Army withdraws BELGIAN
to Antwerp. After heavy ARMY NETHERLANDS
Schlieffen Plan, turning east of Paris instead of west. bombardment, city nally King Albert
Ramsgate Antwerp (117,000)
Joffre refused to allow his armies to be enveloped and surrenders on Oct 10.
prepared a counteroffensive for September 5. Dover el
Bruges Ghent

n
Dunkerque

an
Folkestone

Ch
Calais BEL G IU M Louvain Maastricht Aachen 1ST ARMY
Yse
r Brussels GERMAN GHQ

h
Kluck
KEY Ypres t

is

er
Saint-Omer ld (320,000) Moltke

nd
he

gl
German advance (Aug 2 Sept 5) Sc moved to

De
AUG 2125

En
Boulogne-sur-Mer AUG 2223 2ND ARMY Luxembourg,
German army Lille Namur Blow
Lys Charleroi AUG 416 Aug 30
AUG 23 (260,000) hi

R
use ne
Belgian army 2 Aug 24 Mons Me Lige Koblenz
b re 3RD ARMY
Maubeuge, besieged by Arras Sam
British army Hausen

e
Germans, holds out until Sept 8. e
Maubeuge Dinant r ch

e ll
Ou Wa (180,000) os
French army Cambrai rth M
e
Abbeville Landrecies Givet
German position, Sept 5 So
m
me
AUG 26 AUG 23 GE R M ANY
Belgian position, Sept 5 Le Cateau
Hirson
Ardennes LUXEMBOURG
Amiens
Pronne St. Quentin Neufchteau 4TH ARMY
AUG 29
British position, Sept 5 TERRITORIAL Trier Albrecht
& RESERVE Guise

e
Chaulnes So m m se Mzires (180,000)
French position, Sept 5 DIVISIONS Oi Luxembourg
La Fre
German GHQ
DAmade Sedan 5TH ARMY
Aisne Longwy Crown Prince
French GHQ Rouen Montmdy Diedenhofen (200,000)
Compigne
Sein
Oi s e
6TH ARMY (Thionville) Saa Saarbrcken
e

German fortified towns Maunoury O u r cq


r
Reims
Belgian fortified towns Chteau Metz Morhange
Chantilly Epernay Verdun

Mos
PARIS rne 6TH ARMY
French fortified towns DEFENCE Thierry Ma lle

e
FORCES 3RD ARMY Rupprecht
Montmirail

ne
Major battle or siege Gallieni Paris Meaux Chlons Sarrail (220,000)

i
Rh
Grand M Nancy Sarrebourg
ori (168,000)
n
4TH ARMY Toul Strassburg
9TH ARMY Vitry-le- 2ND ARMY
Langle 7TH ARMY
parallel, had difculty keeping in touch FRAN CE Melun Provins Foch Franois de Cary
Castelnau
(200,000) Heeringen

M e elle
Seine (formed
with each other and with Moltkes

u se
(193,000)

M
BEF 5TH ARMY Aug 29) (125,000)

os
ur
Au

th
Me
staff headquarters in Luxembourg. French Franchet e

e
b
Se
(110,000) dEsperey Epinal

in
Although Moltke had planned for the Bar-sur-Aube

e
(254,000) Colmar
1ST ARMY

Ma
FRENCH GHQ
Dubail

rne
Joffre moved Mlhausen
106 The distance in miles
(170 km) between the
German Second Armys front
0

0
100 km

100 miles
from Vitry-
le-Franois,
Sept 2
Langres (256,000)

Thann
(Mulhouse)

Altkirch
Belfort Basel
and its supporting railroads on
September 4too far for the SWITZERLAND
supply system to work properly. decision, for it left the right ank of Joffre was still hesitating over the
Klucks army exposed to potential optimum moment to launch his
First Army to march west of Paris, its attack by both the Paris garrison and counterblow, but Gallieni, with not
commander, General von Kluck, chose Joffres newly formed Sixth Army. only the Paris troops but also the Sixth AFTER
to turn east of the capital, heading for Army under his overall command,
the Marne River. This was a disastrous Time to attack forced Joffres hand. Informed from
In the rst days of September, the Great various sources, including aerial As the Great Retreat came to a halt,
Retreat was still under way. The BEF and reconnaissance, of Klucks exposed Joffre launched the Battle of the
Refugees on the road French Fifth Army withdrew across the ank, on September 4 Gallieni sent out Marne. This counteroffensive was
As the German armies advanced, thousands of Marne River on September 2 with Kluck orders to prepare to attack. Accepting a turning point of the war.
Belgian and French citizens fled their homes. In a day behind them, his rapid advance Gallienis initiative, on the following
northern France, the Germans burned down villages opening up a gap between his army and day Joffre informed his armies, The THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE
and killed civilians as they had in Belgium. General von Blows Second Army. time for retreat has ended. Pressure for a swift counterattack came
from General Gallieni in Paris and General
Louis Franchet dEsprey, the new commander
GERMAN GENERAL (18481916)
of the French Fifth Army. They obtained
HELMUTH VON MOLTKE Joffres agreement for the offensive on the
Marne 5455 to start on September 6.
Helmuth von Moltke was known as the Younger Field Marshal Sir John French agreed to stop
to distinguish him from his uncle, whose victories retreating only after Joffre appealed to the
had created the German Empire. A neurotic honor of England on September 5.
personality, the younger Moltke preferred playing
the cello to riding a horse, but also liked to strike FIGHTING WITHDRAWAL
poses of brutal ruthlessness. Appointed Chief of On the German side, Klucks First Army
the General Staff in 1906, he argued the case for advanced across the Marne on September 5,
preventive war against Russia and France. In the despite orders from Moltke to go on the
crisis of July 1914, he was pessimistic about defensive. Kluck did not pull back until the
Germanys chances but insistent that war must following day. The Germans managed the
be launched. In the early weeks of the war, he transition from headlong attack to a
made poor decisions that undermined the fighting withdrawal skilfully. They
Schlieffen Plan and failed to control his eventually stabilized a defensive position
generals. In poor health, he was relieved at the Aisne River 5859 .
of command on September 14.

53
German offensive
Initially overcoming the French Sixth Army, a German
machine gun detachment advances at full gallop into
the battle zone, September 1914.

The Battle of the Marne


The French and British counteroffensive launched on September 56, 1914, was one of the severe difculties. Despite Gallienis
decisive battles in world history. By forcing the German armies in France onto the defensive, commandeering of Parisian taxis and
buses to rush troops to the frontthe
it ended Germanys hopes of a quick victory and set the course for a drawn-out global conflict. French army had almost no motor
transportationby September 8, Kluck
was threatening Paris.
BEF O RE
T
he Battle of the Marne opened opted to attack, exploiting the Nonetheless, the strategic situation
prematurely. General Joseph Joffre advantage of high ground. Soon, an was shifting in favor of the Allies.
ordered the Allied counteroffensive already familiar spectacle was being While the French Ninth Army under
Up to the rst week in September, to begin on September 6. In preparation, repeated: French troops in their bright Ferdinand Foch fought a desperate
when the Battle of the Marne began, on September 5, the eager General uniforms, poorly supported by artillery, holding action in the Gond marshes,
the war had brought a remarkable Gallieni, commanding in Paris, moved cut down in swathes by superior General Louis Franchet dEsprey led
series of German victories on both the General Michel-Joseph Maunourys German repower. The German First his Fifth Army forward against General
Eastern and Western fronts. Sixth Army forward toward the exposed Army commander, General Alexander Karl von Blows German Second
ank of the German First Army. von Kluck, responded to the outbreak Army. The Allies were short of supplies
RAPID GERMAN ADVANCE of ghting by skilfully shifting troops and exhausted by weeks of marching,
French offensives were thrown back in Strengths and weaknesses back to confront the threat. but after tough ghting it was the
Lorraine and the Ardennes 4445. The Germans main strength had The French Sixth Army was a Germans who fell back.
Driven out of Belgium, the French Fifth Army and advanced to the south, leaving only a hastily assembled formation, chiey
the BEF were pursued by German armies reserve corps under General Hans von consisting of reserves and Moroccan Lost opportunity
Gronau defending the ank. Spotting troops. Facing the increasing weight of Meanwhile, Franchet dEsprey

250 The number of miles


(400 km) Germans
First Army had advanced
the French advance, Gronau boldly Klucks forces, it was soon experiencing fumed at the tardiness of the British
on his left. Field Marshal Sir John
French, who had been persuaded
before the order was given with some difculty to promise Joffre
to retreat. his cooperation, was asked to advance
into a gap that had opened between
and forced to retreat beyond the Marne the German First and Second
River 5253. This rapid German Armies. He did so, but with excessive
advance, however, left the flank of the German caution and a distinct lack of urgency.
First Army exposed to a counterattack by To the French commanders, it
General Joseph Gallienis forces around Paris. seemed that a chance to impose a
decisive defeat on the Germans
was being lost.
The German Chief of the General
Staff Helmuth von Moltke, at his
Transportation to the front headquarters in Luxembourg, was
Parisian buses and taxis were requisitioned by the a worried man. Unclear about the
French army to rush reinforcements to the front on state of the ghting, he sent a staff
September 7. The taxis of the Marne became a intelligence ofcer, Lieutenant Colonel
French national legend, although their contribution Richard Hentsch, to visit each of the
to victory was limited. army headquarters in turn.

54
T H E B AT T L E O F T H E M A R N E

AFTER
The counteroffensive, 1 Sept 5 3 Sept 6
September 56 French 6th Army encounters General von German 2nd and 3rd Armies
Gronaus Reserve Corps on the ank of German force Fochs French 9th back
Rapid advance of German 1st Army. Gronau attacks successfully. across the St. Gond Marshes.
The retreating Germans dug into a
1st and 2nd Armies had left strong defensive position on the
them exposed to counterattack. Aisne, where they halted the Allied
Juvigny Craonne
The French 6th Army struck Compigne Aisn e counteroffensive on September 12.
Oi
se Soissons
from the flank while the BEF
V e s le
and other French armies Reims
Fre-en-Tardenois
6TH ARMY Ourcq Forest
attacked from the south. Maunoury
of Reim
s
Marne
GERMAN MG08
1ST ARMY Chteau Thierry MACHINE GUN
Epernay
Kluck 3RD ARMY
2ND ARMY Hausen
Blow
Meaux Pet Chlons
it M Montmirail
Paris orin
Garrison
Grand
Gallieni Mo
ri
TRENCH WARFARE BEGINS
n
9TH ARMY
St. Gond
The successful German defense on the Aisne
Foch
BEF Marshes initiated static trench warfare the
French 5TH ARMY rival armies were still ghting over the same
0 30 km
Franchet
dEsprey N ground in spring 1918. Elsewhere on the
0 20 miles
Western Front, mobile warfare continued until
November 1914, with the outanking
5 Sept 6 2 Sept 6 4 Sept 6
movements of the Race to the Sea
The BEF halts its Kluck sends troops back across the Marne French 5th Army launches a
retreat and advances to support Gronau, who has withdrawn to vigorous offensive across 5859 culminating in the First Battle
hesitantly northward. a position in front of the Ourcq River. the Grand Morin. of Ypres 6061 .

The turning point, 1 Sept 7 2 Sept 7 3 Sept 8 MARNE REVISITED


September 78 Kluck orders III and IX Corps north of the Gap held by small Surprise attack by French 5th Army Two million men took part in the Battle of the
Marne to participate in counterattack detachments opens between forces Blow to pull back behind
Fighting raged north of Paris, against French 6th Army. German 1st and 2nd Armies. the Petit Morin. Marne. By the end, a quarter of these had
at the Petit Morin and in the been killed, or were wounded or missing.
St. Gond Marshes. Juvigny 4 Sept 8 Many of the battle sites would be fought over
The Germans came out Aisn e Craonne A night attack by again in the Second Battle of the Marne
Compigne
se Soissons German 3rd Army
on top in some of Oi
forces Foch to retreat. 28687 in JulyAugust 1918.
V e sle
these encounters, Fre-en-Tardenois
q
Reims
but a dangerous Ourc
Forest of Reims
gap opened in 1ST ARMY
Kluck Marne
their line. 6TH ARMY Chteau Thierry
Maunoury Epernay KEY
2ND ARMY German army British advance
Meaux Marne Blow Chlons
3RD ARMY British army British position
Paris Montmirail Hausen
Garrison M
French army French advance
Petit orin
Gallieni Gra
n d M orin German advance French position
BEF German position Road
St. Gond Marshes
French 5TH ARMY German retreat/
9TH ARMY
Franchet withdrawal
0 30 km dEsprey Foch

0 20 miles
N

After discussing the situation with The German retreat, 1 Sept 9 5 Sept 12 3 Sept 1012 4 Sept 12
BEF advances into gap German 7th Army arrives French 5th Army and the BEF advance German armies reach
Blow, Hensch judged that a German September 912 between German to ll gap between 1st almost unopposed to the Aisne. the Aisne, where they
withdrawal was urgently needed. British and French troops advanced 1st and 2nd Armies. and 2nd Armies. dig into defensive
On September 9, Blow began to into the gap between the positions.
disengage his forces, while Hensch German 1st and 2nd Armies. Compigne Aisne
Juvigny 7TH ARMY Craonne
Heeringen
passed on the news to Kluck. Although With the situation perilous, Soissons 2 Sept 9
se Aisne
Oi Blow orders
the German First Army was winning the Germans mounted a V esle 2nd Army to
its part of the battle, Kluck had no general withdrawal to Fre-en-Tardenois Reims retreat.
Ourcq
choice but to pull back his troops the Aisne River. Forest of Reims
along with Blow. 6TH ARMY Marne
Maunoury 1ST ARMY Chteau Thierry
Epernay
Last act Kluck
2ND ARMY
Belatedly intervening in a situation Meaux Blow
Marne
that had slipped beyond his control, Chlons
Paris BEF Montmirail
Moltke set the Aisne River as the line Garrison French 3RD ARMY
Grand M
Morin Petit orin
to which the armies would withdraw. Gallieni Hausen
It was his last act as Chief of Staff. 5TH ARMY St. Gond Marshes
Having failed to implement the Franchet
dEsprey
Schlieffen Plan, he was dismissed. 9TH ARMY
0 30 km Foch
Joffre, the architect of the miracle
of the Marne, was hailed as the 0 20 miles
N
savior of France.

55
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

FRENCH GENERAL Born 1852 Died 1931

Joseph Joffre
The hour has come to
advance at all costs and
to die where you stand.
JOFFRES INSTRUCTIONS TO HIS COMMANDERS AT THE MARNE, SEPTEMBER 1914

W
hen General Joseph Joffre On the other hand, Joffre had often
was appointed Chief of Staff impressed his superiors by the
of the French army in 1911, thoroughness and tenacity with
the most common reaction among his which he executed the unglamorous
peers was astonishment that such a but difcult tasks entrusted to him.
modest man should have been placed Vitally, he was a man of the people in
in such an elevated position. a largely aristocratic ofcer corps, his
An ofcer in the Engineers, Joffre lowly origins as the son of an artisan
had pursued a solid career building recommending him to the French
railroads and fortications in Frances Republican government.
African and Asian colonies.
As he admitted in his response Attack at all costs
to the offer of the post, he had Sublimely self-condent, Joffre was
no knowledge whatever of never a man to underrate himself, but
general staff work. His only nor did he mistake himself for an
experience of leading men original military thinker. Contrary to
in combat conditions had what might have been expected from
been a march across a builder of fortications, he believed
West Africa to that an offensive strategy was more
Timbuktu in 1893 effective than a defensive one. It was
among hostile a view that was prevalent at the time
nomads. and one shared by his brightest
ofcers. Plan XVII, which laid out a
new French offensive strategy in 1913,
clearly stated: It is the commander-in-
chiefs intention to advance with all
forces united to the attack of the
German armies.
Joffre never wavered in his
commitment to the attack at all costs.
He blamed the disasters of the rst
month of the war not on the
failings of Plan XVII, but on lack
of offensive spirit. His greatest
success, the Battle of the Marne,
was a strategically defensive
victory, but achieved by a
general offensive of the French
and British armies. In the trench
warfare that prevailed from
December 1914, Joffre continued
to launch massively costly offensive
operations, as much with the aim of

Commanding presence
This portrait of Joffre by Henry Jacquet was painted at
the height of his renown as commander-in-chief of the
French armies in 1915. His bulky physical presence and
placid, unflappable manner were reassuring amid the
crises and horrors of the war.
JOSEPH JOFFRE

Meeting of Allies
TIMELINE
Joffre meets, from left to right, President Poincar,
King George V, General Foch, and General Haig in January 1852 Joseph Jacques Csaire Joffre
August 1916, during the Battle of the Somme. He is born at Rivesaltes in Rousillon, southern
cultivated a good relationship with his British allies. France, one of 11 children of a barrel-maker.
1870 Enters the cole Polytechnique, Frances
maintaining the aggression and spirit elite school of military engineering, afterward
of his troops as with any real hope of becoming an officer in the Corps of Engineers,
achieving a breakthrough. serving mostly in Frances colonies.
If his commitment to attack showed 1893 Promoted to lieutenant-colonel after
Joffre as stubborn and unimaginative, leading a column of troops to Timbuktu, Mali,
his strengths as a commander grew through territory dominated by Tuaregs.
out of the same powerful, unshakable 1899 Serves under General Joseph Gallieni
root of his character. in Madagascar, impressing Gallieni with his
diligent work on fortifications.
Papa Joffre 1908 Promoted to general and given
While his opponent at the start of the command of the French Second Army Corps.
war, German Chief of the General Staff
July 1911 Appointed French Chief of Staff
Helmuth von Moltke, came close to a
on the recommendation of Gallieni.
nervous breakdown through the
strains of an apparently victorious 1913 As Chief of Staff, endorses a new war
campaign, Joffre remained calm and strategy, Plan XVII, which envisages a
resolute in the face of the failure of his whom Joffre wrongly blamed for achieving this goal were exible. He general offensive by French armies on the
outbreak of war.
offensives and the invasion of France. ordering the necessary retreat from repositioned armies and created new
He lost neither appetite nor sleep. Belgium. The choice of Foch to lead the ones, keeping a tight hold on his August 8, 1914 Issues General Instruction
Visitors to his headquarters in the early Ninth Army at the Marne and of Ptain commanders through clear and concise No. 1, which orders French armies to take the
weeks of the war, rst at Vitry-le- to oversee the defense of Verdun orders. Nothing went according to a offensive; these offensives are repulsed with
Franois and then at Bas-sur-Aube, in February 1916 were other plan, yet Joffre controlled the exceptionally heavy losses.
marveled at the long, copious lunches, inspired appointments. battle, taking decisions in his September 56, 1914 Launches a
always followed by an hours siesta, measured manner. counteroffensive at the Battle of the Marne,
which no one would dare interrupt. Winning over the British Victory at the Marne forcing the German armies in France to retreat.
His absolute self-condence In dealing with Frances allies, made Joffre a French 1915 Launches the Champagne and Artois
communicated itself to his staff and whom he could neither order hero. For a while, offensives, in which French troops suffer heavy
to his subordinate commanders. Even nor re, Joffre proved effective his prestige saved casualties for little or no gain.
while they were being killed by the at eliciting cooperation. Like him from criticism, February 1916 Widely blamed for the poor
tens of thousands in the offensives everyone else, he found the rst but the stalemate state of Verduns defenses when the Germans
ordered by their commander-in-chief, BEF commander, Sir John of trench war launch an offensive at Verdun.
French soldiers responded to his rm French, intractable, but in a eroded his December 13, 1916 Replaced as commander-
but benevolent paternal appearance dramatic visit to Frenchs reputation. By in-chief by Robert Nivelle, but accorded the
by dubbing him Papa Joffre. headquarters on the eve of the late 1915, after a title of Marshal of France.
Joffre was implacably authoritarian. Marne counteroffensive, he series of failed
1917 Heads French military missions to
He ruled the battle zones in eastern won British cooperation offensives in Artois
Romania and the United States.
France like a military dictator. through an and Champagne,
January 3, 1931 Dies in Paris and is buried
Despising politicians, he rejected all emotional Joffres magic began to
at his estate in Louveciennes.
political interference in military appeal that fail. In February 1916, he
decisions and barely kept his came across was blamed for the poor state
government informed of his intentions. despite the lack of a of the defenses at Verdun.
common language. With
Sound judgment Frenchs successor, Douglas Sidelined
Joffre was famous for ring generals Haig, Joffre built a relationship Politicians who were offended
whom he believed to be incompetent of trust and mutual aid, helped by Joffres arrogance plotted his
or lacking in offensive spiritmore by Haigs own wholehearted downfall. With losses unbearable,
than 70 corps or divisional commanders commitment to the alliance. and Joffre unable to propose a
were dismissed in the rst two The Battle of the Marne was quick route to winning the war,
months of the war. His judgment was the high point of Joffres career. in December 1916 he was
usually shrewd, if not always fair. The In a rapidly changing situation, replaced by Robert Nivelle,
replacement of Lanrezac by the with armies in retreat, he whom Joffre had promoted. Still
energetic Franchet dEsprey as pursued the goal of establishing popular, Joffre was made a
commander of the Fifth Army before a line facing the invader from Marshal of Francethe rst to be
the Battle of the Marne was essential to which a counteroffensive could accorded the title since 1870
victory, although unjust to Lanrezac be launched. His means of but was sidelined from then on.
After the war, Joffre retired from

My faith in the soldiers of


military and public life. He died
in Paris in 1931.

France had been justied Sword of honor


Joffre won adulation both in France and
abroad, and was presented with numerous
How gloriously they fought! swords of honor and other symbolic gifts.
Although known for his modest demeanour,
WORLD WAR I POSTCARD

JOSEPH JOFFRE DESCRIBING THE BATTLE OF THE MARNE he was not averse to a little hero worship.

57
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

The Race to the Sea


The Allied advance from the Marne was brought to an abrupt halt in front of the
German trenches on the Aisne in mid-September 1914, but a war of movement
continued farther north in the Race to the Sea.

