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Chapter 23, Part 2

World War I
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Trench Warfare
Warfare in the trenches of
the Western Front
produced unimaginable
horrors. Battlefields were
hellish landscapes of
barbed wire, shell holes,
mud, and injured and
dying men. The
introduction of poison gas
in 1915 produced new
forms of injuries.
trench warfare
1912 Practice Trenches in
Northern England

Today – a national
Belgium Trenches
Apart from my visit to Auschwitz, probably one of the most
unsettling places I've ever been. This is a section of the trenches
called Sanctuary Wood,
Wood outside Ypres, (Belgium) where the
farmer who owned the field preserved the land as it was
when the war ended.
Around and beside these trenches, there are shell
holes big enough to drop an average-sized car in.
In the 85-odd years since the end of the war, a
forest has grown up around the trenches. The
most unsettling thing about this place was the
silence - I was there in mid-summer, yet it was
dead quiet, no birds in the woods, no animals,
The Second Battle of Ypres
Preparing for
mustard gas
Tactics of Trench Warfare
•Attacks rarely worked
•Advancing unprotected across
open fields could be fired at
by the enemy’s machine guns
•In 10 months at Verdun,
France in 1916, 700,000
men were killed over a few
miles of land
“France’s Stalingrad”
• The Battle of Verdun resulted in more than
a quarter of a million battlefield deaths and
at least half a million wounded.
• Verdun was the longest battle and one of
the most devastating in World War I and
more generally in human history.
• A total of about 40 million artillery shells
were exchanged by both sides during the
A Killing Ground @ Verdun
Map of World with Participants in World War I –
Allies in green Central Powers in orange - neutral in grey
1914 to 1915: Illusions and
Stalemate (cont.)

• The Western Front turned into a

stalemate, with neither side able to
push the other out of the system of
trench warfare they had begun. ⇓
• The trenches stretched from the
English Channel nearly to the Swiss
border. ⇓
• For four years both sides remained in
almost the same positions.
"Gott strafe England" was a common
slogan of the German Army, which
means "May God punish England".
Ineffective Strategy – 3rd Ypres (Paschendale)
1914 to 1915: Illusions and
Stalemate (cont.)
• On the Eastern Front, the war was far
more mobile. ⇓
• The Russians defeated Austria-Hungary
and dislodged them from Serbia.
• The Russian army moved into eastern
Germany but was defeated at the Battle
of Tannenberg and the Battle of
Masurian Lakes, making Russia no
longer a threat to invade Germany. ⇓
1914 to 1915: Illusions and
Stalemate (cont.)
• The Italians, who had been allied with
Germany and Austria-Hungary, broke their
alliance in 1915 and attacked Austria-
Hungary. ⇓
• The Germans came to the aid of the
Austrians and together they defeated
the Russians in several battles and
drove them back. ⇓
• About 2.5 million Russians had been
killed, captured, or wounded.
'Working people arise!'
the Russian Revolution's idealized self-image by
painter V SEROV.
1914 to 1915: Illusions and
Stalemate (cont.)

• The Russians were almost out

of the war. Russian Revolution
about to begin.⇓
• After defeating Serbia, Germany
turned its attention back to the
Western Front.
The war
spread to the
Empire in
Entry of the United States

• The United States tried to stay

neutral in the first years of World
War I. ⇓

• This became more difficult as

the war dragged on.

Lusitania Sinks
Sinking of the Lusitania & Telegraph

Texas & New Mexico will become

Mexican Territory if the Central
Powers win the war.
Entry of the United States (cont.)
• The Germans did not think that the United
States would enter the war before the
British were starved. ⇓
• However, in April 1917, the United States
responded to unrestricted submarine
warfare by declaring war on Germany. ⇓
• Though large numbers of American troops
did not arrive until 1918, the Allies were
given a powerful psychological boost as
well as money and supplies.
The Doughboys
September 15th, 1916
The Last Year of the War
• During 1917, the Allies had been
defeated in their offensives on the
Western Front, and the Russians had
withdrawn from the war. ⇓
• The Central Powers appeared to have the advantage.

• The German military official

Erich von Ludendorff decided
to take a military gamble. ⇓
The Last Year of the War (cont.)
• In March 1918, the Germans
launched a large offensive on the
Western Front and came to within
50 miles of Paris. ⇓
• The Germans were stopped at the
Second Battle of the Marne by
French, Moroccan, and American
troops and hundreds of tanks.
WWI – Major Turning Point for U.S.