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The First World War Revision Notes

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The First World War Revision Revision

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HISTORY REVISION

The First World War Revision Lecture: The Outbreak of War:
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Initial reaction was patriotism

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Jingoism?

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Rush to enlist

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Overriding response, however, was resignation

A war of movement:
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Cult of the offensive

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Battle of the Frontiers

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Attempts at a swift and decisive victory o

Schlieffen Plan

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Initial French gains reversed by German counter-offensives

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For the French it was a war of good vs. evil

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'Over by Christmas'?

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Military leaders anticipated a long war o

Moltke - "[Germany must] prepare… for a long campaign, with numerous tough, protracted battles"

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Kitchener, Haig and Joffre anticipated a long war

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Due to the enlargement of land armies in the years preceding the outbreak of war it would be a long struggle

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Military advances had bolstered defensive weaponry far more than offensive

o

Machine gun

Paradoxically the notion of stalemate along the front increased the fervour of belief in the cult of the offensive

Miracle of the Marne:
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Over 1 million men on each side

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Allied offensive; force Germans across the Marne and thus protect Paris

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German counter-attack

HISTORY REVISION
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French sixth army stretched

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Utilised taxis to transport reserve troops to the front line

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The Germans entrenched themselves after retreating 40 miles

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10-11 September 1914 - allies won the battle of the Marne o

Optimism was retained

The Eastern Front:
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Russia was slow to mobilise; supply lines stretched

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Nevertheless 6 million troops mobilised

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Russian 1st and 2nd armies to invade East Prussia

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Hindenburg and Ludendorff masterminded the overwhelming German victory against the Russians at the battle of Tannenberg o

Tannenberg provided the Germans with morale and heroes

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Russians realised how futile the attempt at a swift victory was

1915 - A 'World War':
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German successes in the East force a Russian retreat

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Stalemate on the western front

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Other theatres - Gallipoli, Italian fighting in the alps

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Colonial troops were integral, especially in the British military effort o

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Indians

Activity of German U-boats, and the British blockade, made the war a worldwide phenomenon

1916 - Verdun & the Somme:
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By 1916 both sides acknowledged that the war would ultimately be won on the western front

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German assault on Verdun

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Successful defence - led by Petain o

Becomes symbolic to the French defensive effort

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Petain becomes a national hero

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Half a million deaths

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Strategic system of warfare remained unchanged

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