P
ursuing a supposedly defeated their advance, the British and French trench system that would eventually
enemy northward in the second attacked immediately. Under heavy extend from Switzerland to the coast.
week in September, French and shelling from the German guns, they At Reims, the armies were equally
Destroying a bridge over the Aisne British commanders were in an found a precarious way across bridges stuck, with the French holding the city
As the Germans withdrew across the Aisne River, they optimistic mood. They estimated that it partially destroyed by German but suffering under a heavy German
blew up bridges to stop the French and British from would take their advancing forces from engineers or built their own pontoon bombardment, which devastated the
pursuing them. Allied troops had great difficulty three weeks to a month to reach bridges over the citys cathedral.
crossing the river under enemy fire. Belgiums border with Germany. But
they did not know that the outgoing
broad river, which
was swollen by 48 The number of fortresses
surrounding Antwerp to
Neither French
commander-in-chief
German Chief of General Staff, General heavy rain. Once defend it from attack. Joffre, nor Moltkes
BE F O RE Moltke, had ordered his withdrawing they were on the replacement as
armies to fortify and defend a line other side, Allied infantry mounted German Chief of the General Staff,
along the Aisne River. uphill assaults against the German lines Erich von Falkenhayn, was interested
On the Western Front, the rst six and were repeatedly driven back by in accepting a stalemate. The country
weeks of the war had been dramatic Battle of the Aisne German repower. was almost empty of troops north
but indecisive, leaving both sides When Allied troops reached the Aisne The Germans followed up with their from the Aisne to the coast, and both
options for offensive operations. on September 12, they found the own counterattacks, but these proved commanders hastened to assemble
Germans entrenched on the Chemin equally unsuccessful as Allied troops forces for an outanking move into this
STRATEGIC DECISIONS des Dames ridge, easily defensible dug in. Soon, two lines of trenches inviting space. They transferred troops
Despite the Allied victory at the Marne heights on the far side of the river. faced one another immovably from other sectorschiey the
5455, German troops controlled a large Determined to maintain the rhythm of the start of the now largely dormant front line
area of northeastern France and Belgium.
The Belgian army had withdrawn
inside a defensive perimeter around
Antwerp. Fighting along Frances eastern
borders subsided, but battle raged at the
city of Reims, retaken by the French after
a brief German occupation on September 12.
The French fortress of Maubeuge fell after
a two-week siege on September 8. German
armies retreating from the Marne had
orders to stand at the Aisne River,
but this left open space to be exploited
between the Aisne and the coast.
THE RACE TO THE SEA

5 Oct 2129 Troop movements


Belgians open sluices along Yser Canal to let A series of attempted outflanking moves by armies
in seawater at high tides. The resulting oods N ETH ERLA N D S
N thwart the German attempt to cross the Yser. on both sides carried the fighting from the Aisne north
3 Oct 613

M A N Y
I Belgian Army retreats to the coast, where Belgian troops retreating from
Antwerp
A

from Antwerp via Ghent Ostend Antwerp held the line at the Yser.
Nieuport
I T

to a line along the Yser. Oct 1930


Ghent
OCT 1630
R

Yser Yser Dixmude


B

KEY
Oct 19N

E R
OCT 19NOV 22 ov 1 Major French attack (with date)
1 Brussels
St Omer First Ypres Major German attack (with date)
4 Oct 19 Nov 11

G
Lys Armentires
Hardest ghting of the Race B E L G I U M Major battle (with date)
to the Sea. British and French Hazebrouck Lille O
OCT 10NOV 2
ct 48 Allied front line, November
hold on to salient around Ypres,
which remains in Allied hands La Basse Belgian sector
throughout the war. Lens SEPT 27OCT 12
t 30 mb
re British sector
2 Sept 27 Oct 12 Sep First Artois Sa Charleroi
Oct French sector
French 10th Army holds off Arras 1
attempted German breakthrough. Maubeuge German front line, November 1914
Cambrai
t5
Sept 2728 Belgian fortified town/city
Oc

Abbeville
So
m
m French fortified town/city
Albert Pronne Sept 24
e

Oise LUXEMBOURG AFTER


1 Sept 2226
SEPT 2226
French 2nd Army attempts to
Sept 1 First Picardy
t 22

outank German right wing. Roye 8


Sep

SEPT 1228 The Race to the Sea culminated in the


Noyon Aisne e
18

sn First Battle of Ypres, fought from


Ai
Sept 17

mid-October to late November.


Compigne
Soissons
se

Oi O u rcq Reims APPROACHING STALEMATE


Chantilly Beginning while ghting raged to the north
Verdun
at the Battle of the Yser and to the south at
M
Sein
e Chteau Thierry La Bass, intensive combat at Ypres
ar

6061 continued until the third week in


ne

PARIS
F R A N C E November. With neither side able to make a
0 80 km Nancy breakthrough, this ended the first
0 80 miles mobile phase of the war on the Western

We established a rough ring


Front. Joffre launched another offensive in
along Frances eastern borderand Champagne in December, but no further
ung them forward in a series of substantial movement could be achieved
offensives, each of which met the
enemy head on. line and there we stayed by either side. The trenches that were dug by
troops at various points in these battles were
gradually joined together to create a
Clashes in northern France
Once troops entrenched, no progress
We bogged down. continuous trench line.

could be made and a new anking DRUMMER E.L. SLAYTOR, COLDSTREAM GUARDS, AT THE AISNE, SEPTEMBER 16, 1914
maneuver had to be attempted farther
north. The French came close to a While infantry and cavalry clashed in
KEY MOMENT
major defeat at Arras, but held rm northern France, the Belgians, led in
after General Foch, put in overall person by King Albert I, were engaged THE BATTLE OF THE YSER
command in the northern sector, in a desperate defense of Antwerp.
issued the order No retirement; From September 28, the Germans
every man to the battle. mounted a major attack on the fortied
Making aggressive use of city. Their array of heavy siege guns
massed cavalry divisions, the had the same effect as at Lige, Namur,
Germans captured Lille in early and Maubeuge, and battered Antwerps
October. Meanwhile, the fortresses to destruction.
British Expeditionary Force As the defense wavered, Britain sent
(BEF) was moved by train the Naval Division to Antwerp to
to the far left of the Allied bolster Belgian morale, and a British
line. Advancing toward infantry division landed at the Belgian
Lille, it ran into German port of Zeebrugge. The First Lord of the
cavalry at La Basse. Admiralty, Winston Churchill, traveled
to Antwerp to persuade the Belgians to Abandoning the defense of Antwerp on Boulogne and Calais. With battle raging,
Driving to battle continue resistance. It was in vain. October 9, Belgian troops withdrew along on October 25 King Albert ordered
In 1914, the Belgian army The citys defenses were penetrated and the coast to the Yser Canal between engineers to open the locks. As water
equipped a number of Minerva on October 9 the king and his Nieuport and Dixmude, where they took ooded a wide area, German troops were
automobiles with steel plating government left for the coastal town of up position on high embankments forced to retreat or drown. The Belgians
and mounted guns on top, Ostende. Antwerp surrendered to the dominating low-lying land. The German were left in possession of a coastal strip of
creating the first armored cars. Germans the following day. Most of the Fourth Army attacked, hoping to break their national territory that they held
They were used as rescue Belgian army escaped to continue the through to the vital Channel ports of throughout the war.
vehicles and for reconnaissance. ght at the Yser River.

59
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

Fighting to a Standstill
The collision of Allied and German forces in Flanders at the First Battle of Ypres
was a bloody climax to the opening mobile phase of the war on the Western
Front. After the battle proved indecisive, the armies settled into trench warfare.

F
rench commander-in-chief Falkenhayn succeeded in assembling Falkenhayn then
General Joffre regarded the area superior forces to the Allies, partly launched a fresh
around the Belgian city of Ypres through calling on corps of enthusiastic attack toward Ypres
as the gateway through which Allied young volunteers, many of them still along the Menin Road.
forces would advance to liberate students, who had joined up in the His expectations of success
northern France and Belgium from early days of the war. These reservists were high, for the British
German occupation. To German Chief whose numbers included the young forces had been severely
of the General Staff Erich von Adolf Hitler, an Austrian enrolled in the depleted. When Kaiser Wilhelm
Falkenhayn, it was the route by which Bavarian forceshad received only two came to forward headquarters on
his forces could seize the Channel ports months of military training. October 31, it was in the hope of
of Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne By this stage in celebrating a major
Britains links to the battleelds. the war, the British
were able to eld 360,000 The number of
French, British,
and Belgian troops killed in action
victory. In fact, the
Germans did
seven infantry achieve a
BEF O RE divisions plus three by the end of 1914. The majority potentially
cavalry divisions, (300,000) were French. important

Between August and September 1914,


it became clear that plans drawn up
which fought
dismounted,
alongside the foot
240,000 The number of breakthrough
German troops at the village of
who were killed during this period. Gheluvelt on the
before the war had failed to work. soldiers. After some outskirts of Ypres.
Fresh offensives were improvised by initial ghting, the rst major German Their heavy guns hit a British
generals still seeking a quick victory. offensive was launched on October 20. divisional headquarters at Hooge
Because of Allied inferiority, the battle Chteau, just east of the village,
turned into a desperate Anglo-French unusually adding staff ofcers to the
defense of a salient around Ypres, with lengthening list of casualties.
British troops holding positions in The Allies lost the vital high ground
front of the town and the French dominating Ypres, but remnants
defending the anks. of half-broken
British battalions
Heavy losses on both sides were assembled
The British and French improvised to mount a
defensive positions, digging counterattack
shallow trenches and exploiting and, with
the protection of stone walls, the help of
ditches, and village houses. The just a handful
British were chronically short of of French
heavy artillery and machine guns, reinforcements,
but their rapid rie re, which the a line was held.
Germans persistently mistook for The British were
INSPECTION OF INDIAN TROOPS, 1914 the re of machine guns, imposed desperately short
heavy losses on the massed of soldiers and
BATTLE MOVES NORTH German infantry. ammunition. The
TECHNOLOGY
A series of attempted outanking movements The slaughter of German troops arrival of forces
known as the Race to the Sea 5859 marching into gunre while from India helped BARBED WIRE
carried the ghting northward from the Aisne singing patriotic songs at alleviate the problem,
to Flanders. The BEF was moved by train to Langemarck, near Ypres, on and a number of Territorial Invented in the United States in the
Flanders, where it fought the Germans at October 22 became one the battalions were sent across the 1860s, barbed wire was originally
La Basse from October 10. The Belgian best-known German stories of Channel for the rst time. designed to control cattle. It had seen
army, retreating from Antwerp, defended the war. In fact, this was a Nonetheless, the German extensive military use in the Russo-
a coastal strip at the Yser. The British rushed half-truth, since the troops renewal of the offensive in the Japanese War of 190405. By the end
troops to Flanders, including elements of the were singing only to identify second week of November came of 1914, barbed wire attached to
Indian army. themselves in the morning mist. perilously close to overwhelming wooden or metal stakes was being
By late October, the Allies had the British line. planted in front of trenches to block
The Indian troops who took ceded ground, but the initial infantry assaults or raiding parties. When
part in the Race to the Sea German offensive had stalled. British counterattack attacking infantry found their path barred
had only been in Europe for six At the climax of the battle, on by uncut wire, they were stranded under
weeks. Their first engagement German commemorative bayonet November 11, elite Prussian Foot the re of enemy guns and massacred.
was at the Battle of La Basse The Iron Cross on this bayonet is a reference to Guards were at one point resisted Soldiers devoted perilous night hours to
in October 1914. Germanys most common military decoration. only by hastily armed British repairing their own wire and sabotaging
Four million Iron Crosses were awarded in the cooks and ofcers servants. By the enemys with wire-cutters.
war, including one to Adolf Hitler at First Ypres. the end of that day, however, a

60
F I G H T I N G T O A S TA N D S T I L L

Simple but effective


Barbed wire increased the dominance of
defense over offense by entrapping the
attacking troops. Later in the war,
barbed wire entanglements in
front of trenches could be
up to 100 ft (30 m) deep.

Troops dig in
The original trenches on the Western Front were hastily
dug temporary field fortifications. These hard-pressed AFTER
British soldiers would have been grateful even for this
primitive protection against enemy fire.
The First Battle of Ypres resulted
Kaiser that there was no further chance in many casualties. But it was
of achieving an early victory on the inconclusive, and ghting at Ypres
Western Front. The German high continued for the next four years.
command eventually concluded
that it was best to create a REMEMBERING THE DEAD
strong defensive trench Germans remember First Ypres as the

We must strike the system on the Western


Front while taking the
offensive against the
Kindermord (massacre of children),
because of the heavy losses among young
volunteers. One victim was the youngest son
decisive blow against our Russians in the east.
Irrepressible in his
of sculptress Kthe
Kollwitz, who made

most detested enemy. pursuit of the offensive,


General Joffre continued to order his
grieving statues
for the war cemetery
troops to attack in Champagne and at Vladslo, Belgium.
GERMAN ORDER OF THE DAY, YPRES, OCTOBER 30, 1914 Artois in December, but elsewhere on
the Western Front the ghting HARD TO DEFEND
counterattack by British light infantry named because of an alleged derisive subsided. Soldiers had dug themselves The battle left the
at Nonnebosschen succeeded in driving reference by the Kaiser to their puny into trenches as best they could Allies occupying an
the Guards back, and Falkenhayn ghting strength. The original BEF wherever the ghting had come to a exposed salient.
knew the Ypres offensive had ended in troops that landed in France in August halt. As time passed, these trench lines Over the next four
failure. Although some ghting 1914 had suffered around 90 percent were gradually reinforced, joined years, the ghting
continued around Ypres until casualties, with a large proportion of together, and extended. Troops on continued, including
November 22, the ofcial date of the the losses at Ypres. both sides settled in. Second Ypres
end of the battle, the German armies As the nal weeks of 1914 102103 in 1915
no longer threatened a breakthrough. German setback approached, it was apparent that there and Third Ypres
For the British, First Ypres was the Strategically, the failed offensive would not be a swift victory for the 240241 in 1917. KOLLWITZ SCULPTURE
graveyard of the prewar regular at Ypres was a serious setback for Allies or the Germans. War would
armythe Old Contemptibles, so Germany. Falkenhayn informed the certainly not be over by Christmas.

61
EYEWITNESS Christmas 1914

The Christmas Truce


The Christmas Truce was actually a series of ceasefires that
took place along the Western Front in 1914. Although it was
not an official truce, and in some areas the fighting continued,
it is thought that up to 100,000 British and German troops
took part. Troops sang carols across the trenches and met
in no mans land to exchange gifts and souvenirs.

calling
On Christmas Eve the Germans entrenched opposite us began
out to us Pudding, A Happy Christmas and English-
means good so two of our fellows climbed over the parapet
and went towards the German trenches. Halfway they were met
by four Germans, who said they would not shoot on Christmas
Day if we did not. They gave our fellows cigars and a bottle of
wine and were given cake and cigarettes.
When they came back I went out with some more of our fellows
and we were met by about 30 Germans, who seemed to be very
nice fellows. I got one of them to write his name and address on
a postcard as a souvenir. All through the night we sang carols to
them and they sang to us and one played God Save the King on
a mouth organ.
On Christmas Day we all got out of the trenches and walked
about with the Germans, who, when asked if they were fed up with
the war, said Yes, rather Between the trenches there were a lot
of dead Germans whom we helped to bury. In one place where the
trenches are only 25 yards apart we could see dead Germans half
buried. Their legs and gloved hands sticking out of the ground. The
trenches in this position are called The Death Trap as hundreds
have been killed there.
A hundred yards or so in the rear there were old houses
that had been shelled. These were explored and we found old
bicycles, top hats, straw hats, umbrellas, etc. We dressed ourselves
up in these and went over to the Germans. It seemed so comical to
see our fellows walking about in top hats and with umbrellas up
We made the Germans laugh.
No firing took place on Christmas night and at four the next
morning we were relieved by regulars.

RIFLEMAN C.H. BRAZIER, QUEENS WESTMINSTERS, EXCERPT FROM A LETTER WRITTEN
HOME, PUBLISHED IN THE HERTFORDSHIRE MERCURY ON JANUARY 9, 1915

A temporary peace
Among the many soldiers who participated in the truce
were these British soldiers from the 11th Brigade, Fourth
Division, and their German counterparts, gathered at
Ploegsteert, Belgium, on Christmas Day 1914.

62
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

The Battle of Tannenberg


The war on Germanys Eastern Front opened in August 1914 with a Russian invasion of East
Prussia. The defeat of a Russian army at Tannenberg was greeted by the German people as
a miracle of deliverance, making national heroes of generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff.

F
ollowing the dictates of the defensive positions, the German Eighth
BE F O RE Schlieffen Plan, the Germans Army advanced toward the Russian
had sent seven of their eight First Army. Commanded by General
armies to Belgium and France. The Paul von Rennenkampf, the Russians
At the start of the war, Germany Eighth Army, commanded by General repelled German attacks at Gumbinnen.
intended to stand on the defensive Maximilian Prittwitz, was to act as
against Russia until France had been a holding force until troops could Role of intelligence
defeated in the west. be transferred from the west. The When reconnaissance aircraft reported
Russians, their forces divided between the advance of the Russian Second
PLANS FOR THE EAST the German and Austro-Hungarian Army to the south of the Masurian
Germany assumed Russian mobilization fronts, had two armies available for Lakes, Prittwitz panicked and ordered a
would take at least 40 days to complete. an invasion of East general withdrawal Eye in the sky
The Russians, however, had promised the Prussia, giving EAST PRUSSIA The easternmost area to the Vistula, This German pilots badge shows a Taube monoplane,
French that Russian forces would launch an them considerable of Germany, on the Baltic coast, angering the the main aircraft used by Germany for reconnaissance
attack against Germany within 15 local superiority which is now divided between German high in August 1914. These frail machines had a decisive
days of the outbreak of war. Russia planned in manpower. Poland, Russia, and Lithuania. command. effect at the Battle of Tannenberg.
to begin its role in the war by taking the Honoring their Prittwitz was red
offensive against Austria-Hungary. agreement with France, the Russians and replaced by veteran General Paul halted Rennenkampf, the Germans
attacked on day 15 of the war, even von Hindenburg, with General decided to concentrate their forces
though their mobilization was far Ludendorffthe hero of the recent against the Russian Second Army,
from complete. siege of Ligeas his Chief of Staff. commanded by General Alexander
The advance of Russian troops onto Hindenburg and Ludendorff arrived Samsonov, which was blithely pushing
Russian prisoners German soil, preceded by marauding in East Prussia to nd a perfectly viable forward almost unopposed through the
The Germans took over 90,000 Russian soldiers Cossack cavalry, sent a wave of panic plan for a counteroffensive already forests to the south.
prisoner at Tannenberg. Remaining captives until 1918, through Germany. Roads were clogged in place, devised by Prittwitzs staff. The German plan took advantage
they provided valuable labor for Germanys war effort, with East Prussian refugees eeing Gambling that the ghting at of aerial reconnaissance, by both
including building trench systems on the Western Front. westward. Abandoning prepared Gumbinnen would have temporarily primitive Taube airplanes and
T H E B AT T L E O F TA N N E N B E R G

airships. An intercepted Russian The Russian advance, August 1723 4 Aug 2023 2 Aug 20 1 Aug 1520
radio message, transmitted uncoded, The Russian 1st and 2nd Armies advanced Two German corps move by German forces attack at Gumbinnen. Russian 1st Army crosses the East
train to reinforce the line in Despite some success, they are forced to Prussian border. Part of German
conrmed that Rennenkampf was not with a wide gap between them. When the front of Russian 2nd Army. withdraw westward. 8th Army moves to block them.
intending to resume his advance. Germans moved against the Russian 1st Army,
they were defeated at Gumbinnen. The
Setting the trap Russian 2nd Army threatened to advance AUG 20
Leaving a thin screen of cavalry and behind the German forces from south of Gulf of Knigsberg Pregel Insterberg Gumbinnen
reserves in front of the Russian First the Masurian Lakes. Danzig
Army, an entire German corps under

p
ap
Danzig er
General Hermann von Franois was 8TH ARMY ng

A
1ST ARMY
moved by train to the south of the G E R M A N Y Hindenburg Angerburg Rennenkampf
Russian Second Army. Other German Marienburg
Bischofsburg Masurian
troops marched from Gumbinnen Lakes
Allenstein Sensburg
toward Samsonovs northern ank.
Deutsch Eylau Hohenstein Ortelsburg
Samsonov was ignorant of the
position of German forces and had no Graudenz Tannenberg
Frankenau Jedwabno R U S S I A N
contact with the Russian First Army. 3 Aug 20 ula Neidenburg Willenberg E M P I R E
Russian 2nd Army
ist Seeben Usdau
Strasbourg

V
Nonetheless, a spirit of optimism
crosses the East Lautenberg Narev N
reigned. When German ank attacks Prussian border. Soldau 2ND ARMY 0 80 km
Samsonov
began on August 2627, Samsonov Thorn
0 50 miles
pressed forward. By August 29, the
German pincers had closed behind him
and most of the Second Army was
trapped. Having lost control of his 1 Aug 24 2 Aug 24 3 Aug 25 KEY
Samsonov orders Russian 2nd Hindenburg and Ludendorff Rennenkampf pushes slowly
forces, Samsonov walked into the Army forward, driving back a start to send the bulk of westward, planning a siege Russian army
forest and shot himself. Claiming a German corps in his path. their forces south. of Knigsberg.
German army
great victory, the Germans named it
Tannenberg after a 15th-century battle Russian advance
Knigsberg Insterberg
famed in Prussian history. Gulf of P regel Gumbinnen Russian retreat
Danzig
1ST ARMY German advance

p
ap
Danzig er
ng Rennenkampf
German retreat

A
Fighting switches to the south, August 2426 8TH ARMY
Hindenburg and Ludendorff took command and ordered the Hindenburg Angerburg Russian position
Marienburg
German 8th Army south to attack the Russian 2nd Army. Bischofsburg Masurian
German position
Lakes
While Rennenkampfs 1st Army dithered and Samsonovs G E R M A N Y Allenstein Sensburg German fort/fortified town
2nd Army advanced, by August 26 the Germans were Hohenstein
Deutsch Eylau Ortelsburg Major battle
ready to spring the trap and destroy Samsonovs army. Tannenberg Frankenau
Graudenz Jedwabno
Usdau Major railroads
ist
ula Strasbourg Seeben Neidenburg
Willenberg R U S S I A N
V

Soldau
Lautenberg 2ND ARMY v E M P I R E
re
a 5 Aug
4 Night of Aug 25 Samsonov 0 80 km
N

Thorn German forces under


German I Corps under Franois reaches N
0 50 miles Mackensen march south from
Seeben by train and prepares to attack
Gumbinnen and drive back
Samsonovs southern ank.
Russian VI Corps.

A German victory, August 2731 4 Aug 29 5 Aug 3031 AFTER


The Russian forces were defeated Mackensens XVII Corps Russian attempts to break through
completes the encirclement Francoiss line are turned back.
in every major engagement. of Russian 2nd Army. 92,000 Russians are captured.
Outgunned and outmaneuvered, Germany was to nd no easy victory
they tried to retreat, but on the Eastern Front to compensate
Bischofsburg Sensburg
their route was barred by the for its failure to win in the west.
German I Corps. 8TH ARMY Allenstein 2 Aug 2728
Y

Hindenburg Remnants of RUSSIA RALLIES


Russian VI Corps
N

The Russians recovered from Tannenberg.


withdraw across
When the Germans turned their forces
A

the border.
Hohenstein
against the Russian First Army in September,
M

Ortelsburg Rennenkampf managed a fighting


R

Tannenberg Jedwabno withdrawal at the Battle of the


E

Frankenau Masurian Lakes 134 , and then mounted


G

2ND ARMY a successful counteroffensive. Russia was also


Usdau Willenberg Samsonov
Neidenburg scoring successes against the Austro-
Seeben Na
re
v
Hungarians in Galicia 6869 , and
Lautenberg Soldau
R U S S I A N ghting on the Eastern Front continued
E M P I R E
in Poland 7071 . Hindenburg and
0 40 km
N Ludendorff took the credit for saving Germany
0 30 miles from the Russian hordes, and were endowed
the two generals with almost magical prestige.
1 Aug 2728 3 Aug 2829 Their rise to power had begun.
German I Corps under Franois Samsonov orders continuation of Russian attack in the
advances eastward, forming a line center. Under heavy bombardment from German XX
that will block the Russian retreat. Corps, the Russians become disorganized.

65
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

GERMAN GENERAL Born 1847 Died 1934

Paul von Hindenburg


With clean hearts we marched out
to defend the Fatherland.
PAUL VON HINDENBURG, SPEECH AT THE OPENING OF THE TANNENBERG MEMORIAL, SEPTEMBER 1927

I
f Paul von von Hindenburg had but always fell short of the highest Hero of Tannenberg
died at the age of 65, no one in the appointments. In 1911, he retired Painted after the victory at Tannenberg,
world would have heard of him. not, he later claimed, because of this portrait shows Hindenburg as the
Born a Junkera member of the professional or personal friction, but stern, paternal embodiment of the
landed aristocracy who formed the in fulllment of the duty to make way Prussian military tradition. Germans
social, political, and military elite of for younger ofcers. were reassured by his air of calm
the Prussian statehe adopted the strength and simplicity.
conservative values of his class and Call of duty
pursued a military career. Joining the After the outbreak of war in August
elite Prussian Foot Guards as a junior 1914, all recently retired ofcers
ofcer in 1865, he swore the standard expected the call to return to arms. For
oath to behave as an upright, fearless, Hindenburg, it came three weeks into
dutiful, and honorable soldier. the war. The German General Staff had
decided that Erich Ludendorff, who
Prussian wars had distinguished himself at the siege
That is no doubt how Hindenburg of Lige, was the man to handle a
saw himself throughout his life. He threatening situation on the Eastern
experienced rsthand the dramatic Front. Ludendorff was ordered to East
events that created the German Prussia, where he would take over as
Empire, serving in Prussias victorious Chief of Staff. He needed an army
wars against Austria and France, and commander to serve under.
witnessing the proclamation of the Hindenburg was living in Hanover,
king of Prussia as emperor (kaiser) on the rail route Ludendorff would
of Germany in Versailles in 1871, at take from Belgium. On the evening
the end of the Franco-Prussian War. of August 22, he was informed that
Recognized as solid, able, and reliable, he was to take command of the Eighth
he made a successful career through Army. At 4am the next morning, he
four decades in the peacetime army, joined Ludendorffs train at Hanover

Austro-Prussian War
As a young officer, Hindenburg was commended for his bravery against
the Austrians at the Battle of Kniggrtz. He was one of a few German
commanders old enough to have fought against European powers.

66
PA U L V O N H I N D E N B U R G

station, dressed in an old Prussian made himself both respected and


TIMELINE
uniform, the only military outt disliked for his aggressive ambition and
that he possessed. Within a week, ruthless intelligence. Hindenburgs October 1847 Born at the family estate in
the Eighth Army had won the Battle Prussian dignity and implacable calm Posen, Prussia (now Poznn, Poland).
of Tannenberg. were the perfect foil to Ludendorffs 1858 Joins the Prussian Cadet Corps, at age 11.
Hindenberg and Ludendorff were nervous energy and abrasiveness. JuneJuly 1866 Second lieutenant in the Foot
to be an inseparable pair in military Guards at the Battle of Kniggrtz.
command and political power through Fervent nationalist
August 1870 Distinguishes himself at the
the following four years. Together, The two men shared the typical views
Battle of GravelotteSt. Privat in the
they mounted large-scale campaigns of German nationalists. Hindenburg
Franco-Prussian War.
against the Russians, and fought a long was anti-Semitic and regarded
and vicious power struggle against socialistsa substantial part of the 1878 Appointed to the German General Staff.
Chief of the General Staff Erich von German populationas a potential 1879 Marries Gertrud von Sperling, a generals
Falkenhayn. Together they led the threat to the war effort. He advocated daughter. They go on to have three children.
Third Supreme Command that ran the the clearance of the Slav population 1903 Promoted to General of Infantry. Given
German war effort from Falkenhayns from territories around the Baltic and command of an army corps at Magdeburg.
downfall in August 1916 to the nal their replacement by German settlers. 1911 Retires from the army at the age of 63.
collapse in 1918. Although contrasting He rejected the pursuit of peace except
August 1914 Recalled to the army. Sent to
in social background and personality, on terms that would include
command the Eighth Army in East Prussia with
they were perfectly matched in permanent German control of Erich Ludendorff as his Chief of Staff. Wins
attitudes and opinions. Coming from a northeastern France and Belgium and Battle of Tannenberg.
lower social stratum, Ludendorff had German domination of Central and
November 1914 Promoted to field marshal.
Eastern Europe.
Appointed commander in chief of the armies
In these matters Hindenburg and Wooden titan
on the German sector of the Eastern Front.
Ludendorff were as one. In terms of In September 1915, a colossal wooden statue of
public image, it was Hindenburg who Hindenburg was erected in Berlin, a gesture imitated January 1915 Demands concentration on war
against Russia, starting a long struggle with
replaced the sidelined Kaiser as the in other German cities. Members of the public paid for
German Chief of the General Staff Falkenhayn.
focus of wartime patriotism. He became a chance to hammer a nail into the statue, a scheme
the object of a personality cult, which devised to raise funds for war widows. August 1916 Replaces Falkenhayn. Heads a
was fostered by German propagandists. virtual military dictatorship, the Third Supreme
From August 1916, his name was that was never healed. In theory a Command, until Germanys defeat in 1918.
appended to major initiatives such as monarchist, but with no great personal OctoberNovember 1918 Oversees the
the Hindenburg Program to mobilize regard for Kaiser Wilhelm, he presided Armistice and abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm.
German society for total war and the over the Kaisers abdication and the June 1919 Retires for a second time.
Hindenburg Line for fortications along transition to a German republic. November 1919 In a statement to a Reichstag
the Western Front. committee, he launches the myth that the
Postwar president German army was stabbed in the back.
Taking responsibility Hindenburg never lost his hold over
April 1925 Elected president of the
Ludendorff is generally credited with the German people. His image as an
Weimar Republic.
the real exercise of power in the honorable soldier survived, while he
April 1932 Reelected president, defeating
partnership, whether in planning and helped shift the blame for the countrys
Nazi candidate Adolf Hitler.
executing military campaigns or in defeat onto the subversive socialists
determining strategic policy, but and Jews who had allegedly stabbed January 1933 Presides over the appointment
Hindenburg was much more than the army in the back. After the war, of Hitler as German chancellor.
August 1934 Dies at age 86.

Hindenburg is extraordinarily
well versed in military history
and has a clear mind.
GENERAL WILHELM GROENER, MEMBER OF THE GENERAL STAFF, OCTOBER 1916

a passive front man. He took he was persuaded to return from


responsibility for all the decisions that retirement a second time in 1925 to
eventually led Germany to disaster, stand as the right-wing candidate for
from the adoption of unrestricted the presidency of the Weimar Republic,
submarine warfare in 1917 to the and was elected.
large-scale Spring Offensives on the Hindenburgs enduring popularity
Western Front in 1918. ensured he remained president until
Whereas Ludendorff came close his death in 1934, overseeing the
to nervous collapse as the German collapse of democratic government. He
position disintegrated in October 1918, disliked Adolf Hitler as a social upstart
Hindenburg remained calm, advocating and a dangerously socialist politician,
acceptance of an armistice because but was persuaded to appoint the Nazi
of the lack of any alternative. When leader on the promise that he could be HINDENBURG WITH
Ludendorff was forced to resign, controlled by the old elite. By default ADOLF HITLER
Hindenburg stayed in place, causing he became the bridge between the old
a breach between the two men Prussia and the Third Reich.

67
Austro-Hungarian Failures
In the first months of the war, Austro-Hungarian forces suffered serious setbacks against Austrian spa when war broke out.
both Russians and Serbs. The scale of their early casualties, which included many of their The Austro-Hungarian invasion was
entrusted to Oskar Potiorek, governor
finest troops and officers, was a severe shock to this fragile and divided state. of Bosnia, who had ridden in Franz
Ferdinands car on the day of the

T
he mobilization of the Austro- Sarajevo assassination. He was ercely
BE F O RE Hungarian armies was plagued committed to punishing the Serbs,
by indecision about whether giving his troops license to kill civilians
their initial target should be Russia and destroy property.
In August 1914, Austria-Hungary or Serbia. Prewar planning had given
found itself at war with Serbia and Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff Franz Falling apart
Russia, a two-front conict for which Conrad von Htzendorf the Second Potioreks plans proceeded woefully,
it was ill-prepared. Army, to send against either the Serbs however. Crossing the Drina and Sava
or Russians. At the outbreak of war, he Rivers, his forces advanced only as far
WAR ON SERBIA ordered it to Serbia, but then realized as Putniks defensive line. After heavy
Austria-Hungary triggered World War I with its he needed to use it against the ghting, they were thrown back, and
declaration of war on Serbia 3031 on mobilizing Russians. The Second Army by August 24 the attack against Serbia
July 28, 1914, provoking Russian mobilization went to the Serbian front, stayed for had fallen apart.
in support of the Serbs. Austro-Hungarian three weeks, and then went by train In early September, Serbian forces
Chief of Staff Franz Conrad von Htzendorfs to Austria-Hungarys eastern province advanced into Bosnia. By then, the
priority was to defeat Serbia, but he was under of Galicia. It played no part in the Serbian front was a sideshow, dwarfed
pressure from Germany to mount an opening battles on either front. by the clash of the Russian and
offensive against Russia. Austro-Hungarian armies in Poland
Misplaced condence and Galicia. This was warfare
RUSSIAN STRATEGY Austria-Hungary expected an easy conducted across wide plains where
Also committed to splitting their forces victory against Serbia, but its divided armies could maneuver freely,
between two fronts, the Russians forces left inadequate strength to inhibited only by the obstacle of major
intended to invade Germany through East overcome a country that had mobilized Elite Austrian troops rivers. Both sides used large bodies of
Prussia 6465, while also attacking most of its male population. The Serbs A regiment of the Tyrolean Kaiserjger, elite riflemen, is cavalry to spearhead their movements.
Austria-Hungarys eastern province of Galicia. were commanded by Field Marshal led forward by Colonel Brosch von Aarenau. The colonel Operations proceeded in a fog of
Radomir Putnik, who had been and many of his men died fighting in Galicia in early confusion, with commanders ill-
allowed to return to Serbia from an September 1914. informed of the scale and position

68
A U S T R O - H U N G A R I A N FA I L U R E S

AFTER

A partial Austro-Hungarian revival in


the last three months of 1914 could
not disguise its military weakness.

AUSTRIA-HUNGARY REELS
The spirit of unity achieved between
Austria-Hungarys diverse ethnic groups at the
outbreak of war began to fray, and the country
could not sustain the losses it was facing. In
response to the near collapse of their allies,
the Germans created a new army in Silesia
to mount an offensive against Warsaw, thus
threatening the rear of the Russian armies
in Galicia 7071 . On the Serbian front,

The number
400,000 of Austro-
Hungarian casualties on the
Eastern Front by the end of
September. Some 300,000 of
these were taken prisoner.
Serbian determination
The Serbian army was a highly motivated force, with the Serb invasion of Bosnia was
recent experience of battle in the Balkan Wars of repulsed and Austro-Hungarian forces

The war is taking us 191213. It was also supplied with state-of-the-art


military equipment.
briey occupied Belgrade before being
forced to withdraw.

into a country [Serbia]


with a fanatical hatred
toward us.
COMMANDER OSKAR POTIOREK, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN GENERAL, AUGUST 1914
128mm-long barrel

of enemy forces. Conrad opened with In the last week of August, the eastern border near the fortress of
an advance northward from Galicia Austro-Hungarian forceswhich Lemberg (now Lviv). The
into Russian Poland, as demanded by included formations of ethnic Poles Austro-Hungarian army in front of
his German allies. Barely across the eager to liberate their people from Lemberg, which had been depleted to
border, Austro-Hungarian forces Russian oppressionwon encounters provide troops for the Polish operation,
Butt houses
unexpectedly met Russian armies at Krasnik and Komarov in Poland. advanced to meet the Russians, who eight-round
heading southward. Put into the eld Hypnotized by the prospect of crushing were far stronger than expected. xed magazine
before mobilization was complete, the Russian armies in Poland, Conrad Suffering heavy losses at Zlotchow,
the Russians had arrived more quickly paid little attention to the advance of the Austro-Hungarians fell back in Steyr pistol
than Conrad had anticipated. other Russian forces over Galicias disarray. Neither side understood the The Steyr M1912
situation, the Russians not realizing semiautomatic 9mm
the weakness of enemy forces, and the pistol was used by the
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN GENERAL (18521925)
Austro-Hungarians underestimating Austrian and German
FRANZ CONRAD VON HTZENDORF Russian strength. The Austrian Second armies. It was
Army was thrown into an offensive in manufactured by Steyr-
Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff from eastern Galicia on August 29, only to Mannlicher, part of Austria-
1906, Conrad was a determined advocate be repulsed with many casualties. Hungarys advanced weapons industry.
of war against Serbia. As such, he probably Conrads strategy was to pull back
did more than any other individual to start behind Lemberg, drawing the Russians On September 11, he ordered a general
World War I. His military operations were forward, while his Fourth Army, in withdrawal to the natural barrier of
overoptimistic but sporadically successful. Poland, turned to attack the Russian the Carpathians. Pursued by Russian
He claimed much of the credit for victory ank. Disaster ensued. Lemberg fell Cossack cavalry, the Austro-Hungarian
over the Russians in the Gorlice-Tarnow to the Russians on September 3. Three armies ed westward, some retreating
offensive in 1915, but his use of Austro- days later, the Fourth Army was cut over 100 miles (160 km) in two days.
Hungarian forces to settle scores with to pieces attacking the Russians at Przemysl, with a garrison of 150,000
Serbia and Italy often left insufcient Rava Russka, north of Lemberg. soldiers, was left surrounded by
strength for the war with Russia. Russians. By the time the Austro-
After the accession of Emperor Charles, Withdrawal to the Carpathians Hungarians stabilized a defensive
Conrad was dismissed as Chief of Staff Conrad suddenly awoke to the position at the end of September, they
in March 1917, serving as a eld possibility that his forces in Poland were reduced to a quarter of their
commander until the end of the war. could be surrounded by Russians original strength. Only German
advancing westward across Galicia. intervention could prevent defeat.

69
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O RE

Divided between Russia, Germany,


and Austria since the 18th century,
the Polish lands became a major
The Battle for Poland
battleeld in World War I. The weakness of Austria-Hungary drew Germany into offensive operations
against Russia in Poland. In a war of movement on a monumental scale,
battles were fought at the cost of previously unimaginable levels of casualties.

I
n the opinion of the Grand Duke Nikolai
German general staff, the The uncle of Tsar Nicholas II, Grand
main function of Austro- Duke Nikolai Nikolaievich was appointed
Hungarian forces at the start commander-in-chief of Russian forces
of the war was to invade at the outbreak of the war. His personal
Russian Poland, therefore authority was reinforced by his imposing
preventing the Russians from physical presence.
mounting an offensive against
Germany from that direction. railways, bridges, villages, and
But by mid-September 1914, cattle. The Ninth Army got
instead of aiding German back to its starting lines
POLAND DIVIDED BY RUSSIA,
plans, Austria-Hungary was relatively intact. Farther south,
GERMANY, AND AUSTRIA, 1766 becoming a liability. After the Austro-Hungarians,
heavy defeats in Galicia, attempting to support the
SPLIT LOYALTIES Austro-Hungarian Chief of Germans, were defeated
Most of Poland was a province of the Staff Conrad von Htzendorf at Ivangorod.
Russian Empire, but many Poles also lived pleaded for German troops to
in Galicia in Austria-Hungary and a rescue his threatened armies. Reinforcements
smaller number in East Prussia. Poles served Both sides intended to
as conscripts in all three armies. Germany to the rescue return to the offensive with
Polish nationalists seeking independence The German commanders had the shortest possible delay.
were split at the start of the war. The Polish little sympathy for Austria- The Russians were steadily
Legions under Jozef Pilsudski fought with the Hungarys plight, but they receiving reinforcements, as
Austro-Hungarian army, while other could not ignore the fact that conscripts mobilized in Siberia
nationalists sided with Russia and its their allys military failures left and Central Asia arrived at the
allies. Austria-Hungary was defeated by Germany exposed to a possible front. At the start of
the Russians in Galicia in August Russian thrust through Silesia November, the Germans
September 1914 and forced to abandon an toward Berlin. The Russian transferred forces to the Ninth
invasion of Russian Poland 6869. central command, Stavka, Army from the Western Front.
under Grand Duke Nikolai, The Russians had superiority
FORMIDABLE FORCE was indeed assembling its forces at from East Prussia, transferred south of numbers but were short of ries,
The successful partnership of German generals Warsaw for just such an offensive. by the German railway system. On bullets, and artillery shells, as well as
Erich Ludendorff and Paul von Hindenburg had The German General Staff decided September 29, Ludendorff launched an food and clothing. Their forces were
already been proved at the Battle of to create a new Ninth Army in Silesia, offensive toward Warsaw, coordinated overstretched, since they were
Tannenberg 6465 on the Eastern Front under the command of generals with an Austro-Hungarian advance in attempting to sustain offensive
in August 1914. Hindenburg and Ludendorff, the Galicia. The Russians had begun their operations over a vast area, from the
victors of Tannenberg. Most of the advance towards Silesia. Vistula in the north to the Carpathians
troops for the Ninth Army came Great bodies of troops marched along in the south. Nonetheless, through
Polands muddy roads, with only early November Russian forces pressed
fragmentary information about the the Austro-Hungarians back toward

We run around in thin movement of the enemy gleaned from


radio intercepts and reconnaissance by
cavalry or aircraft.
Krakw and to the Carpathian
mountain passes, through which
General Aleksei Brusilovs Eighth Army
topcoats. There is not much In the second week of October,
approaching Warsaw, Ludendorff
hoped to capture Budapest.

Warfare on a vast scale


to eat Perhaps wed be became aware that Russians were
preparing to cross the Vistula behind
him, threatening to encircle his forces.
As the Russians attempted their
offensive on the Vistula, Ludendorff
better off dead. The German advance was reversed,
turning into a ghting retreat,
sent the Ninth Army around their
northern ank by rail to Posen and
LETTER FROM A RUSSIAN SOLDIER, 1914 accompanied by the destruction of Thorn. Under the command of General
August von Mackensen, the Germans
attacked on November 11, initiating
the Battle of Lodz. This was warfare on
a vast scale, with more than 600,000

German epaulettes
These epaulettes were worn by a German conscript
in a transport battalion during World War I. The efficient
transportation of troops by rail was essential to German
military operations.

70
T H E B AT T L E F O R P O L A N D

AFTER
troops engaged in combat. The weather received reinforcements from the fortress at Przemysl remained under
was freezing, daytime temperatures Western Front, while launching frontal Russian siege. This was not enough
dropping to 9F (-13C). Ludendorff assaults in an attempt to take the city. to restore German faith in Austro- The situation in late 1914 provoked
was in effect attempting to repeat the By December 6, the men were near Hungarian Chief of Staff Conrad, but a bitter debate between German
encirclement of Tannenberg, but exhaustion. The Russians decided upon a it enabled him to ght off a German commanders over priorities while
Russian commanders had learned their strategic withdrawal toward Warsaw and bid to place all the forces of the Central ghting continued through winter.
lesson. They canceled the advance on left Lodz to the Germans. Within a week, Powers on the Eastern Front under
Silesia and pulled back at high speed the ghting wound unied command. THE BATTLE RESUMES
through forced marchessome units
covered as much as 60 miles (100 km)
down, as both sides
dug in for the rest 1.5 MILLION The number The human impact of
of Russian casualties. the ghting had been
Generals Hindenburg and Ludendorff were
convinced that they could defeat
in two days.
Mackensen smashed through the
Russian ank but then found his army
of the winter in
trench lines.
The ghting
1 MILLION The number immense, with more than
of Austro-Hungarian two million troops killed,
losses on all fronts by the wounded, or taken
Russia. German Chief of the General Staff
Erich von Falkenhayn was not prepared to
focus exclusively on the Eastern Front, but did
caught by a anking attack from the of 1914 had end of 1914. prisoner. The fate of support major German operations there in
Russian Fifth Army. By the time the an unexpected civilians in the territory 1915. Meanwhile, Austria-Hungary faced
Germans extricated themselves, the conclusion in Galicia. In the rst week was dismal. Cholera and typhus, the successful resistance by Serbia. In
Russians had entrenched in front of December, Austria-Hungary traditional companions of war, had March 1915, the besieged Austrian fortress at
of Lodz. Ludendorff achieved a successful offensive at made their appearance. No end to the Przemysl fell to the Russians, entailing the
demanded and Limonova, south of Krakw. The war between the three empires was in surrender of 120,000 men.
Russians were forced into a withdrawal sight.
that ended the threat to the
Carpathian passes, Entrenched and ready for action
although the German troops with MG 08 machine guns and Mauser
rifles wait for the enemy in a hastily dug trench on the
Eastern Front. Their combined firepower could repel
almost any infantry assault.

AUSTRIAN ARMY TAG


NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

Cavalry Italian carbine


Cavalry were mostly issued

The rie cannot replace the effect carbines such as this Carcano, a
shorter-barreled but less accurate version of
the Italian infantry rifle.

produced by the speed of the horse cuirassiers donned shiny breastplates


and plumed helmets. Many regiments

and the terror of cold steel. carried lances decorated with brightly
colored pennons. In contrast, the
British, with recent experience of
BRITISH ARMY CAVALRY TRAINING MANUAL, 1907 ghting in the Boer War, wore khaki.
Armies differed in the extent to
which their cavalry were trained to

B
efore 1914, cavalry formed a reconnaissance, direct frontal charges coverbut cavalry had adapted to ght dismounted with their carbines
social elite in all European to overrun enemy infantry (foot the repower revolution of the period, or ries. The need for this was widely
armies, their colorful uniforms soldiers) and capture guns, the pursuit equipping their formations with acknowledged, but the tradition of the
and dashing appearance a striking of retreating troops, and rapid advance machine guns and eld artillery. charge, with drawn sword, still held its
feature of military parades and state through undefended territory. There were undeniably archaic grip on the military imagination.
ceremonies. They were also an Army commanders were well aware aspects to European cavalry. Most World War I was in many ways a
essential element in ghting wars. In of the problems that cavalry faced uniforms were designed for show disappointment for cavalry. Even in
the absence of motor vehicles, still in when confronted with modern rather than camouageGerman and the mobile campaigns of 1914, aircraft
their infancy, cavalry offered speed of repowera man on a horse was a Austrian Uhlans, for example, wore proved superior at reconnaissance.
movement. Their roles included large target and could not easily exploit unusually tall headgear, while French On the Eastern Front, the Russians,

Cossack cavalry
A column of Russian Cossack horsemen rides
toward battle in their traditional fur hats. Feared for
their raiding tactics, they also knew how to form a
dismounted firing line when defense was needed.

72
C AVA L RY

TIMELINE

In order to shorten the August 1914 All European armies start the
war with large bodies of cavalry, constituting
between 10 and 30 percent of their
deploying some 30 cavalry divisions,
sent masses of horsemen charging
war we must make use of total forces. The advance of Russian
Cossacks into East Prussia and
Galicia provokes panic among
across Galicia. On the Western Front,
German cavalry swept across northern the mobility of the cavalry. the populations of Germany
and Austria.
France during the Race to the Sea.
But problems quickly grew. Cavalry GENERAL DOUGLAS HAIG, JUNE 1916 AugustSeptember
strained supply systems, because of the 1914 French and
horses need for fodder. Losses were in the German trench lines opened up However, cavalry did have something British cavalry
heavy from the start. Mostly obliged by infantry and artillery, their cavalry to offer in World War I. Even on the fight fierce
to dismount to ght, cavalrymen often could turn a defeat into a rout, but it Western Front, cavalry occasionally rearguard actions
against the
proved second-rate infantry, their did not work. Advancing on horseback carried out successful charges against
Germans during
carbines less accurate than ries and under machine gun and artillery re, entrenched infantry and machine gun
the Great Retreat.
their shooting inferior. across terrain made treacherous by posts. Away from the main European
GERMAN
mud, shell holes, trenches, and barbed theaters, especially in Russian September 1914 UHLAN HAT
Cavalry and the trenches wire, was simply too difcult. operations in the Caucasus and Six German cavalry
In the trench warfare of the Western In all European armies, the ratio British campaigns in Palestine, divisions take the offensive around Lille in
northern France, probably the largest body
Front from 1915, there were no spaces of cavalry to infantry declined sharply well-handled cavalry forces were
of horsemen ever to fight in Western Europe.
in which cavalry could operate. The over the course of the war, and many frequently decisive.
British, in particular, continued to cavalrymen ended up serving their General Edmund Allenby, October 1914 Dismounted to form a firing
believe that by charging through a gap turn in the trenches as infantry. commanding on the Palestine front line, the British Cavalry Corps fights a famous
from 1917, had an army with more action to defend Messines Ridge during the
than 20 percent cavalry. The Desert First Battle of Ypres.
Mounted Corps, including Light Horse 1915 Large numbers of cavalrymen, especially
regiments from India, Australia, and on the Western Front, are made to serve as
New Zealand, and the Territorials of infantry in trench warfare.
the British Yeomanry, carried out MarchMay 1915 South African cavalry carry
sweeping maneuvers and successful out a successful campaign to occupy German
cavalry charges against entrenched Southwest Africa (now Namibia).
Turkish infantry and artillery. JanuaryApril 1916 On the Caucasus front,
Russian General Nikolai Yudenich captures
Last charge Erzurum and Trebizond (now Trabzon) from
By 1918, in the crucial European Turkey, making bold use of massed cavalry.
theaters of operations, cavalry was July 1916 Ordered to attack German positions
no longer a potentially decisive arm. at High Wood during the Battle of the Somme,
The Russian Civil War, from 191821, an Indian cavalry division fails to exploit a brief
was the last major conict in which opportunity for a breakthrough.
cavalry played a prominent role. The April 1917 At Monchy-le-Preux, during the
growth of motorized forces in the Battle of Arras on the Western Front, British
1920s and 30s nally spelled the end cavalry suffer heavy losses attempting to
of the long tradition of the mounted exploit a gap in the German line created by
warrior in Europe. the advance of tanks and infantry.
October 1917 At Beersheba in Palestine,
Australian cavalry execute a successful charge
against Turkish defensive lines that contributes
decisively to a British victory.
November 1917 At the Battle of Cambrai
on the Western Front, a Canadian cavalry
brigade advances 8 miles (13 km) and captures
100 German machine guns in one of the most
ambitious of the failed breakthrough attempts.
October 1918 Australian Light Horse
Regiment, serving with the British Desert
Mounted Corps, occupies Damascus in Syria
toward the end of the campaign against
Ottoman Turkey.
191821 All armies engaged in the Russian
Civil War and the Russo-Polish War make
extensive use of cavalry. The Battle of
Komarow, fought between Polish and Soviet
horsemen, in August 1920, is often considered
Horse gas mask the last significant cavalry battle.
Gas masks were designed for horses as well as for
their riders. The mask protected the animals against
poison gases such as chlorine and phosgene.

73
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O RE

For over a century before World War I,


the Turkish-ruled Ottoman Empire
was in decline. Attempts at reform
Turkey Enters the War
failed to restore its military strength. The decision of Ottoman Turkey to go to war as an ally of the Central Powers was a crucial
moment in modern history. It not only shaped the course of World War I but also profoundly
DIMINISHING EMPIRE
Ottoman military weakness was revealed by influenced the future of the entire region, including Iraq, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt.
the Italo-Turkish War of 191112, which

D
enabled Italy to seize Libya, and the Balkan esperate to restore Turkeys Enver Pasha
Wars of 191213, which deprived Turkey of status as a military power, Turkeys war minister, Enver Pasha, played a leading
almost all its remaining territory in Europe. Turkish governments before role in bringing Turkey into World War I on the side
The Ottoman Empire lost a third of its World War I sought foreign expertise of Germany. Also commander of the Ottoman forces,
area 1819 in the years leading up to and investment, without tying Enver was virtually a military dictator during the war.
World War I. themselves to the European alliance
system. The Turkish army established British naval advisers were asked
THE YOUNG TURKS close links with Germany, which sent to leave, and German rear admiral
A revolt by Young Turk military a military mission under General Wilhelm Souchon took command
officers deposed Ottoman Sultan Liman von Sanders to modernize of Turkish naval operations.
Abdulhamid II in 1909 and replaced him Turkish land forces. The Turkish navy,
with Mehmed V. Attempts at constitutional on the other hand, traditionally looked Shelling Russian ports
government were undermined by the strains of to Britain for ships and advisers. On October 29, sailing aboard Goeben,
defeat in war. By 1914, the government was As the war crisis erupted in Europe in renamed Yavuz Sultan Selim, Souchon
dominated by Interior Minister Talaat Pasha JulyAugust 1914, pro-German gures enemy of the Ottoman Empire. took his eet and bombarded Russian
and War Minister Enver Pasha. in the Turkish government signed a Meanwhile, the Turkish people were Black Sea ports, including Odessa and
secret treaty with Germany aimed eagerly awaiting delivery of two Sebastopol. Russia responded by
specically against Russia, the historic dreadnoughts, Reshadieh and Sultan declaring war on Turkey, followed
Osman I, paid for by public subscription in the rst week of November by
and being built at shipyards in Britain. France and Britain.
Possession of such warships was the The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed
mark of great-power status. V, was also the caliphthe
ROMANIA RUSSIAN EMPIRE At the start of August, the British head of the worldwide
SERBIA
Soa Admiralty, facing war with Germany,
C

Black Sea
as

BULGARIA seized the dreadnoughts for the Royal Turkish troops on the march
pi
ALB.

Constantinople s Navy. In response, a wave of anti- Although Turkish forces fought with
an

Trebizond n
Gallipoli i a Kars British feeling swept through Turkey. determination, they were often let
n

Sea

On August 10, the German warships down by the misjudgments of


e

GREECE Angora
rm

OTTO Tabriz Goeben and Breslau sailed through the their senior commanders. At the
MAN
A

EMPI Kurds
Athens Smyrna Dardanelles and were handed to the Battle of Sarikamish, only
RE Ti
gr
is
ANATOLIA Turks. With this action, Turkish 18,000 out of an intial force
under Mosul Berlin-Baghdad
Aleppo construction Railway commitment to Germany was sealed. of 95,000 survived.
Eu
M
ed CYPRUS M
p hrat
es
PERSIA
ite (1878 British protectorate) ES
rra OP Baghdad
nea Damascus OT
n Se AM
a IA
LIBYA Jerusalem Amman Basra
(1912 ceded A rabs
to Italy) Port Said Pe
Cairo KUWAIT rs
Suez (1899 British ia
Suez Canal protectorate)
n
G
ul
E G Y P T f
(1882 occupied by Britain)

Hejaz Railway
Ni
le

NEJD
Medina
R

H
e

E
JA
d

Mecca
Z
S

The Ottoman Empire


e

By 1914, Ottoman Turkey


AU
a

had lost almost all its


RA

territory in Europe but was


DH

still of formidable extent. It


HA

controlled modern-day Iraq,


YEMEN
Syria, Israel, and Palestine.
Aden
E R IT R E A (1839 British Base)

KEY 0 600 km
Major railroad 0 600 miles

74
TURKEY ENTERS THE WAR

community of Islam. On November 11, the jihad against British occupation KEY MOMENT
he declared a jihad (holy war), calling of their country. Britain responded by
on Muslims in the British, French, and declaring Egypt a British protectorate PURSUIT OF THE GOEBEN AND BRESLAU
Russian Empires to rise in revolt. This and deposed Abbas Hilmi in favor of
raised German hopes of the collapse of his uncle, Hussein Kamil. At the start of August 1914, Germany had Constantinople. The German force
British India, but its effect was muted. Britain also formally annexed Cyprus, two warships in the Mediterranean, was briey engaged by the British
a protectorate since 1878. In the Gulf, the battle cruiser Goeben and the light cruiser Gloucester, but then, through
Arab unrest Britains priority was to defend oil cruiser Breslau, commanded misunderstandings, was
In Arab lands under Turkish rule, elds in southern Persia (Iran), by Rear Admiral allowed to sail unmolested
the appeal to Islamic solidarity was bordering on Ottoman Mesopotamia Wilhelm Souchon. to the Dardenelles. The
overtaken by Arab nationalism. Britain Outclassed by Royal Navys blunder
moved swiftly to protect its MESOPOTAMIA An area between the Allied naval forces, caused a scandal in Britain.
imperial interests. Khedive Abbas Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, mainly Souchon decided
Hilmi II was nominally the ruler comprising modern-day Iraq. to steam to neutral
of Egypt, itself still part of the
Ottoman Empire. From (Iraq). To preempt a Turkish attack,
the safety of his residence British Indian troops occupied the port
in Turkey, he called on of Basra in late November.
Egyptians to join For Russia, war with Turkey opened
up the possibility of controlling
Constantinople (Istanbul) and gaining Enver went in person to the Caucasian Egypt that had been planned in Berlin.
access to the Mediterranean from front in December, planning a bold Supplied by the Germans with pontoon
the Black Sea. For Young Turks such offensive. Poorly supplied Turkish bridges, an Ottoman army traveled
as War Minister Enver Pasha, war forces advanced through mountain across the Sinai desert to the Suez
was a chance to liberate terrain in bitterly cold weather, some Canal in February 1915. The armys
the Muslims of the dying of frostbite. When the Russians approach was detected by French
Caucasus, conquered counterattacked at Sarikamish, near aircraft and repulsed by British
by Russia in the Kars, the Turks were routed. resistance at the canal. The expectation
19th century. of an Egyptian uprising against British
Attack on Egypt rule failed to materialize. Instead, the
This inauspicious start for Turkish Ottoman Empire faced the beginnings
forces was mirrored far to the south, of an Arab revolt against Turkish rule
where they mounted an attack on in Syria and the Hejaz (Saudi Arabia).

Of those who go to jihad


the rank of those who depart
to the next world is martyr.
SHEIKH AL-ISLAM, RELIGIOUS LEADER OF TURKEY, NOVEMBER 14, 1914

AFTER

In the course of 1915, the Turks were


able to display skill and resolution in
defensive campaigns that frustrated
Allied ambitions.

TRIUMPHS AND REPRISALS


In early 1915, Turkish plans for offensive action
were in tatters. However, the Allied attempt to
break through the Dardanelles and the
subsequent landings at Gallipoli were
defeated 11013 . Later that year, the
British extended their invasion of
Mesopotamia (Iraq) and were defeated
by Turkish forces at Kut 12223 .
Meanwhile, the Turks, believing Armenian
nationalists to be supporting Russia, embarked
upon the deportation and massacre of Turkeys
Armenians 11617 .

75
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O R E

In 1914, all of Africa except Ethiopia


and Liberia was directly or indirectly
ruled by Europeans. The colonial
African Diversions
powers were Britain, Spain, France, Military campaigns in Africa were particularly arduous because of disease and
Italy, Portugal, Belgium, and Germany. difficult terrain with few roads or railroads. Cut off from Europe by British naval
THE SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA power, German colonial forces were forced onto the defensive.
Germany acquired its African colonies in the

G
1880s. These were German East Africa iven the scale of the war in transmitter at Swakopmund. In the The defense of the German colony
(now Tanzania, Burundi, and Rwanda), Europe, the fate of the same month, Douala, the principal port was in the hands of Lieutenant Colonel
German South West Africa (now combatant powers overseas and radio station in Kamerun, fell. Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, with about
Namibia), and Kamerun and Togoland in West colonies was a low priority. It was, 1,000 Schutztruppe (colonial soldiers)
Africa (parts of modern-day Cameroon and however, of major importance for the British setbacks under his command. The Indian
Togo). In the Union of South Africa, the British. By taking control of the coasts An attack on German East Africa did expeditionary force was low on morale
Afrikaners, descended from Dutch and of Germanys African colonies, Britain not run so smoothly. A German light and short of training and leadership.
German settlers, were defeated by Britain in would deny coaling and radio stations cruiser, the SMS Knigsberg, had been Its slow approach gave Lettow-Vorbeck
the Second Boer War of 18991902 . to German warships, thus countering operating off the East African coast sufcient warning to move his troops
threats posed by the German since the start of to Tanga by train.
navy to maritime trade. the war. Seeing ASKARI The standard term A confused battle ensued
In August 1914, an invasion this as a threat, used for black African troops on November 4, and the
of German Togoland from the Britain decided serving in colonial armies in shaken Anglo-Indian
British Gold Coast (now Ghana) seized to mount an East and Central Africa. troops ed back to their
BOER MAUSER
a vital radio station. In September, invasion of East ships, leaving most of
PISTOL British and South African naval forces Africa by troops from India. On their equipment behind.
attacked the coast of German South November 2, an 8,000-strong Anglo- Lettow-Vorbeck pursued a prolonged
West Africa, occupying the port of Indian expeditionary force landed near defensive campaign designed to absorb
Lderitz and destroying the radio the East African port of Tanga. maximum British resources.

East African soldiers


Locally recruited troops in
British-ruled East Africa, called the
Kings African Rifles, fought in the
protracted campaigns against German
colonial forces led by Lettow-Vorbeck.
AFRICAN DIVERSIONS

SOUTH AFRICAN GENERAL (18701950)

JAN SMUTS
Born into a family of Afrikaner farmers in
Cape Colony, South Africa, Jan Smuts
fought the British in the Second Boer War.
As a minister in the rst government of the
Union of South Africa from 1910, however,
he staunchly upheld the dominions link
with Britain. In 1916, after campaigning in
German South West Africa, he was given
command of British imperial forces in East
German slouch hat a series of operations that defeated the Africa. His success in that role was mixed,
A gray felt slouch hat with blue trim was the regulation rebel forces by January 1915. The but the following year he was made a
headwear of officers in the Schutztruppe, the German rebels were on the whole treated member of the Imperial War Cabinet in
colonial armed forces. The officers of German colonial leniently, with widespread amnesties. London. He remained a prominent gure
armies were always white. Opponents of the government returned in South African politics and was also
to political channels of dissent, and inuential throughout World War II.
While the British were organizing their South African troops became available
response to this humiliation on land, for British operations.
the Knigsberg was pursued by Royal withdrawn to the interior. From process, they uncovered evidence of
Navy warships into the mangrove The fall of Windhoek February to July 1915, Botha and German massacres of the Herero and
swamps of the Ruji delta. The South Africans rst task was the Smuts, commanding South African Hottentot populations carried out in
Although it could not escape the conquest of German South West Africa. mounted troops, penetrated South the decade before the war. They took
Royal Navys blockade, the Knigsberg After the initial British attacks on the West Africa from the coast, the Namib the capital, Windhoek, in May and the
held out until July 1915. Even after the colonys ports, the Germans had Desert or from South Africa. In the Germans surrendered the colony seven
cruiser was bombarded by British river weeks later.

Swamps and jungles what


monitors (at-bottomed gunboats) and South African forces were then
had to be abandoned, its sailors transferred to East Africa, where they
continued to ght, joining Lettow- spearheaded the campaign to hunt
Vorbecks army and bringing their
ships heavy naval guns with them. a dismal prospect there is in down Lettow-Vorbeck, who was still
at large. The South African mounted
columns proved far less effective in
The Maritz Rebellion
Britain had a potentially valuable
front of me. East Africa, however. The tsetse y
took an enormous toll on their horses,
source of troops in South Africa. JAN SMUTS, SOUTH AFRICAN GENERAL, COMMANDING IN EAST AFRICA, 1916 while malaria debilitated the troops.
Although the dominions prime
minister, Louis Botha, was an Afrikaner
who had fought the British in the AFTER
Second Boer War, he wholeheartedly SPAIN ITALY GREECE OTTOMAN
PORTUGAL
supported the war against Germany. EMPIRE
But not all Afrikaners were of the TUNISIA PERSIA Allied campaigns against German
MOROCCO
same mind. Making contact from colonial forces continued until 1916 in
neighboring German South West Kamerun and up to the end of the war
Africa, the Germans encouraged RIO DE ALGERIA LIBYA EGYPT in East Africa.
discontent among the Afrikaners to ORO
are into open revolt. In early ARABIAN CONTINUED RESISTANCE
PENINSULA
October, Solomon Maritz, a PORT. In Kamerun, the German colonial
GUINEA
colonel in the South African FRENCH WEST AFRICA FRENCH ANGLO- ERITREA authorities withdrew to the northern
ADEN
Defence Force, and Boer War EQUATORIAL EGYPTIAN highlands where they defied operations
AFRICA FR. SOMALILAND
hero Christiaan de Wet declared a SUDAN mounted by both British and French
NIGERIA BR. SOMALILAND
rebellion. They sought to make SIERRA colonial forces until February 1916. In East
LEONE Kamina ABYSSINIA
South Africa an independent republic. LIBERIA Africa, Lettow-Vorbeck sustained his mobile
But Botha and his defense minister, GOLD TOGO
Douala
IT. SOMALILAND campaign in the face of ever-increasing
CAMEROON BRITISH
Jan Smuts, handled the situation with COAST numbers of British imperial forces.
RIO MUNI EAST AFRICA
skill. Using loyal troops, they mounted 1 Aug 68, 1914 (Spanish) FRENCH BELGIAN INDIAN
French and British forces invade. CONGO CONGO GERMAN OCEAN AFRICAN CONTRIBUTION
Germans capitulate on Aug 26.
EAST Most white South African troops were
Dar es Salaam
3 Sept 1914 AFRICA
War in Africa, 19141916 withdrawn from East Africa by the end
Allies capture Douala, the capital. A lenghty
The German colonies in Africa were scattered and of campaign follows. Allies converging of 1916, defeated by disease. They were
ANGOLA PORTUGUESE
less strategic and economic value than British, French, offensives lead to eventual German N. RHODESIA EAST
replaced by black African troops, such as the
surrender on Feb 18, 1916.
and Belgian colonies. Defending them depended more AFRICA Kings African Ries. About 30,000 white
on exploiting difficult terrain than on military force. GERMAN S. RHODESIA South Africans fought in the British Army
SOUTH WEST
AFRICA BECHUANALAND MADAGASCAR in Europe, but Britain did not utilize the
ATLANTIC Windhoek manpower of its black African colonies on
KEY OCEAN
European battleelds. Large numbers of
British Empire Italian possessions UNION OF
2 Sept 1914 black troops from West Africa served
French possessions Portuguese possessions SOUTH
German forces withdraw to capital,
AFRICA
4 191418 in the French army in Europe 11819 .
German possessions Ottoman Empire Windhoek. South African forces A protracted campaign. German
capture Windhoek on May 20, 1915, forces extend campaign to
Belgian possessions Area of conflict and Germans surrender on July 9. Portuguese East Africa.

77
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

Confrontation at Sea
In 1914, there had been no major naval conflict between European powers for a century.
When war began, the public in Germany and Britain expected a great battle between
the rival fleets, but naval commanders took a more cautious approach.

A
t the start of the war, the British naval forces were sufciently
BE F O RE and French navies successfully weakened to be defeated in a
fullled their rst essential culminating battle.
taskto protect the transportation of The British offered the German navy
In the period before World War I, troops to the European battleeld a suitable opportunity in late August Contact mine
large warships were the worlds across the English Channel from Britain 1914. Commanders at the British naval Attached to the seabed by a chain, contact mines
most prestigious and expensive and across the Mediterranean from base at the North Sea port of Harwich detonated when a ship struck one of their spikes.
military hardware. Possession of such North Africa. The planned an German mines sank a greater tonnage of British
ships was the mark of a world power.

NAVAL ARMS RACE


Allies also set about
clearing the oceans
of German and
29 The number of submarines in operation off the
the German U-boat fleet at German coast at
the start of the war; they sank five Heligoland. British
warships than any other weapon.

The Royal Navy could claim a clear


Britain was the worlds dominant naval Austro-Hungarian British cruisers in the first 10 weeks. submarines were victory. Yet the British were beginning
power and considered its navy essential to merchant shipping deployed as bait to sustain worrying losses to mines and
the defense of Britain against and roaming warships. Meanwhile, to lure German patrol boats under the submarines. On September 22, a single
seaborne invasion and the maintenance the British Grand Fleet and the guns of a force of destroyers and light German submarine, the U-9, sank three
of overseas trade. Germany engaged in German High Seas Fleet faced each cruisers, but once German cruisers British cruisers patrolling off the Dutch
rapid naval expansion 1819 from other across the North Sea. coast, killing almost 1,500 sailors.
around 1900, but the growth of its eet was Even worse for Jellicoe, in October
more than matched by Britain. In 1914, Naval strategies the super-dreadnought HMS Audacious,
Britains Royal Navy had 29 modern Admiral John Jellicoe, commander one of Britains most powerful
battleships, compared with Germanys 17. of the Grand Fleet, was intensely warships, was sunk by a
conscious that his warships were
THE FRENCH NAVY Britains only defense against a possible
Leaving the Royal Navy to defend the German invasion and must at all costs arrived at the scene
English Channel and Atlantic coasts, be preserved. the Royal Navy ships took
France was able to concentrate its smaller The High Seas Fleet, commanded a battering. They were saved by
navy in the Mediterranean, where it had at the start of the war by Admiral a squadron of British battle cruisers,
overwhelming local superiority over the navy Friedrich von Ingenohl, was too commanded by Vice Admiral David
of Austria-Hungary, which was based inferior in size to challenge the British Beatty, which emerged from the
in the Adriatic. to a battle. Ingenohls strategy was mist to outgun all the other vessels. 160 in (4 m) gun
to wear down the Royal Navy in Three German light cruisers were
piecemeal engagements until British sunk in the confrontation.

Battle of Heligoland Bight


British sailors watch as fire rages on board
the stricken German light cruiser Mainz on
August 28, 1914. Fought in German home
waters, the battle was a clear-cut victory for
Britains Royal Navy.
C O N F R O N TAT I O N AT S E A

AFTER
TECHNOLOGY

DESTROYERS Rapid advances in technology


transformed naval warfare at the
The workhorses of every navy, destroyers would go to sea without destroyers vessels in an enemys eet, but destroyers end of 1914.
were built in large numbers in 191418. to defend them against submarine were often highly effective in other
Small, fast, and versatile, they fullled a attacks. Later in the war, they defended ways, such as attacking with torpedoes. NEW DEVELOPMENTS
wide range of functions from coastal merchant convoys. Destroyer commanders earned a The German navy deployed airships for
defense to minelaying and antisubmarine Destroyers guns were too light to reputation for acting with bold aggression reconnaissance and the Royal Navy used
warfare. No battleships or battle cruisers exchange salvos with the heaviest and independence. float aircraft, winched over the side of a
ship to take off from the sea. The rst raid
by seaplanes on a shore target was the Royal
Naval Air Services attack on airship sheds
at the German port of Cuxhaven on
Christmas Day 1914. Meanwhile, another sortie
by German battle cruisers led to the Battle of
Dogger Bank 12425 in early 1915.

U-BOAT ATTACKS
contact mine off the coast of Ireland. It the English Channel and the passage Fleet failed to intercept Hippers In February 1915, Germany initiated its rst phase
was clear that the Royal Navy was not between Scotland and Norway. These raiders. The bombardment caused of unrestricted submarine warfare,
equipped to deal with minesweeping or distant blockades, however, allowed more than 700 casualties, including leading to the sinking of the cruise liner
antisubmarine warfare. the German eet to attempt surprise 137 people killed, mostly civilians. In Lusitania 12627 the following May,
sorties into the North Sea. Britain, it aroused public indignation antagonizing the United States.
British blockades On December 16, a German against German brutality, but also
The threat posed to his most important battle cruiser squadron under Rear outrage at the failure of the Royal
warships by mines and submarines Admiral Franz von Hipper bombarded Navy to defend the country.
forced Jellicoe to curtail operations in the English east coast towns of By the end of 1914, it was clear that
the North Sea. He could still impose a Scarborough, Whitby, and Hartlepool. naval enthusiasts, especially British
naval blockade on Germany from a British naval intelligence had given ones, were not going to have the war
distance by controlling the entrance to warning of the sortie but the Grand they had expected.

Recoil cylinder Sighting Gun shield


telescope
Elevation and
tracking
mechanism

AMERICAN NAVY RECRUITMENT POSTER, 1917

Shell loading tray

Pedestal gun platform

British quick-firing naval gun


The 100 mm Mark IV, introduced in 1911,
armed most Royal Navy destroyers in World War I.
On November 5, 1914, this Mark IV gun mounted on
HMS Lance fired Britains first shot in the war, aimed
at a German minelayer.

79
Queen of the Royal Navy
The HMS Queen Elizabeth was one of Britains first
super-dreadnoughts. Entering service in 1915, it
was fueled by oil instead of coal and armed with
eight 15 in (381 mm) guns, which could hit an
enemy ship at a range of 16 miles (25 km).
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

Coronel and the Falklands


In the early months of the war, the Allies faced a potential threat to seaborne trade from
enemy cruisers. It was defused, but only after serious setbacks and through the deployment
of large-scale naval forces to track down and destroy German warships.

A
lmost half the worlds merchant worlds oceans was the East Asiatic Gun damage
shipping was owned by Britain Cruiser Squadron, commanded by Emdens bell shows the effects of the
and its dominions. Britain Admiral Graf Maximilian von Spee. bombardment from Sydneys guns.
depended on seaborne imports for The squadron consisted of the powerful Emdens captain beached the ship to
60 percent of its food, as well as armored cruisers SMS Scharnhorst and avoid sinking, but its sailors suffered
essential strategic goods such as rubber Gneisenau and the light cruisers SMS almost 200 casualties.
and oil. Worldwide sea lanes were Emden, Leipzig, and Nrnberg. Its base
potentially hard to defend, and attacks was at Tsingtao in China, but when
on them by German warships posed war broke out the cruisers were
a serious threat to Britains ability scattered across the Pacic.
to wage war. The only signicant force Assembling his ships in the
of German warships at large on the German-ruled Mariana Islands,
Spee decided to head east
towards South America, away
from the Japanese navy,
Britains ally. The Emden,
commanded by Captain
Karl von Mller, was sent to
the Indian Ocean.
The unexpected appearance
of the Emden in an ocean rich
Australian cap in Allied merchant shipping
This cap was worn by stoker John Robb of the caused mayhem. Operating
Royal Australian Navy. Robb was one of the crew of the with scrupulous respect for the
HMAS Sydney when it captured the German cruiser rules of war, Mller stopped
Emden at the Cocos Islands on November 9, 1914. and sank 16 British merchant

BE F O RE

Britain was well aware that its


dominant position in world commerce
and its heavy dependence on imports
made its merchant ships a target
for Germany.

ROYAL NAVY BLOCKADES


The German navy faced problems in
mounting a commerce-raiding campaign.
The Royal Navy established a blockade of
the English Channel and North Sea
7879 from the rst day of the war.
German ships at large elsewhere had difculty
obtaining coal, which was readily available to
Britain and France through their empires.

GERMAN THREATS
Britain had already been threatened by
two German light cruisers. In the
Indian Ocean, the SMS Knigsberg had
been troublesome until it was trapped by
the Royal Navy in the East African Ruji
delta in late October 1914 7677. In the
Caribbean, the SMS Karlsruhe had sunk
16 merchant ships. German hopes for
the Karlsruhe were dashed, however, when Enemy cruisers cannot live in
it suffered a catastrophic internal explosion
off Barbados on November 4. the ocean for any length of time.
WINSTON CHURCHILL, FIRST LORD OF THE ADMIRALTY, 1914

82
C O R O N E L A N D T H E FA L K L A N D S

ships and a dozen vessels from other


nations, each time allowing the crew
and passengers to disembark and
ensuring their safety.
Mller also carried out a number of
daring raids against signicant Allied
shore targets, such as destroying
oil-storage facilities at Madras in India
and sinking a Russian light cruiser and
a French destroyer in an attack on
the port of Penang in British Malaya
(now Malaysia).
With 60 Allied warships scouring the
ocean, the raiders career could not
continue indenitely. On November 9,
1914, the Australian light cruiser
HMAS Sydney, commanded by Captain
John Glossop, encountered Emden at

100,000 The approximate


tonnage of
shipping sunk by the German raider
Emden in the Indian Ocean.

Direction Island in the Cocos Islands.


Sydneys 152 mm guns outranged
Emdens lighter armament and Mller
was battered into submission.
By the time Mller surrendered, 130
of his crew had been killed and many
others injured. This was a famous rst
victory for the recently established
Royal Australian Navy.
All round... were oating German warships take flight
Admiral Graf von Spees cruiser squadron flees from
British pursuit in the South Atlantic during the Battle
The impact of Emdens solo operation
suggests that Spees other cruisers might
bodies... terribly mangled. of the Falklands. More than 1,800 German sailors lost
their lives in the battle, in which two armored cruisers
have caused havoc had they dispersed. A.D. DUCKWORTH, ASSISTANT PAYMASTER, HMS INVINCIBLE and two light cruisers were sunk.
Instead, Spee kept them together, a
decision that seemed justied when Desperate for vengeance, the British in the Falkland Islands, where he
he encountered the British at Coronel, Admiralty responded by sending the stopped to take on coal. Meanwhile, AFTER
off the coast of Chile. battle cruisers HMS Invincible and Spee had rounded Cape Horn into
Inexible, commanded by Vice Admiral the South Atlantic. He headed for the
Catastrophe off Chile Frederick Sturdee, to join the hunt for Falklands, intending to raid its wireless In the course of 1915, scattered
The Battle of Coronel, on November 1, Spee. Gathering up the ve cruisers of station and coal stocks. German surface raiders were put
was a disaster for the Royal Navy. Rear the South Atlantic Squadron along the out of action, while submarines
Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock had way, Sturdee steamed to Port Stanley The Battle of the Falklands took over the role of attacking
been ordered to sail from the South On December 8, Spees leading ships merchant shipping.
Atlantic into the Pacic to search for approached Port Stanley and, to their
the German cruisers, although none surprise, were red upon. Realizing GERMAN CHANGE OF TACTICS
of his squadron of four ships was the harbor was full of unidentied The light cruiser Dresden, which had escaped
a match for the Scharnhorst or warships, Spee ed out to sea. destruction at the Battle of the Falklands,
Gneisenau. The German cruiser The encounter was as much a remained at sea until March 1915, when it
squadron had been augmented surprise to the British as the Germans, was captured by British ships at an
by the light cruiser Dresden, but once Sturdee reached the sea the island off the Chilean coast. In April 1915,
until then in the Caribbean. outcome was never in doubt. The the SS Kronprinz Wilhelm, an ocean liner
Despite facing superior British battle cruisers were faster than converted into an auxiliary cruiser at the
forces, Cradock felt it was the German ships and had superior outbreak of war, sought refuge in the
his duty to attack. The guns and armor. The Scharnhorst and neutral United States after running short of
Germans sank the Gneisenau fought a gallant delaying coal and other supplies. Meanwhile, German
armored cruisers Good action, attempting to cover the escape submarines around the British Isles
Hope and Monmouth of the light cruisers, but both were and in the Mediterranean
with relentless sunk. The Scharnhorst went down with proved more effective
accuracy. The crews, all hands, including Spee. Some 200 than surface raiders
who were mostly crew were rescued from the Gneisenau. in threatening
reservists or young Only one German ship, the Dresden, seaborne
boys, went down with escaped the British pursuit. trade.
their ships, as did The Battle of the Falklands was a
Admiral Cradock. The Victor of the Falklands powerful assertion of the Royal Navys
other two British vessels Sir Frederick Sturdee commanded the British ships dominance, and ended any serious COAL, THE MAIN
escaped, although that won the Battle of the Falklands against Spees threat to Allied merchant shipping FUEL FOR SHIPS
the light cruiser Glasgow cruisers in December 1914. Sturdees ships had much from German surface vessels for the
was badly damaged. greater firepower. duration of the war.

83
NOT OVER BY CHRISTMAS 1914

BE F O RE

Before World War I, China and


the Pacic were areas in which the
imperialist ambitions of the European
War in the East
powers, the U.S., and Japan clashed. The European states that went to war in 1914 were imperialist powers with global
interests, and their conflict had worldwide impact. Military operations spread to
DESIGNS ON CHINA
From the mid-19th century, the Chinese state China and islands in the Pacific as outposts of the German Empire were overrun.
was riven by political factionalism. Taking

B
advantage of this, the foreign powers obtained ritish concerns about German Japan was an expansionist power to join the Japanese force. However,
concessions in China territory over naval power were the factor that engaged in long-term empire-building the German East Asiatic Squadron had
which they exercised effective control. This rst brought East Asia into the and only too ready for a chance to decided not to defend Tsingtao and
process was accelerated by joint foreign war. The German navys East Asiatic extend its inuence in China and the embarked on a far-ung naval
military intervention in China in 1900, in Squadron was based at Tsingtao (now Pacic. By the time Japan declared war campaign in the South Atlantic.
response to the Boxer Rebellion against Qingdao) on Chinas Shantung on Germany on August 23, it was The Japanese rst landed at Lungkow
Western imperialism. A revolution in 1911 peninsula, a German-ruled concession. already planning a seaborne expedition Bay, 80 miles (130 km) north of
led to the end of Qing imperial rule and the Worried about the threat this posed to to capture Tsingtao. Britain assembled Tsingtao, where they set up a supply
founding of a highly unstable republic. its merchant shipping, Britain looked a token force of 1,500 soldiers from its base. Their main landing followed at
to its Japanese ally for support. concession at Tientsin (now Tianjin) Laoshan Bay, 18 miles (25 km) east of
JAPANESE AMBITIONS

It would shame me more to surrender


Japan had emerged as an aggressive regional
power in the late 19th century. Its military
victories over China in 189495 and
Russia in 190405 whetted its ambitions
to become a world power. In 1902, Japan Tsingtao to the Japanese than Berlin
signed an alliance with Britain, based
at the time on mutual hostility toward Russia. to the Russians.
KAISER WILHELM II, SEPTEMBER 1914

Japanese soldiers at Tsingtao, China


The crew of a Japanese siege howitzer waits for
instructions during the attack on German-controlled
Tsingtao in November 1914. Tsingtao held out for
only a week after the big guns started firing.
WAR IN THE EAST

AFTER
the port, on September 18. These
landings on Chinese territory violated
Chinese neutrality, but foreign powers World War I had a profound impact on
were too accustomed to trampling over East Asia, despite the regions limited
China for this to worry them. involvement in the ghting.

Tsingtao falls to the Allies POSTWAR REPERCUSSIONS


While Japanese warships blockaded At the Paris Peace Conference
Tsingtao, land forces made slow 33435 after the war, it was revealed that
progress in adverse weather. It was the Allies had promised the Japanese Tsingtao
October 31 before the port was fully in return for naval aid in the Mediterranean.
under siege. The German defense of The news triggered mass protests in
Tsingtao was led by its governor, Alfred China beginning on May 4, 1919. The May
Meyer-Waldeck. He had only 4,000 Fourth Movement became a radical new
soldiers and marines at his disposal but departure in Chinese politics, leading to the
had some powerful guns, originally growth of the Chinese Communist Party.
intended to repel an attack by sea. Japans objective was not so much to German New Guinea
The Japanese bombarded the city for contribute to the defeat of Germany Local troops trained by a few German reservists were THWARTED JAPAN
a week and then mounted an infantry as to develop its interests in China. the only forces available to defend Kaiser Wilhelmsland. Japan was also discontented with the result
assault that penetrated the German In January 1915, Japan presented They were unable to mount any real resistance to an of the war. Although Japan kept the Pacic
defenses. On November 7, short of the Chinese government with the Australian occupation force. islands it had gained, it
ammunition, Meyer-Waldeck asked for 21 Demands, chiey designed to was forced to hand back
a cease-re so that surrender terms extend its inuence in Manchuria and Although not combatants, about 2,000 Tsingtao to China in
could be negotiated. The Germans had Inner Mongolia. The Japanese also died laboring on the Western Front, the 1922. Also, Japans
lost about 500 men, compared to intended to keep hold of Tsingtao. victims of enemy action, accidents, or proposal to make racial
some 240 Japanese dead and a disease. The Chinese eventually equality a founding
dozen British. The Germans who Carving up the Pacic declared war on Germany in August principle of the League of
surrendered were held as prisoners Japan was now able to seize German 1917a politically controversial Nations was rejected by its
in Japan until 1920. possessions in the Pacic. In the overseas commitment unprecedented white allies.
absence of the German East Asia in Chinese history. Although China
Squadron, which had left for the South had nothing militarily to offer the JAPANESE MEDAL, 7TH CLASS,
Atlantic, the Mariana, Marshall, and Allies, Japan was able to send ORDER OF THE RISING SUN
Caroline Islands were easily occupied. destroyers to help the Allied navies
For the governments of Australia and ght U-boats in the Mediterranean.
New Zealand, Japanese expansion
across the Pacic was highly CANADA
unwelcome. These British dominions R U S S I A N Alaska
feared Japan and harbored their own E M P I R E
colonial ambitions. Despite agreeing to
send troops to aid Britains war effort, MONGOLIA
they found the resources to seize 2 Sept 2, 1914
C H IN A Japanese forces land at Lungkow for attack
on Tsingtao, fortress protecting German

96,000 The number of


Chinese laborers
working for the Allies in France at INDIA
TIBET
Tsingtao
JAPAN

PACIFIC
colony of Kiachow. All-out siege begins on
Oct 31. Tsingtao surrenders on Nov 7.

the end of the war. OCEAN


4 Oct 7, 1914
Philippine Is. Mariana Is. Beginning of occupation
SIAM
defenseless German possessions south (U.S.) by Japanese forces.
FRENCH Guam
of the equator, with New Zealand INDOCHINA Yap
MALAYA Marshall Is.
taking Samoa at the end of August. Caroline Is. 5 Nov 14, 1914
Kaiser Wilhelmsland Nauru occupied by
The following month, an Australian
Nauru Australian forces.
occupation of Kaiser Wilhelmsland INDIAN DUTCH
EAST INDIES Bismarck Archipelago
(now part of Papua New Guinea) led OCEAN
German Samoa
to the surrender of the Bismarck PAPUA (Western)
Archipelago and the Solomon Islands. 3 Sept 11, 1914
Occupation of Kaiser Wilhelmsland
Phosphate-rich Nauru was seized by by Australian forces begins. German
the Australians in mid-November. capitulation on Sept 17. A U S T R A L I A 1 Aug 30, 1914
German Samoa occupied
by New Zealand forces.
Eastern agendas
NEW
By the end of 1914, the war in East
ZEALAND
Asia and the Pacic was over. China
and Japan, however, sought advantage
from further participation in the KEY
European conict. The Chinese hoped German possessions
cooperation with the Allies might end British Empire
reparation payments imposed after the War in the Pacific
Russian Empire
anti-imperialist Boxer Rebellion and In August 1914, Germanys possessions in the
Japan and possessions
lead to the return of Tsingtao. Pacific consisted of a naval base at Tsingtao, part
From 1916, Chinese workers were of New Guinea, and a scattering of islands. These U.S. and possessions
recruited by Britain and France on a quickly fell to superior Allied forces after Japan French possessions
large scale and sent to Europe. entered the war. Major siege

85
STALEMATE
3
1915
While the combatant states mobilized
resources for a long conflict, the trench lines
of the Western Front became a symbol of the
military deadlock. New weapons such as
airships, submarines, and poison gas added to
the horror of war but did nothing to end it.
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

STALEMATE
Chlorine gas is used Statues of an iron
by the Germans during warrior, as depicted in this
the Second Battle of propaganda poster, are erected
Ypres in April 1915. It in towns in Germany to raise
is the first large-scale funds for the war. People are
combat use of poison allowed to drive nails into the
gas in the war, but statue in return for a donation.
chemical warfare is soon
employed by both sides. During the Battle of Dogger Bank in January,

Y
the British sink the German warship SMS Blcher,

EN
RW
resulting in the loss of more than 700 men. The

ED
NO
rest of the German fleet makes it safely home.

SW
EUROPE
BRITAIN
AY

EN

FAEROE ISLANDS GERMANY


RUSSIAN EMPIRE
RW

(Denmark)
ATL A N TIC AUSTRIA-
SWED

FRANCE HUNGARY

Ca
OCEA N IT
NO

Sea

A Black Sea

sp
LY

ian
S PA I N
PORTUGAL OTTOMAN

Sea
North

TUN

N
TA
c

EMPIRE
SPANISH MOROCCO IS
ti

S e a DENMARK al
CYPRUS
AN

ISI A
B MOROCCO PERSIA H TIBET
A FG (autonomous)
BR I TAI N NETH. R U S S I A N ALGERIA L I B YA KUWAIT
BAHRAIN NEPAL
GERMANY RIO DE ORO
EGYPT QATAR

E M P I R E NEJD TRUCIAL I N D I A

HE
BEL. LUX. ANGLO-
(Saudi) OMAN

JA
OMAN

Z
EGYPTIAN
FRENCH WEST AFRICA SUDAN HADHRAMAUT
F R ANC E AUSTRIA- GAMBIA FRENCH (British mandate) ADEN PROTECTORATE
TOGO
SWITZ. HUNGARY PORTUGUESE GUINEA EQUATORIAL ERITREA FRENCH SOMALILAND
SIERRA LEONE NIGERIA AFRICA ABYSSINIA BRITISH CEYLON
ROMANIA LIBERIA SOMALILAND
CAMEROON
SER

GOLD ITALIAN
A BULGARIA B la c k Sea
IT

MONT. COAST BRITISH EAST SOMALILAND


BIA

LY
L

AFRICA
PORTUGA

RIO MUNI FRENCH


ALB. CONGO BELGIAN
S PAI N (Spain)
CONGO
OTTOMAN GERMAN EAST
I N D I A N
M e d AFRICA
i t GREECE EMPIRE
e ANGOLA
r r NORTHERN O C E A N
a n DODECANESE
(Italy) RHODESIA
ALGERIA TUNISIA e a
(France) (France) n SOUTHERN MADAGASCAR
MOROCCO S e a CYPRUS
GERMAN
RHODESIA
(France) (Britain) PORTUGUESE
SOUTH WEST BECHUANA-
AFRICA LAND EAST
LIBYA AFRICA
(Italy)
EGYPT
(Britain)
UNION OF
SOUTH AFRICA

Serbia is stabbed in the back Armenian refugees flee


by Bulgaria while defending from Turkey. The countrys
itself against Germany and Armenian minority is
Austria-Hungary. This is a subjected to attacks and
broadly accurate caricature of forced deportation that
the situation in the Balkans in result in deaths on a
October 1915. massive scale.

he failure of either side to achieve a victory in 1914 left the Only Serbia was decisively beaten, attacked in overwhelming force by
T combatants facing a long war. On the Western Front, in Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria. The search for an alternative
France and Belgium, armies were immobilized in trench lines. to the deadlock in the trenches led Britain to initiate an attack on
Offensives consistently failed in the face of overwhelming defensive Turkey at the Dardanelles. But when Allied troops, including
firepower. On the Eastern Front, Germany and Austria-Hungary Australians and New Zealanders, landed at Gallipoli they found
inflicted defeats on Russia in a war of large-scale maneuvers, but the themselves bogged down in trench warfare just as frustrating and
Russians sacrificed territory in strategic withdrawals and kept fighting. destructive as that on the Western Front. The entry of Italy into the

88
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

1915
John McCrae, a field surgeon with
the Canadian Expeditionary Force,
writes his well-known poem
In Flanders Fields, based on First
Ypres in October 1914.

C A N A D A

The transatlantic liner Lusitania


sails from New York in May 1915.
The ship is sunk by a German U-boat
UNITED S TAT E S off Ireland, killing 1,198 people,
C H I N A JAPANESE
OF AMERICA including 128 American citizens,
EMPIRE
outraging U.S. public opinion.

BRITISH HONDURAS
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
MEXICO
Mariana Hawaiian P A C I F I C CUBA VIRGIN ISLANDS A T L A N T I C
HAITI LEEWARD ISLANDS
Islands Islands
WINDWARD ISLANDS
SIAM PHILIPPINE HONDURAS
FRENCH
INDOCHINA ISLANDS GUAM Marshall O C E A N GUATEMALA
NICARAGUA
BARBADOS O C E A N
EL SALVADOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Islands
BRITISH COSTA RICA BRITISH GUIANA
NORTH BORNEO GERMAN PACIFIC TERRITORIES VENEZUELA
Caroline CANAL ZONE DUTCH GUIANA
PANAMA
BRUNEI Islands
SARAWAK Christmas COLOMBIA FRENCH GUIANA
Gilbert Island
Islands
MALAYA Bismarck Nauru ECUADOR
KAISER Archipelago Cook
DUTCH EAST INDIES WILHELMSLAND Solomon Islands
Ellice B R A Z I L

P E
Islands
PAPUA Islands
German Samoa

R
PORTUGUESE French Polynesia
TIMOR (Western)

U
New
Hebrides Tonga
Fiji BOLIVIA
PA
New RA
G
A U S T R A L I A Caledonia

UA
L E

Y
THE WORLD IN
C H I

URUGUAY DECEMBER 1915


ARGENTINA
The Central Powers
Muslim Indian soldiers are Central Powers conquests
executed after a mutiny against to Dec 1915
the British in Singapore in Allied states
February 1915. Most Indian FALKLAND
ISLANDS Allied conquests to
troops serve loyally, ignoring calls Dec 1915
from nationalists for a revolt Neutral states
against the imperial power.
Frontiers, Jul 1914

war on the Allied side opened a new front at which the same The combatant countries strove to mobilize their economies and
stalemate prevailed. The Germans hoped to achieve a decisive industries for total war and achieved dramatic growth in output
breakthrough by the use of poison gas, but this proved indecisive. of munitions. But more cannons, shells, machine guns, and bullets
The war expanded into the air and under the sea. German airships translated into higher death tolls at the front. The death toll among
raided London and Paris, and German U-boats attacked Allied civilians also mounted, notably in the expulsion and massacre
merchant shipping, the sinking of the liner Lusitania bringing sharp of Armenians in Turkey and the sufferings of the conquered Serbs
protests from the U.S. government. in the final months of 1915.

89
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

TIMELINE 1915
Trench stalemate in the West Liner Lusitania sunk Poison gas used
Zeppelin bombings begin Italy and Bulgaria enter the war Allied
landings at Gallipoli Russian retreat in Poland Serbia defeated

JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE


JANUARY 3 FEBRUARY 3 APRIL 22 MAY 2
In Belgium, Cardinal British forces in Egypt German offensive starts Germany and Austria-
Mercier is arrested for defeat a Turkish attack the Second Battle of Hungary launch the
protesting against the on the Suez Canal. Ypres. The Germans use Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive
German occupation. chlorine gas in an attempt in Poland.
FEBRUARY 4 to achieve a breakthrough.
Germany announces MAY 7
a submarine campaign A German U-boat sinks
against merchant the liner Lusitania, killing
shipping in British 1,200 people including
waters in response to Australian U.S. citizens.
British naval blockade. recruitment poster

JANUARY 8 FEBRUARY 7 APRIL 24 MAY 25


On the Western Front, Russian and German Turkish government Coalition government is
the French attack at forces clash in the Second begins widespread formed in Britain. David
Soissons but are Battle of the Masurian arrests of Armenians Lloyd George is made
repelled by a German Lakes, which continues MARCH 10 after Armenian rebels minister of munitions.
counteroffensive. until February 21. British launch an seize the city of Van.
offensive at Neuve
JANUARY 14 FEBRUARY 15 Chapelle, but it is called APRIL 25
South African forces British Indian troops in off after three days. Allied troops land on
occupy Swakopmund Singapore stage a mutiny. The failure is blamed the Gallipoli peninsula,
in German South on a shortage of shells. seeking to win control
West Africa. of the Dardanelles.

MARCH 18 APRIL 26 A downed Zeppelin


British and French By signing the Treaty
warships fail to force of London, Italy
a passage through agrees to join the war JUNE 7
the Dardanelles to on the Allied side. A British aircraft shoots
Constantinople, down a German
resulting in the loss Zeppelin airship over
of three battleships. Belgium.

Life preserver from


the RMS Lusitania

JANUARY 18 Engine room of a German JUNE 9


U-boat
In East Africa, U.S. secretary of state
Schutztruppe led by William Jennings Bryan,
Colonel Lettow- opposed to President
Vorbeck defeat the Wilsons policy on
British at Jassin. Germany, resigns.
FEBRUARY 17
JANUARY 19 Austria-Hungary JUNE 22
The first Zeppelin raid launches an offensive Austria-Hungary retakes
is carried out against against the Russians in the city of Lemberg
the British mainland. the Carpathians. (Lvov) as the Russians
retreat in Galicia.

JANUARY 24 FEBRUARY 19 MARCH 22 Italy enters the war JUNE 23


British naval victory at British and French The Austro-Hungarian Fighting begins between
the Battle of Dogger warships bombard Turkish fortress of Przemysl Italy and Austria-
Bank, but the Germans forts at the entrance to surrenders to the MAY 29 Hungary at the First
avoid serious loss. the Dardanelles. Russians after a siege Turkish authorities Battle of the Isonzo.
lasting 133 days. begin mass deportation
JANUARY 31 FEBRUARY 22 Zeppelins carry out of Armenians. JUNE 28
Germans make German artillery their first bombing Allied troops at Gallipoli
experimental use of bombardment causes raid on Paris. MAY 31 launch a failed attack
poison gas at Bolimov heavy damage to historic First German Zeppelin on Turkish defenses at
in Galicia. Reims cathedral. raid on London. Achi Baba.

90
TIMELINE 1915

The horrible part is the slow lingering death of those


who are gassed. I saw some hundred poor fellows
slowly drowning with water in their lungs
GENERAL JOHN CHARTERIS, WRITING AFTER THE FIRST USE OF CHLORINE GAS, APRIL 28, 1915

JULY AUGUST SEPTEMBER OCTOBER NOVEMBER DECEMBER


JULY 9 AUGUST 1 SEPTEMBER 1 OCTOBER 6 NOVEMBER 5
German forces in South Start of the Fokker In response to U.S. German and The Central Powers
West Africa surrender. ScourgeGerman pressure, Germany Austro-Hungarian capture Nis in Serbia,
monoplanes halts unrestricted forces launch an establishing a direct rail
JULY 22 dominating the skies submarine warfare. invasion of Serbia, connection between
Russian forces begin over the Western Front. taking Belgrade. Germany and Turkey.
a full-scale retreat SEPTEMBER 6
from Poland. AUGUST 5 Bulgaria agrees to join OCTOBER 11
German forces capture the war on the side Bulgarian forces invade
Warsaw. of the Central Powers. Serbia from the east.

NOVEMBER 6
The French call a halt
to their autumn
Champagne Offensive.

NOVEMBER 24
Blocked by the Turks
SEPTEMBER 8 at Ctesiphon, the
Tsar Nicholas II takes British Indian army in The Kaisers epaulettes
direct command of Mesopotamia begins a
the Russian army. retreat to Kut al-Amara.

SEPTEMBER 19 DECEMBER 6
Austro-Hungarian German offensive Allied conference at
Schwarzlose machine gun in Lithuania Chantilly agrees to
captures Vilnius. mount offensives on
all fronts in 1916.
SEPTEMBER 25
AUGUST 6 Allies launch the costly
In the Gallipoli Campaign, Champagne and
fresh landings are made Artois-Loos Offensives.
at Suvla Bay as part of a
renewed Allied offensive.
Soldiers in a German trench

AUGUST 21 British munitions factory NOVEMBER 25 DECEMBER 7


Defeat at the Battle The defeated Serbian army is Start of the evacuation
of Scimitar Hill ends ordered to retreat through of Allied forces
Allied chances of OCTOBER 12 Albania and Montenegro from Gallipoli.
success at Gallipoli. In Belgium, British to the Adriatic.
nurse Edith Cavell
AUGUST 29 is executed by a
Brest-Litovsk in Russia German firing squad.
falls to the Germans.

JULY 24 OCTOBER 14 DECEMBER 19


British Indian forces The British abandon General Douglas Haig is
in Mesopotamia their offensive at Loos appointed commander-
advancing along the on the Western Front. in-chief of British forces
Tigris River take Nasiriya on the Western Front.
from Turkish forces. OCTOBER 27
An Anglo-French force
lands at Salonika
in Greece.

American ambulance service German gas shell

91
Munitions production
Women work alongside men to manufacture shells
in a British munitions factory. Combatant states
achieved a massive expansion in output by
intervening to direct businesses and labor.
MOBILIZING RESOURCES

Mobilizing Resources
By the start of 1915, illusions of a quick victory had evaporated. Combatant powers
faced a prolonged conflict that would consume vast resourcesstates that failed
to meet the demands of total war would not survive.

G
overnments on all sides had This facilitated the development of abandoned enrolling
to increase production in key synthetic substitutes for materials that volunteers indiscriminately,
industries if they were to could no longer be imported. Crucially, and had launched a national
sustain mass armies in the eld. They the nitrates required for making high registry to establish which
largely relied on private businesses to explosives were synthesized through men should be reserved for
supply the goods, inducing them to the work of scientist Fritz Haber. vital industrial jobs.
cooperate through government control The employment of
of raw materials, labor, and contracts. Maximizing production women in traditionally
For the Central Powers, Britains At the opposite extreme from male jobs was essential to
naval blockade presented a particular Germany, less industrialized Russia war production. Munitions
problem. By preventing the import of was slow to respond to problems in factories took hundreds of
key raw materials, supplying its army. thousands of women, who
the blockade
threatened the ability
of German and
55 PERCENT The proportion The setting up of
of the German
industrial workforce made
a War Industries
Committee improved
performed dangerous tasks
such as lling shells with
explosives. Women who
Austro-Hungarian up of women in 1918. Russias supply had been shop workers or
war industries to situation during in domestic service now
continue functioning. The German 1915most soldiers had ries, and drove buses and streetcars.
War Ministry set up a War Materials guns had shellsbut the armies still Many women also found
Department under businessman depended on voluntary contributions employment as ofce Women at work
Walther Rathenau to ensure that organized by zemstvos (Russian workers in the expanding government A Russian wartime poster shows a woman engaged
industries fullling military orders provincial governments) for most of bureaucraciesBritains Ministry of in skilled industrial work. Shortages of labor forced
received the necessary supplies. The their clothing and medical supplies. Munitions had a workforce of 650,000 countries to employ women in factory jobs from which
resources of occupied Belgium and Britain and France had access to raw by the wars end. The number of they had previously been excluded, as well as in areas
northern France, including coal mines materials and industrial imports from British women employed in commerce such as transportation and administration.
and factories, were fully exploited. across the world, as long as sea lanes and industry increased from 3 million
Germany was also fortunate in could be kept open. Nevertheless, in to 5 million during the war. By 1918,
having strong links between industry 1915 their armies suffered from women made up more than half of AFTER
and scientic research and the worlds shortages of munitions and equipment. Germanys industrial workforce.
most developed chemical industry. In Britain, a scandal over shell Money to nance the war effort was
shortages, luridly worked up in the found through increased taxes and The combatant countries achieved
press, led to Conservative and Labour government borrowing on a massive extraordinary growth in war
BE F O RE politicians entering a coalition scale. Patriotic appeals brought in loans production, but at mounting
government with the Liberals in spring from the public in the form of war nancial and social cost.
1915. The Liberal politician David bonds. As governments pumped
At the onset of war, military Lloyd George was appointed to head money into their economies to WEAPONS INDUSTRY
authorities and governments in all a new Ministry of Munitions. His promote industry, they struggled to Britain raised its production of
combatant countries took sweeping vigorous interventionism achieved hold down the consequent ination. explosives from 24,000 tons in 1915 to
powers to suspend basic civil rights. a striking increase in output. almost 186,000 tons in 1917. Its output
All combatant countries were The inequalities of war of machine guns over the same period
EMERGENCY MEASURES hard-pressed to meet the conicting Some people were denitely better rose from 6,100 to almost 80,000. Before the
In France, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, labor demands of army, industry, off in the war, including industrialists war, an aircraft industry barely existed, but in
siege regulations were invoked, giving the and agriculture. France was soon who secured lucrative armament 1915 French factories manufactured
army powers to requisition property, censor obliged to transfer skilled workers back contracts and working-class women 7,000 aircraft engines, rising to 17,000 in
the press, and try civilians in military courts. In from the military front to the factories. who found better-paying jobs, while 1916all for military use. Germany had
Britain, the Defence of the Realm Act By the end of 1915, Britain had others suffered hardship. In 1915, produced 43,200 rifles in 1914; in 1916 it
(DORA) licensed the government to social solidarity still made 3 million. German production of
commandeer economic resources and held, but discontent explosives multiplied tenfold between
suppress opposition to the war. surfaced in accusations 1914 and 1917.
Everywhere, horses were requisitioned and of proteering by
railways taken out of private control. businessmen and COUNTING THE COST
Despite draconian powers, combatant demands for fairness in The nancial cost of the war effort was
countries were ill-prepared to run a the sharing of sacrice. staggering. In Germany, Britain, and France,
long war. The rst four months of ghting government expenditure rose around
exhausted their stocks of munitions. Russia Chemical warrior 500 percent between 1914 and 1917.
was running out of artillery shells German scientist Fritz Haber Devoting vast resources to the war also had an
by September 1914, and by the end of the year (right) epitomized the impact on food production, reducing the
all combatants found operations limited by contribution of science to the war, labor available for farm work and creating
shell shortages. creating synthetic substitutes for shortages of tools, fertilizers, and horses.
strategic materials and poison
gas for the battlefield.

93
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

Trench Warfare
It is a wild scene Filth and rubbish
everywhere, graves built into the defenses
troops of enormous rats
WINSTON CHURCHILL, LETTER FROM THE TRENCHES AT LAVENTIE, FRANCE, NOVEMBER 23, 1915

B
y 1914, trenches were a common necessary measure. Eventually, German entrenching tool
aspect of warfare, reecting the some of them became home for In trench warfare, the short-handled entrenching
straightforward need for soldiers thousands of troops for years. spade became as important a piece of military
on the front line to protect themselves The essentials of any trench were equipment as the rifle. Soldiers of all armies
against enemy re. Standard military simple. It had to be deep enough for spent long hours of backbreaking labor digging,
manuals provided instructions for a man to stand, without his head repairing, and extending trench systems.
digging trenches, and armies had presenting a target for enemy
equipment for doing so. But there was snipers. It also had to be narrow so bunkers to protect troops against
no precedent for the scale and duration that it was not an easy target for an shell re. In some places, however,
of the trench warfare that was such a enemy shell or mortar. It was better defenses never progressed beyond
feature of World War I. if it wasnt straight. Frequent kinks, a single trench fronted by a few
By the end of 1915, there was a more which the British called traverses, strands of barbed wire.
or less continuous line of trenches stopped blast, shrapnel, or re from Trench systems of formidable
stretching 460 miles (740 km) across sweeping the entire length of the complexity developed over time.
Europe, from the Belgian coast to trench. It needed a re step, a raised Saps (short trenches) were dug
Switzerland, and a somewhat less platform, in its front wall, so that forward into no mans land
continuous line in the east extending soldiers could step up to between the opposing
for 800 miles (1,300 km) from the shoot over the top if the trenches. Parallel lines
Baltic to the Carpathians. All the enemy attacked. of support and reserve
other fronts in the warin northern trenches were dug behind
Italy, Gallipoli in Turkey, Palestine, Trench systems the front line, and a maze
and the Caucasushad their own Where the ground was of communication trenches
trench systems. At rst, trenches sodden, as it regularly was in linked the front line to
were considered to be a temporary, parts of Flanders in Belgium, the rear. On the Western
trenches had to be shallow to Front, the Germans
Over the top at Gallipoli prevent ooding, with a eventually constructed
Allied soldiers advance during the Dardanelles parapet of earth and sandbags built up complex defensive systems 9 miles
campaign in 191516. The terrain at Gallipoli made in front. Where the ground was dry and (15 km) across, with a series of
entrenchment difficult and troops suffered from rm, as at the Somme, trenches could trenches, disguised machine gun
diseases in the unsanitary conditions. be provided with deep underground emplacements, and cunningly sited
strongpoints that were reinforced
with concrete fortications.

Life in the trenches


Conditions on the front varied. French
trenches provided notoriously poor
living conditions. The Germans, by
contrast, built dry and warm concrete
bunkers and even installed electric
lighting for some troops.
Life in the trenches could range from
tolerable to almost unbearable. On a
quiet sector of the front, daily routines
might carry a man through months of
the war with only limited danger.
Enemies separated by no more than
100200 yd (100200 m) of no mans
land adopted a system of live-and-let-
live as the path to mutual survival. A
day typically began with stand to at

94
T R E N C H WA R FA R E

dawn, often the occasion for a


TIMELINE
ritualistic exchange of re expected
to hurt no one. Then rations were September 1914 German Chief of the
brought up from the rear. Tasks such General Staff General Helmuth von Moltke
as cleaning weapons and maintaining orders forces retreating from the Marne to
or extending trenches lled the day fortify and defend a line at the Aisne River.
until stand down at dusk. Night was Entrenched German troops halt the advance
a time for repairing barbed wire or of British and French forces, who dig their own
moving troops and equipment. improvised trenches.
On an active front, commanders December 1914 With armies entrenched
insisted on constant harassment of across the Western Front, there is widespread
the enemy. Front line units suffered fraternization between German and Allied
troops on Christmas Day.

5,000 The average number


of British casualties
per month in the trenches of the
January 1915 German Chief of the General
Staff General Erich von Falkenhayn orders
troops on the Western Front to make their
Ypres salient in 1916, when no trench lines defensible against superior forces,
major battle was fought. leading to stalemate.
April 1915 The Germans introduce poison
a grinding attrition of casualties from gas during the Second Battle of Ypres. Gas
sniper re, mortars, and artillery. At becomes a fixed feature of trench warfare on
night, patrols were sent out into no the Western Front.
mans land or raids were mounted April 1915 Allied troops landing at Gallipoli,
against enemy trenches, producing Turkey, find themselves forced to entrench
heavy casualties for both sides. under unfavorable conditions. They are unable
Few soldiers went over the top to make significant progress against Turkish
in a major offensive more than once defensive positions.
or twice. When they did, it was an
experience they would never forget.
Observation of the enemy, either
through periscopes or at advanced
listening posts thrust forward into
no mans land, was a 24-hour-a-day
task, and any soldier who fell asleep
on sentry duty was severely punished.
Soldiers on the Western Front would
typically spend less than a week on the
front line, before being rotated to the
reserve line or the rear, where they
labored on exhausting tasks such as
carrying ammunition to the front line.

Lice, rats, and trench foot BISCUIT RATIONS TURNED INTO A FRAME
Infestation with lice was almost June 1916 Russian General Alexei Brusilov
universal in the trenches, which drives Austro-Hungarian forces out of their
also swarmed with well-fed rats. trench lines and advances 50 miles (80 km).
Sometimes corpses and body parts
July 1916 German troops in concrete bunkers
became embedded in trench walls, as
survive a prolonged Allied bombardment to
it was often too dangerous to retrieve emerge and cut down attacking soldiers on
them. Latrine facilities could be the first day of the Somme offensive.
primitive. On the Western Front, troops
FebruaryMarch 1917 German forces on the
were usually adequately clothed and
Western Front between Arras and Soissons
fed, but such was not the case on other
withdraw to newly prepared defensive
fronts. Extreme weather could turn the
positions (the Hindenburg Line).
trench experience into a nightmare. In
September 1917 A German offensive against
the summer heat at Gallipoli, troops
the Russians at Riga shows the effectiveness of
were tortured by thirst and racked by
using specialized assault troops to penetrate
disease. In Flanders, heavy rain
trench systems in depth.
ooded trenches, turning the battle
area into a quagmire; troops standing November 1917 A British offensive at
for days in deep water suffered from Cambrai uses massed tanks to overcome
soldiers in German trenches, but without
trench foot, which could lead to
decisive effect.
gangrene and amputation.
March 1918 The German Spring Offensive
German trench ends the stalemate on the Western Front.
This trench has been dug into soft earth, so the SeptemberOctober 1918 Allied forces break
walls are revetted with wattle to hold them firm. through the Hindenburg Line.
A duckboard of wooden slats has been laid to provide
a mud-free walkway.

95
EYEWITNESS 1915

Life in the Trenches


Life in the trenches varied according to sectors, fronts, the
time of year, and local weather conditions. It was, however,
far from pleasant. Soldiers on all sides lived under the threat
of death from either snipers or shells. Vermin, such as rats and
lice, were numerous; trenches would flood in wet weather;
and men suffered frostbite in the freezing cold. Those serving
also had to contend with the extreme tedium of trench
warfare, which was largely static.

to Ibeamrelieved
still stuck in this trench and so far as I know not likely
for some days, as Ive had a week of it and the
regulation dose is four days I havent washed or had my clothes
off at all, and my average sleep has been two and a half hours in
the twenty-four. I don think Ive started to crawl yet, but I dont
suppose I should notice if I had My men are awfully cheery;
they are the best souls in the world although Ive lost a good
many lately But there are points in the life that appeal to me
vastly, the contrast for instance: the long, lazy, hot days, when no
work is done, and any part of the body that protrudes above the
trench is most swiftly blown off; the uncanny, shrieking, hard-
fought nights with their bizarre and beastly experiences, their
constant crack and thunder, their stealthy seeking for advantage,
and regardless seizure of it, and in the middle of it all perhaps a
song sang round a brazier, a joke or two yelled against the noise
of shells and rifles until the sentries warning.

CAPTAIN EDWIN GERALD YENNING, ROYAL SUSSEX REGIMENT, LETTER TO HIS SISTER,
JUNE 20, 1915

thisThere is something inexpressibly sad and full of renunciation in


stationary warfare. Life would be so easy if we could march,
as they do in Russia, march along into the blue distance in the
morning light But here we burrow deep into the earth. There
is a candle burning even now in our dug-out, though it is bright
daylight outside. Close by, the lads are filling sandbags with which
tonight they will stop in our parapets. Everything is quiet just now.
The enemy is waiting for nightfall; because he knows that then we
shall be working at our farthest-forward position. So there is no
real activity except in the dark.

LETTER FROM ALFRED VAETH, SEPTEMBER 12, 1915

The tedium of the trenches


German soldiers read and write letters in a trench in
June 1915. Stalemate on the Western Front meant there
were often long lulls in the fighting, and soldiers
frequently complained of boredom.

96
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

BE F O RE

The ghting of 1914 left the


opposing armies on the Western
Failure on the
Western Front
Front entrenched from the north
coast of Belgium to the Swiss border.

LINES ARE DRAWN


The Allied side of the line was manned
along most of its length by the French.
A sector in Flanders and northern France was In early 1915, Allied operationsthe First Champagne Offensive and the Battle
held by British troops. The British First of Neuve Chapellerevealed the problems generals would face in trench warfare
Army was opposite Neuve Chapelle and
the Second Army was at Ypres 6061. on the Western Front. Taking the offensive resulted in heavy losses but minimal gains.

B
y the end of 1914, a new phase as the First Champagne Offensive, Joffre was already planning an
had opened on the Western it lasted into March 1915. German offensive in Artois while the ghting
Frontthe stalemate of the trench lines were primitive compared in Champagne raged on. Artois was
trenches. But that is not how it to what they would later become. the junction between the French
appeared to French commander Usually, a single, narrow frontline and British sectors, and British
General Joseph Joffre at the time. trench was packed with troops under commander Field Marshal Sir John
Joffre was still planning strategic orders to hold their position at all costs. French, eager to shake his troops out
maneuvers. He envisioned the German If the trench was lost, German reserves of the morale-sapping routines of the
armies, which were pushed forward in counterattacked with ferocity to retake trenches, agreed to a joint offensive.
a great arc between Verdun and Lille, the position. Conditions were ripe: The Germans
KING ALBERT I OF BELGIUM being forced to withdraw by Allied In almost continuous ghting at had begun moving large numbers of
advances from Champagne to the Champagne, the French army suffered their best troops to the Eastern Front
Belgian and French forces held the sector south and Artois in the north. about 90,000 casualties. German losses for an attempt at a decisive blow
nearest to the coast. The French and He planned for his armies to break were probably similar. In the small against Russia.
Belgian desire to liberate their territories through into Belgium, threatening strips of ground that were fought However, Britain had also begun to
inuenced the Allies in favor of an the Germans with encirclement. and refought over, villages were think there might be better military
offensive strategy. Joffre began the campaign against shelled to obliteration. The French opportunities elsewhere. In mid-
German trenches on the Champagne advance gained a maximum 2 miles February, British troops intended for
front in late December 1914. Known (3 km) of territory. France were diverted to the attack on
Turkey at Gallipoli. Joffre had been
5 April 22 The Western Front in 1915 promised that British forces would take
German 4th Army launches an A line of trenches snaked across Belgium and northeast over French responsibilities along the
l offensive around Ypres. Poison
n ne France. The key battles of 1915 occurred in Flanders line from Ypres north to the coast. Now
C ha gas attacks and heavy siege
h artillery force the British 2nd Army
Antwerp and Artois in the north and Champagne further south, that this offer was withdrawn, Joffre
is to withdraw to a new line of
gl Ostend with the French and British mostly on the offensive. canceled the joint operation at Artois.
En resistance by May 4.
Perhaps eager to show his Allies what
Dunkerque Ghent
FLA

3 Mar 10
Key he could do on his own, French
NDE

British launch surprise attack on Western Front 1915 decided to go ahead with a limited
Neuve Chapelle. They break open
RS

Brussels
British attacks British attack at Neuve Chapelle.
the German front, but are unable Ypres
to exploit their positions. B E L G I U M French attacks
Lille The Battle of Neuve Chapelle
7 May 15
Sch

Neuve Chapelle German attacks Well-planned and prepared, the Neuve


British offensive at Festubert
elde

Festubert (Aubers Ridge) Loos ARTOIS Major battle Chapelle operations aim was to
makes minimal gains,with Souchez capture Aubers Ridge, a modest
high casualties.
Vimy Douai eminence in mostly at country that
8 Sept 25 gave a distinct advantage to the side
British launch Cambrai
offensive at Loos. Bapaume
Abbeville In the initial attack at Neuve
So
m
m
e
Neufchateau Chapelle, British and Indian forces
Amiens outnumbered the opposing German
St. Quentin Oise Ardennes LUXEMBOURG
6 May 9
Mezieres Forest troops by five to one.
Saar

French attack on Vimy Ridge


makes initial gains toward town F R A N C E Luxembourg
Noyon
that held it. The route to the ridge
of Souchez. Follow-up attacks
A r

meet heavy German resistance Craonne


passed through the ruined village of
g o

and gain little. Neuve Chapelle. The attack was


M
n n

eu

Soissons A is ne GERMANY entrusted to the First Army under


se

Oise
General Douglas Haig, a rising star
e

1 Jan 8
Verdun Metz
F o

French attack near Soissons CH who had performed well as a corps


Marne AMPAGNE
Air

commander in the First Battle of Ypres.


r e

LO

followed by successful
e

ne German counterattack. Chteau Epernay Chalons


Sei The British made innovative use of
s

Thierry
R
t

St. Mihiel aerial photography to map the German


A

PARIS 2 FebMar 9 Sept 25 N


I

French continue winter Major attack by French


E defenses, which were thinly manned
offensive with attacks in in Champagne. Initial and poorly constructedthe wet
Champagne. Small gains are success is followed by 4 April ground had forced both sides to build
made, with high casualties. rm resistance. Luneville
0 60 km French offensive parapets upward rather than dig
around St. Mihiel fails.
0 60 miles downward for shelter.

98
Battle supplies at Neuve Chapelle
Joseph Grays painting, A Ration Party of the 4th
Black Watch at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle,
1915, shows battle supplies being brought up
under cover of darkness. Progress across the
war-torn battlefield was hazardous.

Sixty thousand men and their included the Gurkhas and Sikhs of two But confusion reigned. On one ank
equipment were moved forward at Indian divisions, were able to cross no of the British advance a few German AFTER
night without alerting the Germans. mans land and occupy the German machine guns inicted heavy casualties
The attack came as a surprise for the line almost without loss. and halted progress. Units lost their
Germans. At 7:30am on March 10, way in the devastated terrain. The failure of French and British
some 500 guns opened up a ferocious Lost opportunity Communications also broke down. armies to achieve a breakthrough
attack. The German barbed wire Haig had envisioned that initial success Reports on the situation at the on the Western Front strengthened
was cut and the trench line would be followed by a rapid push front took hours to reach Haigs the case for an alternative strategy.
devastated. In most places, forward, with cavalry eventually headquarters, and orders took further
the British troops, which riding through into open country. hours to travel in the opposite GALLIPOLI
direction. While the British wasted The Gallipoli landings 11011 in late
Circuit board time, the Germans brought in reserves April 1915 were intended to exploit the
to block the opening in the line and weakness of Turkey and the strength of Allied
Cloth- reinforce anking positions. By naval power. But Gallipoli proved no more
insulated Brown Bakelite nightfall, the opportunity was lost. effective than offensives on the Western Front
receiver cabinet box
handset
The last stage of the battle followed and also ended in trench warfare.
what was to become a familiar pattern.
On March 11, the German commander, SECOND BATTLE OF YPRES
German field Crown Prince Rupprecht, mounted a Germany made one effort at a Western Front
telephone counterattack. The British had moved offensive in AprilMay 1915, at the Second
The only equipment for machine guns into advanced positions Battle of Ypres 10205 , but otherwise
communication between and it was the turn of the Germans to stayed on the defensive while achieving major
commanders or artillery fall in large numbers. When ghting successes on the Eastern Front against
and advancing troops subsided on March 13, losses on the Russia and Romania 19495 . In the
was the portable field opposing sides were not dissimilar autumn, the Allies launched major offensives
telephone. Its main 11,700 British and 8,600 Germans in the Champagne and Artois sectors,
disadvantage was that dead, wounded, or taken prisoner. The with appalling loss of life.
its wire could be severed British had gained less than 1 sq mile
by shell fire. (2 sq km) of territory.

99
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

1 WINCHESTER M1897
SHOTGUN (U.S.)

2 CARTRIDGE BELT (U.S.)

3 TRENCH KNIFE (GERMAN)


4 M1917 TRENCH KNIFE (U.S.)

5 M1917 BAYONET (U.S.)

Trench Fighting
Equipment
Trench warfare demanded its own weaponry, as opposing armies fought at
very close range. Grenades and mortars were important while nighttime
raids on enemy trenches required silent equipment.

1 Winchester M1897 shotgun (U.S.) Known as the magnesium. 12 Webley & Scott MK VI revolver (British)
trench sweeper, this model sprayed lead pellets and was In 1915, this became the standard sidearm for British
brutally effective in conned spaces. 2 Cartridge belt troops. 13 Folding shovel (Italian) Intended for digging,
(U.S.) This was used to hold buckshot pellets for shotguns. shovels were also used as weapons. 14 Wire cutters
3 Trench knife (German) Short, sharp, and quiet, knives (British) These were vital for creating passages through
were essential trench weapons. 4 M1917 trench knife barbed wire. 15 M1910 wire cutters (U.S.) These were
(U.S.) This model combined a knife and brass knuckles. standard issue to U.S. infantry and cavalry. 16 M1915 hand
5 M1917 bayonet (U.S.) At 17 in (43 cm) in length, this grenade (German) This grenade was quickly mass-
bayonet was often too long for conned trench combat. produced. A time delay before exploding allowed the
6 Wooden club (British) Soldiers on all sides created enemy to throw it back. 17 M1915 disk grenade (German)
homemade weapons. 7 Nail club (British) The hobnails in This was a percussion grenade, meaning that it exploded
this club allowed the wielder to inict serious injury. on impact. 18 Grenade P1 (French) Also a percussion
8 Metal club (British) Clubs were useful for dispatching grenade, this model was known as the pear or spoon.
foes during stealthy trench raids. 9 Spiked club (British) 19 Stokes mortar bomb (British) Up to 30 of these bombs
Designs such as this one had a leather strap to secure the could be red per minute, at a range of 1,200 yd (1,100 m).
weapon to the wielders wrist. 10 Kommandantur Lille 20 No.1 grenade (British) The streamers on this grenade
are pistol (German) Flares were shot into the air to send ensured the explosive head landed rst. 21 Periscope
signals or to illuminate no mans land. 11 Flare pistol (British) Periscopes were used by all armies to enable safe 13 FOLDING 14 WIRE CUTTERS
cartridges (German) Flares were produced using observation of enemy trenches. SHOVEL (ITALIAN) (BRITISH)

100
TRENCH FIGHTING EQUIPMENT

10 KOMMANDANTUR LILLE FLARE


PISTOL (GERMAN)

11 FLARE PISTOL
7 NAIL CLUB CARTRIDGES (GERMAN)
(BRITISH)

12 WEBLEY & SCOTT MK


VI REVOLVER (BRITISH)

6 WOODEN
CLUB (BRITISH)

9 SPIKED
16 M1915 CLUB (BRITISH)
HAND
GRENADE
(GERMAN)

8 METAL
CLUB (BRITISH)

17 M1915
15 M1910 WIRE DISK GRENADE 19 STOKES MORTAR 20 NO.1 GRENADE 21 PERISCOPE
CUTTERS (U.S.) (GERMAN) 18 GRENADE P1 (FRENCH) BOMB (BRITISH) (BRITISH) (BRITISH)

101
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

BE F O RE

In spring 1915, the Germans were


preparing a major offensive against
Russia, but the development of a new
weapon also tempted them to attack
on the Western Front.

FIRST BATTLE OF YPRES


In November 1914, the Allies had gained the
Ypres salient in the First Battle of Ypres
6061. Their line of trenches, curving to
the east of the Belgian town, was overlooked
by German positions on higher ground. The
trenches on the left of the salient were held by
French territorials and colonial troops, with the
British Second Army, including the First
Canadian Division, holding the front and right.

GERMAN STRATEGY
The German forces in the sector were
outnumbered by the Allies, because
German Chief of the General Staff Erich von
Falkenhayn had transferred troops to the
Eastern Front for the Gorlice-Tarnow
offensive 13435 . Falkenhayns strategy
was to stand on the defensive in the West
while attacking in the East.
In late 1914, Germanys scientists had
begun developing the poison gas chlorine
10405 for military use. The Ypres salient
was identied as a suitable location for an
experimental gas attack.

POET (18721918)

JOHN MCCRAE

Second Ypres
The Second Battle of Ypres has a sinister place in the history of warfare as the first battle
to feature the use of chlorine gas. Germanys secret weapon caused initial shock and panic,
but Allied troops quickly learned to cope with this new horror of war.

T
Canadian doctor and poet John McCrae he Germans surprised the Allies deployment of the cylinders, but the killed by the chlorine in their lungs. If
enlisted as a eld surgeon in the with their chlorine gas attack at information was not taken seriously by they climbed out, they were exposed to
Canadian Artillery in 1914. He was in Ypres, even though their Allied military intelligence. artillery and machine gun re.
charge of a eld hospital during the preparations were slow and clumsy. On the afternoon of April 22, with a As the gas rolled toward the rear,
Second Battle of Ypres. The death of a Their plan was for gas released from breeze at last blowing steadily from troops ed in panic, many choking and
friend in that battle inspired him to write pressurized cylinders to be blown behind their lines, Germanys special with eyes streaming. Meanwhile,
In Flanders Fields, one of the wars most across Allied lines by the wind. Some gas troops opened the cylinders. A German troops using respirators as
famous poems. Published in Britain in 5,700 cylinders, each weighing about yellow-green cloud protection advanced
December 1915, it was an instant 88 lb (40 kg), were manhandled into drifted across no SALIENT A sector of the into a gap 4 miles
success with its appeal from the dead to position at the front and then buried mans land toward battlefield that protrudes (6 km) wide in
the living to Take up our quarrel with under a layer of earth. trenches held by into hostile territory, so that the Allied line.
the foe. McCrae died of pneumonia at The cylinders were in place by early French Zouaves, from it is surrounded by the enemy Fortunately for
Boulogne in France in January 1918. April, but a long wait ensued because across Frances North on three sides. the Allies, their
He was buried in the Commonwealth the wind was in the wrong direction. African colonies, and superiority in numbers
War Graves Commission cemetery at During the delay, Allied interrogation Algerian riemen. Those in the prevented the Germans from fully
Withereux, just up the coast. of German prisoners and a deserter frontline had little chance of escape. If exploiting their breakthrough. Allied
produced detailed accounts of the they stayed in the trenches, they were reserves were brought up to block the

102
SECOND YPRES

AFTER

In spring 1915, all combatants


experienced shortages of shells
and artillery as factories struggled
to increase their output.

FRENCH MUNITIONS FACTORY, OCTOBER 1915

SHELL SHORTAGE
In Britain, a political crisis, known as the
shell scandal, was precipitated when senior
commanders told journalists they were short
of shells. Along with the failure of the
Gallipoli landings 110113 , this
provoked the formation of a coalition
government in late May 1915, with David
Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions.

ALLIES DEVELOP POISON GAS


Germanys use of poison further harmed its
reputation, especially in the United States.
While denouncing German immorality, the
Allies set about developing their own
chemical weapons. The British made a
rst attempt to use chlorine gas released from
cylinders at the Battle of Loos 14243
in September 1915. The British, French, and
Germans made extensive use of
gas-filled artillery shells.

gap and launch counterattacks. ordered to retreat. On May 1, it was The Canadians at Ypres withdrawals in any case. In continued
A Canadian Scottish battalion led the turn of the British Dorset Canadian troops received a baptism by fire at Second ghting through May, the Germans
a frontal assault on a position Regiment, which was attacked Ypres. This painting, The Second Battle of Ypres, by the advanced to within 2 miles (3 km) of
known as Kitcheners Wood. with chlorine at a position official war artist Richard Jack, shows hard-pressed Ypres, where a new front line was
It succeeded in taking it, known as Hill 60. The men Canadians repelling a German assault. stabilized on May 25. The battle
but at the expense of 75 stood on the re steps of their was then deemed to have ended.
percent casualties. trenches in a fog of chlorine, German troops continued to have the
shooting blindly at advancing upper hand, and gained ground Anglo-French offensive
Fog of chlorine German infantry, stopping piecemeal. The town of Ypres was As the ghting at Ypres continued, an
Allied troops quckly found only when disabled by reduced to rubble by German shelling. Allied offensive was launched farther
that an improvised answer poisoned lungs. By south. On May 9, after a ve-day
to the worst effects
chlorine was a wet pad
placed over the mouth
of then it was clear that
the Germans had
increased the horror
6 out of 10 Canadians who
fought at the Second Battle
of Ypres were killed, wounded,
preliminary bombardment by 1,200
guns, the French Ninth Army attacked
in Artois, between Arras and Lens. The
at rst usually soaked of the war without or taken prisoner. British First Army, under General
in urine, which nding a solution Douglas Haig, mounted a supporting
neutralized the poison. to the trench As the size of the salient shrank, Allied attack toward Aubers Ridge, in the
Thus prepared, stalemate. troops became dangerously crowded, same sector as the earlier Battle of
Canadian troops making a tempting target for German Neuve Chapelle. French General
subjected to gassing German gas mask artillery. Commander of the British Philippe Ptain, commanding a corps,
on April 24 did not In preparation for the use Second Army, General Sir Horace made a breakthrough to the crest of
panic, and the of chlorine gas, the Smith-Dorrien, advocated some tactical Vimy Ridge, but was then driven back
German assault ran Germans issued their own withdrawals to improve the defensive by counterattacking German reserves.
into erce resistance. troops with primitive position. Annoyed by this suggestion, A renewal of the offensive on May 15
But the line broke masks and respirators. British commander-in-chief Field enabled the British to take the village
where the gas attack Despite taking this Marshal Sir John French used it as a of Festubertan insignicant gain
was densest, and at precaution, some German pretext to replace Smith-Dorrien with for heavy losses. By June, exhaustion
the end of the day the soldiers were victims of poison General Herbert Plumerwho dictated a general subsidence of
Canadians were gas at Second Ypres. promptly made the necessary tactical ghting on the Western Front.

103
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

Chemical Warfare
Men were caught by fumes and in German gas shell

dreadful agony, coughing and Gas shells contained a liquid that


vaporized when the shell burst.
Markings indicated the mix of

vomiting, rolling on the ground chemicals insidefor the


Germans, green indicated
chlorine; yellow, mustard gas;
SECOND LIEUTENANT ERNEST SHEPHARD, DORSET REGIMENT, WITNESS OF A GAS ATTACK, MAY 1, 1915 and blue, diphenylchlorarsine,
a vomiting agent.

T
he development of the chemical small tear gas projectiles were probably entrenched troops, the German high from cylindersa way around the
industry in the 19th century used by the French army in the early command accepted a proposal from shell shortageand experimented with
raised the possibility of using months of the war, allowing the Carl Duisberg, head of the German nding the required density
its products for military purposes. Germans to claim later that France chemical giant Bayer, to explore the of gas for optimal effect.
In an attempt to prevent this from had initiated chemical warfare. Like mass production of poison gases for The gas program was criticized
happening, in 1899 the major powers Germanys own use of irritant gas in use in battle. by some senior German commanders,
signed the Hague Convention, which, 1914, however, this was small-scale notably Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria.
among other restrictions, banned and ineffectual. Developing chemical weapons He argued that it was morally
the use of gas shells. The decision to develop gas as a Some of Germanys most distinguished distasteful, would blacken Germanys
It was widely assumed that the major weapon was taken by Germany scientists, including Fritz Haber, head reputation, and would lead the Allies
Convention did not cover irritant tear in the autumn of 1914. Worried by of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in to develop their own gas weapons.
gas, which by 1914 was being used by the shortage of high-explosive shells Berlin, were involved in the project. Haber insisted that killing a man with
French police for riot control. Some and their ineffectiveness against Haber suggested releasing chlorine gas gas was morally no different from

Gas attack
German special gas troops, known to other soldiers
as Stinktruppe, release chlorine gas. The cylinders
containing the gas were unstable, leading to many
injuries among the soldiers deploying them.

104
C H E M I C A L WA R FA R E

killing him with explosives, and that Masks for all


TIMELINE
the Allies would never be able to An Allied soldier wears a box respirator, with its
match Germanys chemical industry, one-piece rubberized mask and goggles, while his 1899 The Hague Convention, signed by the
the most advanced in the world. horse has cover for its nose and mouth. Later horse major powers, bans the military use of
On April 22, 1915, chlorine from gas masks included protection for the eyes. projectiles diffusing asphyxiating and
Habers gas cylinders, supervised by the deleterious gases.
scientist in person, enveloped a section invented a special mortar known as a AugustOctober 1914 The French and
of the Allied line at Ypres, killing large Livens Projector that hurled an entire Germans make limited and largely unnoticed
numbers of soldiers and driving the gas cylinder into enemy positions. use of tear gas on the Western Front.
rest into panicked retreat. Two October 1914 Germans investigate chemical
weaknesses of gas as a weapon quickly Masks, bags, and respirators weapons as a way of attacking troops.
became apparent. Firstly, the cylinders Countermeasures to protect the troops
December 1914 Fritz Haber heads the
could be used only when the wind was improved as the use of gas became chemical section of the Prussian War Ministry.
standard. Chlorine was initially
January 1915 Attacking the Russians at the
88,500 The estimated
number of
deaths caused by poison gas in
rendered nonlethal by a simple damp
pad over the mouth and nose, ideally
Battle of Bolimov in Poland, the Germans fire
18,000 shells
steeped in bicarbonate of soda. The
World War I, including around containing xylyl
introduction of smoke helmets
56,000 Russians killed by gas. bromide, a toxic tear
hoods of chemically impregnated gas, but it fails to work

80 The percentage of gas-


induced deaths caused by
phosgene, by far the deadliest
annelsoon offered even better
protection. Chlorine and phosgene
worked by attacking the lungs. This
Nothing offered a complete defense
against mustard gas, introduced by
in cold conditions.
April 1915 The
Germans use chlorine
of the gases used in World War I. effect was negated when troops were the Germans at Passchendaele in 1917,
gas against the British
issued with box respirators, which because it affected the skin as well as and French at the
blowing in the right directiona ltered the air, making it breathable. the lungs and eyes. Foul in its effects Second Battle of Ypres.
serious problem for the Germans on When attached to a rubberized blistering skin, causing temporary
May 1915 Germany
the Western Front, where the headpiece, as in the British Small Box or permanent blindness and painful
uses poison gas
prevailing wind was against them. Respirator (SBR), this became the internal damageit was utterly
against Russian
Secondly, improvised but fairly ultimate in antigas protection. disabling but rarely deadly. It lingered EARLY GAS MASK
soldiers, causing a high
effective gas masks appeared within on the battleeld as an oily deposit, death rate among unprotected troops.
days of the rst chlorine attack. creating no-go areas for weeks. It took
September 1915 The British make their first
Nonetheless, the Allies perceived the Allies a year to develop their own
use of poison gas at the Battle of Loos,
poison gas as an essential new mustard gas, which they employed
releasing chlorine gas from canisters.
weapon and were soon liberally in the nal stages of the war.
manufacturing their own gas October 1915 The Germans make the first
documented use of phosgene, mixed with
in large quantities. The leading
French scientist Victor Grignard
competed with the German
190,000 The number
of tons of
chemicals estimated to have been
chlorine, against French troops in Champagne.
February 1916 The Battle of Verdun begins.
chemists to develop a deadlier manufactured for military use in Both sides make wide use of phosgene shells.
gas, phosgene. Often used in World War I, including 94,000 tons April 1916 The small box respirator is
combination with chlorine and of chlorine and 37,000 tons of introduced for British troops.
tear gas, phosgene and its phosgene. About 99,000 tons were June 1916 The Germans fire large numbers
derivative diphosgene came into produced by Germany. of diphosgene shells at the Battle of Verdun.
widespread use in 1916. September 1917 The Germans deploy
By this time, shells red by Soldiers hated poison gas. It was not mustard gas for the first time at the Third
mortars and artillery guns an effective killer, but it was useful Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele).
replaced cylinders as the as a means of spreading panic.
November 1917 The Allies use a stock of
normal delivery system, The bell that warned of a gas
German mustard gas shells, captured at
reducing dependence on attack was followed by a desperate
Cambrai, against the Germans.
wind direction. The British fumbling to put on masks. A
April 1918 The United States begins
man caught without his mask
development of a new chemical weapon,
British gas hood or not issued one, as was
lewisite, but it is not ready by the wars end.
From summer 1915, British frequently the case in the
troops wore gas hoods known Russian armyexperienced SeptemberOctober 1918 The Allies deploy
as smoke helmets. This terror. In retrospect, most mustard gas in successful offensives against
PH Helmet has a double layer of military commanders judged the Hindenburg Line, the German defense
system in northern France.
cloth impregnated with antigas that the use of poison gas had
chemicals, glass eyepieces, and made life worse for all troops, 1919 The Treaty of Versailles bans Germany
a one-way valve mouthpiece. to no decisive effect. from possessing chemical weapons.
June 1925 The Geneva Protocol bans the use

I wish people could see a case of mustard


of chemical or biological weapons; it is signed
by some, but not all, major powers. The United
States fails to adhere to it.

gasthe poor things burned and blistered 193945 Despite both sides in World War II
processing and developing poison gases and
nerve gases, chemical weapons are used only
with blind eyes. by the Japanese against the Chinese.

VERA BRITTAIN, NURSE AT TAPLES IN 1918, IN HER MEMOIR A TESTAMENT OF YOUTH

105
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

Italy Enters the War


In May 1915, Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary in a bid to gain territory. This fateful
decision committed the Italians to a conflict in which half a million of their soldiers
would die, beginning at the Isonzo Front in June 1915.

I
taly aspired to the status of a Supporting the troops
BE F O RE major European power, despite The front page of the French newspaper
an inadequate level of economic Le Petit Journal, published on June 6, 1915,
development. It had territorial depicts Italian crowds cheering as their
Since 1882, Italy had been a member ambitions in the Mediterranean, the troops depart for war.
of the Triple Alliance with Germany Balkans, and Africa, as well as around
and Austria-Hungary. At the outbreak its northeastern border, where a entry into the war, but the
of war, it declared neutrality. substantial number of Italians lived Austro-Hungarians were reluctant
under Austro-Hungarian rule. to comply. They grudgingly
ITALYS STANCE When war broke out in August agreed to offer it the Trentino
Italys alliance with Austria-Hungary and 1914, the Italian prime minister, region in March 1915, but this was Italy expanding its borders
Germany had always been unpopular in Antonio Salandra, saw the conict too little too late. to include South Tyrol and
Italy, since most Italians regarded Austria- as an opportunity to fulll these Trentino, Trieste, and part of the
Hungary as their traditional enemy. aspirations. He adopted an attitude that The Treaty of London Dalmatian coast. They also proposed
War with Turkey in 191112 had he dubbed sacro egoismo (sacred By spring 1915, the Italian government an Italian protectorate over Albania,
revealed the weakness of Italys armed forces self-interest), which meant offering was leaning heavily toward the Allies, recognition of Italian control of the
and put a heavy strain on the economy. In to join the side that promised Italy the who were promising Italy substantial Dodecanese islands, colonies
1914, anti-war sentiment was strong. best deal. Germany urged Austria- territory in enemy countries if it in Africa, and a share in a future
Hungary to cede some disputed entered the war on their side. Allied carve-up of the Ottoman Empire.
territory to Italy in exchange for Italian negotiators held out the prospect of This was enough to persuade Salandra

Italian Alpine regiment


Italys elite mountain warfare troops, the Alpini, are
photographed on a glacier in the Alps in 1915.
The Alpine battalions played an important role in the
warmost of the Austrian front followed the course
of the high mountains between Italy and Austria.
I TA LY E N T E R S T H E W A R

AFTER
and his foreign minister, Giorgio Distinctive headgear
Sonnino, to sign the Treaty of The Italian Bersaglieri Corps was
London with the Allies on April 26. a highly regarded light infantry The deadlock on the Italian front
Under the terms of the treaty, formation. Their wide-brimmed lasted for almost two and a half years,
which remained secret, Italy had hats were decorated with until it was ended by a victory for the
to declare war on the Central black capercaillie feathers. Central Powers at Caporetto (now
Powers within a month. This Kobarid in Slovenia).
was not easily done. In early
May, neutralists in the Italian GAINS AND LOSSES
parliament voted Salandra Austria-Hungarys position was strengthened
out of ofce, but King Victor by the defeat of Serbia 14041 in the
Emmanuel III, who was winter of 191516. This allowed the
pro-war, reinstated him. Austro-Hungarians to mount an initially
Italian nationalists, including successful offensive at Asiago in Trentino
the prominent poet Gabriele in May 1916, although without decisive results.
dAnnunzio, mounted a passionate The Italians achieved a limited victory at
propaganda campaign in favor Gorizia (the Sixth Battle of the Isonzo) in
of joining the war. August 1916 after Austria-Hungary diverted
On May 23, Italy declared war troops to respond to the Russian Brusilov
on Austria-Hungary. Despite Italys Gorlice-Tarnow Campaign was mountain peaks, except in Trentino, offensive 17475 .
promise in the Treaty of London, its relieving the pressure on Austro- where the mountain barrier was
declaration of war on Germany did not Hungarian forces ghting the Russians traversed by a number of passes. DEFEAT AT CAPORETTO
follow until 1916. Austria-Hungary on the Eastern Front. Italian Chief of Staff Luigi Cadorna The Italians renewed their Isonzo Campaign
was faced with the task of sustaining chose to concentrate his forces at the in spring 1917, advancing to within 9 miles
a war on three frontsagainst Russia, The Isonzo Campaign eastern end of the border, where the (15 km) of Trieste in June. They reached the
Serbia, and Italywhich could have Defending their 370 mile (600 km) Isonzo valley offered a corridor into Eleventh Battle of the Isonzo in
quickly proved disastrous. But the border with Italy would have been Austro-Hungarian territory. September 1917. In October, a joint German
timing of Italys declaration of war was difcult for the Austro-Hungarian army The Isonzo was no easy option for and Austro-Hungarian offensive shattered the
fortuitous for Austria-Hungary because had it not been for the terrain. Most of the Italians, however, for the Austro- Italian line at Caporetto 24849 .
at that very moment the successful the frontier consisted of impassable Hungarian forces occupied defensive
positionssome blasted out of rock
with dynamiteon the ridges, blocking
progress from the coastal plain and at
I TA L I A N P O E T ( 1 8 6 3 1 9 3 8 )
the northern end of the valley.
Cadorna opened the First Battle GABRIELE DANNUNZIO
of the Isonzo with an offensive on
June 23. The Italian armies were short Italian poet and nationalist Gabriele
of heavy artillery. Their best troops, dAnnunzio campaigned in favor of
such as the Alpini and the Bersaglieri, Italy going to war in 1915, and
were impressive, but many others maintained a high prole throughout
were poorly trained peasant conscripts the conict. He took part in a daring,
from southern Italy who had little if futile, naval raid on the Austro-
emotional connection with the north Hungarian port of Bakar and, in August
of the country. 1918, led an air squadron on a 700-mile
The initial Isonzo offensive failed, (1,100 km) ight to Vienna, dropping
despite the Austro-Hungarians being propaganda leaets on the Austrian
outnumbered by the Italians, as did capital. After the war, DAnnunzio
three more Isonzo offensives before protested against the treatment of Italy
the end of 1915. Italy lost around in the peace treaty and led a private
army to occupy the disputed port of
The number of Italian
217 generals fired by Chief
of Staff Luigi Cadorna between
Fiume (now Rijeka in Croatia), which he
held for over a year.

June 1915 and October 1917.

27,000 soldiers in the four battles, and


the ground gained was minimal. Losses
on the Austro-Hungarian side were
also heavy. Shells exploding on the
rocky terrain showered sharp rock

Blessed are those in their fragments over a wide area, causing


more casualties per shell than in the
soft soil of France.
twenties who are hungry The Austro-Hungarians clung to
their defensive positions and were

and thirsty for glory, for gradually reinforced. Cadorna, a much


feared commander, dismissed many
of his generals and imposed brutal
they shall be fullled. discipline on troops, but he had no
tactical or strategic solution to the
GABRIELE DANNUNZIO, PRO-WAR SPEECH IN GENOA, MAY 4, 1915 stalemate on the Isonzo Front.

107
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

Anzac Troops Turndown collar with


bronze insignia of the
rising sun

You are going out to ght for


Australia... strive to keep a t
man and do your duty.
CHARLES GREENWOOD OF VICTORIA, LETTER TO HIS SON, AUGUST 1918

I
n 1914, Australia and New Zealand Expeditionary Force assembled on
were self-governing colonies within Australias west coast, from which
the British Empire. At the outbreak they sailed to Egypt.
of war, they unhesitatingly joined the
war against Germany in solidarity with Fearsome reputation
what most of their white population The New Zealanders were primarily
regarded as the mother country. farmers; the Australians a more mixed
An appeal for volunteers to serve in group, with city dwellers as numerous
Europe met an enthusiastic response. as men from the outback and miners.
Although the colonies armies were They had in common a tough spirit
tiny, all male Australians and New of independence and a distinct distaste
Zealanders had for formal
PERCENT of Australians
received basic
military training. 60 serving on the Western
Front were killed or wounded.
discipline and
normal military
Both countries etiquette.
were sparsely
populated, with
Australians
53 PERCENT of New Zealand
troops serving on the
Western Front were killed
Lodged in
training camps
alongside the
numbering almost or wounded. Egyptian
5 million and New pyramids, the
Zealanders about a millionyet they Anzac troops soon developed a
provided a remarkably high number of fearsome reputation among
soldiers in the course of the war, with British ofcers and the Egyptian
some 416,000 enlisting in Australia civilian population.
and 124,000 in New Zealand, including It was in Egypt that they were
a Maori contingent. In October 1914, designated the Australian and
the rst convoys of the Australian New Zealand Army Corps, soon
Imperial Force and the New Zealand conveniently abbreviated to
Anzac. A British ofcer, General
Sir William Birdwood, was
given command of the corps.
It was a good appointment
because he won the
enduring respect of the
Anzac soldiers, a unique
achievement for a senior British
commander. In contrast, General Sir
Alexander Godley, who led the New rst time at the Gallipoli landings in to Australia despite censorship, and
Zealanders throughout the war, was April 1915. From the start, the enthusiasm for volunteering faltered.
savagely disliked. Friction over the Australians and New Zealanders New Zealand introduced conscription
quality of British generals and their showed themselves to be resourceful, in mid-1916, but Australians rejected
perceived carelessness with the lives dauntless ghters under some of it in two referendums.
of colonial troops became acute after the worst conditions experienced The Gallipoli Campaign would
Anzac soldiers entered action for the anywhere in the war. forever after dene World War I for
But frustration and discontent soared Australians and New Zealanders, yet
General Sir John Monash as the campaign became bogged down it was merely the beginning of their
One of the most respected Allied generals of the war, in stalemate. News of heavy casualties soldiers contribution to the war.
Monash was an Australian of German Jewish origin. suffered in ill-conceived attacks, such After Gallipoli, some Anzac troops
From May 1918, he commanded the Australian Corps, as the bayonet charges ordered by stayed in the Mediterranean, forming
the largest corps on the Western Front. Godley at the Nek in August, fed back a mounted division to ght the Turks

108
ANZAC TROOPS

Australian service tunic in the Sinai and Palestine.


TIMELINE
Soldiers were issued a distinctive khaki tunic made of Because they did not
Australian wool. A thoroughly practical garment, it was correspond to the British NovemberDecember 1914 Troops of the
a looser fit than the standard British tunic and had four notion of proper cavalry, Australian Imperial Force and the New Zealand
large external pockets at the front. these troops were Expeditionary Force sail for Egypt, where they
designated as mounted are trained and organized into the Anzac
infantry, carrying only Corps under General Sir William Birdwood.
rie and bayonet and AprilMay 1915 The Anzac troops take a
denied the cavalrymans leading part in the landings at Gallipoli, Turkey,
Arm patch with
sword until nearly the on April 25, now celebrated as Anzac Day.
Australian insignia
end of the war. Their They defend a foothold on Anzac Cove against
performance was fierce Turkish counterattacks.
eventually recognized August 1915 An attempted breakout from
as outstanding and Anzac Cove leads to heavy Australian and New
Khaki twill-weave they enjoyed the Zealand casualties at Lone Pine, the Nek, and
cloth tunic
satisfaction of riding Sari Bair.
into both Jerusalem December 1915 Australian and New Zealand
and Damascus by the forces are evacuated from Anzac Cove at the
wars end. end of the failed Gallipoli Campaign and
Most Australian and returned to Egypt, where I and II Anzac Corps
New Zealand troops are formed.
transferred to the March 1916 The Anzac Mounted Division
Western Front, serving in France from Recruitment poster is formed in Egypt; the Australians and New
spring 1916. Fighting in some of the A wartime poster encourages young Australians to join Zealanders go on to serve with distinction as
ercest actions of the trench war, they the troops at Gallipoli. The Australian Imperial Force light cavalry in the campaigns against Turkey
earned a reputation as elite troops, consisted entirely of volunteers, but it became more in Palestine and Syria.
especially feared and respected by the difficult to attract new recruits as the war went on. MarchApril 1916 The two Anzac corps are
Germans, while remaining critical of transferred to Europe, and the first Australian
the British high commands acceptance key attacks in the Hundred Days and New Zealand troops take up position in
of the need for heavy losses. Offensive that nally won the war the trenches on the Western Front.
on the Western Front.
Peaceful penetration Some 330,000 Australians and over
By spring 1918, the now-independent 90,000 New Zealanders served in the
Australian Corps had become a focus war overseas. About 60,000
for the development of new battle Australians and 17,000 New Zealand
tactics, dubbed peaceful penetration, soldiers were killed. An experience
which were designed to exploit the that was never to be forgotten in
potential of artillery and tanks as the histories of the two countries,
offensive weapons and minimize World War I accelerated a nascent
infantry casualties. sense of independent nationhood.
Finally under Australian
command, with General John New Zealand hat LONE PINE ANZAC CEMETERY, GALLIPOLI
Monash leading the corps from This khaki felt hat was worn by a
JulySeptember 1916 Anzac troops
May 1918, they spearheaded soldier in the New Zealand Cyclist
participate in the Battle of the Somme. The
Corps. Bicycles were a useful
Australians suffer heavy losses in the capture
source of mobility in World
and defense of Pozires (July 23August 7).
New Zealand Cyclist War I and Anzac cyclists
Corps badge made a significant June 1917 New Zealand and Australian
contribution in divisions are prominent in the successful
Battle of Messines on the Flanders front.
a support role.
SeptemberOctober 1917 Australian and
New Zealand soldiers suffer heavy casualties
in the Battle of Passchendaele, fought in the
rain and mud of Flanders.
December 1917 The five Australian divisions
form the Australian Corps under General
Birdwood and the New Zealand Division
becomes part of British XXII Corps under
General Alexander Godley.
July 1918 Under the command of General

Somewhere between the landing at Anzac


John Monash, the Australian Corps mounts
a successful offensive on the Western Front
at Le Hamel (July 4).

and the end of the Battle of the Somme, New AugustNovember 1918 The Australian
Corps spearheads a British offensive at
Amiens, beginning the war-winning Hundred
Zealand very denitely became a nation. Days Offensive.

ORMOND BURTON, NEW ZEALAND STRETCHER-BEARER AND INFANTRYMAN, LATER PACIFIST

109
S TA L E M AT E 1 9 1 5

BE F O RE

Turkeys decision to enter the war on


the side of Germany in October 1914
led Britain and France to consider
The Gallipoli Campaign
ways of attacking the Turks. The Allies initially attempted a naval breakthrough in the Dardanelles strait. When this failed,
they embarked upon a land campaign on Turkeys Gallipoli peninsulaa disastrous operation
TURKISH TARGETS
The narrow channel of the Dardanelles that was a harrowing initiation for Australian and New Zealand troops.
provided sea access from the Mediterranean to

T
the Turkish capital, Constantinople, and from he idea for an attack on the
there to the Black Sea and Russias southern Dardanelles appealed to British
coast. British Admiralty chief Winston politicians, who wanted large
Churchill sent ships to bombard Turkish gains at small cost. An Allied naval
forts at the mouth of the Dardanelles within force, they thought, would break
days of Turkey joining the war 7475. through to Constantinople (modern
Istanbul), where the threat of its guns
DIVERSIONARY TACTIC would force Turkey to surrender,
Churchills suggestion for further attacks on opening up a sea route to Russia.
the Dardenelles was blocked by the British War But Winston Churchill, the minister
Council until the start of 1915, when the responsible for the Admiralty and the
Russians, hard-pressed by Turkish forces in prime advocate of the operation,
the Caucasus, asked their Western allies to ignored one detail: The Royal Navy
mount a diversionary attack. The idea of did not believe it could be done. The
attacking the Dardanelles was then revived, Dardanelles was blocked by mineelds
attracting support as an alternative to the and defended by a series of forts and
costly fighting on the Western Front. German mobile howitzers.
On February 19, British Admiral
Sackville Carden opened the naval
attack. He had a sizable Anglo-French British 29th Division and the Shore bombardment
eet, including Britains super- Australian and New Zealand Army HMS Cornwallis, here bombarding Turkish positions,
dreadnought HMS Queen Elizabeth, but Corps (Anzac) were to assemble, along was present at Gallipoli from February 1915 to the
BRITISH POLITICIAN (18741965)
the rest were pre-dreadnoughts with a French colonial division, at the evacuation of troops in December.
WINSTON CHURCHILL dating from before HMS Dreadnought, Greek island of Lemnos, under General
launched in 1906, set a new standard Sir Ian Hamilton. a mine and sank, taking 639 members of
for warships. Their only minesweepers its crew with it. Then a British battle
were trawlers equipped with mine- Destroyed by mines cruiser and two British pre-dreadnoughts
clearing equipment. By February 25, Meanwhile, the naval bid to breech struck mines. There would be no further
the Turks had been driven from forts at the Dardanelles reached its climax. attempt at a naval breakthrough.
the entrance to the strait, but beyond On March 18, Admiral John de The task of the army landing force was
that progress had stalled. Robeck sent his battleships to take the Turkish positions defending
In the second week of forward. Four French pre- the straits, after which the mines could
March, British Minister dreadnoughts engaged in a be cleared and the navy could sail
for War Lord Kitchener close-range duel
ordered landings on with forts anking Landing plans
the Gallipoli the Narrows, The Allies intended Anzac troops
peninsula. The while the to cut across the Gallipoli
trawlers cleared peninsula while other
Turkish hand the mines. British troops advanced
grenade After one of from Cape Helles. They
The 2.8 in (73 mm) the French expected to capture
Tufenjieff hand grenade battleships the peninsula in a
was much used by the was beached to few days.
Turkish army in trench avoid sinking,
At the start of World War I, Churchill warfare at Gallipoli. Robeck ordered the
was a prominent member of Britains Activated by lighting the others to withdraw. In
Liberal government. As First Lord of the rope fuse, it was then lobbed the process, the French
Admiralty, in command of the Royal at the enemy. battleship Bouvet struck Suvla
Ka

Plain
ra

Navy, he took the blame for early


Gul

ko

setbacks in British naval operations and


l D

If the Fleet gets through,


f o

for the asco at Gallipoli. Relegated to


ag
f
Xe

a minor government post in May 1915,


h

os
r

he resigned in November to serve as an


infantry ofcer on the Western Front. In Constantinople will fall Suvla
Point
N

July 1917, he returned to government


as an energetic Minister of Munitions.
Gallipoli was continually cited against and you will have won not 0 km

0 miles
6 km

4 miles
Churchill until it was overshadowed by
his performance as British prime
minister in World War II.
a battle, but the war. Diversionary attack by
Royal Naval Division.
LORD KITCHENER, MINISTER FOR WAR, MARCH 1915

110
T H E G A L L I P O L I C A M PA I G N

through in peace. Hamilton had little Death trap


information on the terrain of the area or Australian and New Zealand soldiers move among the
on Turkish defensive positions. dead and wounded on the beach at Anzac Cove. The
landing site turned into a trap from which the troops
Allied landings could never break out.
A plan was hastily put together for
the British 29th Division to land on
beaches, coded S, V, W, X, and Y, at
Cape Helles, the peninsulas southern
tip. The Anzac troops were to land at
an undefended cove farther north,
while the French staged a diversionary
landing on the Asian shore.
On the morning of April 25, Robecks
warships appeared off Gallipoli. As they
bombarded the shore, the troops

The number of
18,000 Allied soldiers who
came ashore on the first day of the
Gallipoli landings, April 25, 1915.

12,000 The number of


Anzac troops who
landed at Gallipoli the same day.

disembarked into rowboats, towed to


shore in lines behind steam pinnaces
(small naval boats). At W Beach on
Cape Helles, the Lancashire Fusiliers
suffered more than 50 percent Unfortunately, the Anzac troops had