Reasons for the Allied victory and the German collapse

Reasons For Allied Victory
  • German Spring Offensive failed in 1917.
  • Entry of the US into the war (morale+resources boosted)
  • Allied powers coordination
  • Germany lost momentum
  • Greater implementation of weapons and tactics by the Allies - they won the war of attrition
  • The British homefront was better at committing itself to total war and was able to allocate its resources most efficiently
  • British Blockade (Liddell Hart)
  • Allied Offensive (Liddell Hart)
  • “Loss of hope and loss of lives is what decides the issue of war..” Hart
  • Accurate shelling due to aerial reconnaissance

Why did the Germans lose?
German tactics did not change much after the Schlieffen Plan’s failure
The defensive position had the upper hand, Germany was attacking
British naval superiority meant that a blockade could be maintained, war weariness/ homefront-starvation-1 thrid of food imported
lack of strong allies and a war on 2 fronts-effected Sclieffen plan
Lack of morale on home front and battlefield, desertion on battle field and riots and strikes in Germany, crippling Germnays industry
“the combination of military defeat and dire food shortages produced a great war weariness” (Norman Lowe)

Reasons for Allied Victory
Entry of US- morale + resources

The Differing goals of Clemenceau, Lloyd George and Wilson in creating the T.O.V

Clemenceau - ‘Le Tiger’

Clemenceau was a fierce, uncompromising patriot, who was seeking revenge for both WWI and the Prussian invasion in 1996. He saw Wilson as overly idealistic and insisted on German disarmament.
His aims were to
  1. Ensure that the wartime alliance would be continued into a peacetime alliance that would defend the position of France, and to ensure Germany was disarmed. They wanted revenge, compensation for their suffrage and guarantees that a war would not occur again. Germany should be crippled and stripped of her wealth and armed forces.
  2. Create a barrier or new state between France and Germany, with French troops stationed at Rhineland to guard against future German attack
  3. Wanted France to regain the province of Alsace-Lorraine, which had been previously captured during the Franco-Prussian War.
  4. Wanted Germany to pay all the costs of the war, this would cripple the German economy and make France the most powerful country in Europe

David Lloyd George

Lloyd George's moderate stance towards Germany contrasted with Clemenceau's tough line, but Lloyd George also disagreed with Wilson on two points:

  • did not want Wilson to abolish restrictions on trade to the extent that British supremacy at sead was challenged
  • felt that Britain and France should fain control of Germany's colonies

Lloyd George was also influenced due to the upcoming election of 1979. The orginal campaign motto was changed from 'Make Britain a land fit for heroes' to 'Squeeze Germany to the pipsqueak'. The pressure from the British populace changed his stance to being less merciful towards the Germans.
  1. balanced Wilson’s 14 pts against the harsh demand of Clemenceau.
  2. He was torn between the promise of German punishment made in the election campaign , the draconian measures proposed by Clemenceau, the idealism of Wilson and the need to restore Britain’s economic and diplomatic position.
  3. did not think Germany should be humiliated or made bankrupt, for without her the European economy would struggle. It was in her interests to rebuild a healthy continental Germany after she had destroyed her navy and OS empire.
  4. feared Communism

Woodrow Wilson

1.he went back to the USA for 7 months which made it difficult.
2.negotiations between the 3 was often acrimonious and the final agreement severely compromised Wilson’s aims.
3.League of Nations would promote world peace.
4.had promised to keep the US out of war but found it impossible to keep out.
5.he hoped war participation would enable him to broker a peace treaty that would end war forever.
6.b/c of health problems Wilson’s influence diminished towards the end of the peace conference
7.Woodrow revealed in the 14 pts what he wanted Europe to be- a place where nationalities would rule themselves as open, democratic societies
8.The President thought Germany had been wicked and justice demanded that Germany be punished.

Woodrow Wilson's 14 Point Plan:

1. No more secret agreements ("Open covenants openly arrived at").because they make the russians sad

2. Free navigation of all seas.

3. An end to all economic barriers between countries.

4. Countries to reduce weapon numbers.

5. All decisions regarding the colonies should be impartial

6. The German Army is to be removed from Russia. Russia should be left to develop her own political set-up.

7. Belgium should be independent like before the war.

8. France should be fully liberated and allowed to recover Alsace-Lorraine

9. All Italians are to be allowed to live in Italy. Italy's borders are to "along clearly recognisable lines of nationality."

10. Self-determination should be allowed for all those living in Austria-Hungary.

11. Self-determination and guarantees of independence should be allowed for the Balkan states.

12. The Turkish people should be governed by the Turkish government. Non-Turks in the old Turkish Empire should govern themselves.

13. An independent Poland should be created which should have access to the sea.

14. A League of Nations should be set up to guarantee the political and territorial independence of all states.

The Final terms of the Versailles

  1. Eupen and malmedy were allocated to Belgium
  2. France had Alsace Lorraine returned and were given control of the Saar with its coalfields for a period of 15 years
  3. Poland was recreated and given, Posen, most of West Prussia and the 'Polish Corridor' at sea
  4. Danzig was made a free city by the LON
  5. East Prussia was separated from Germany
  6. allied forces were to occupy the left bank of the Rhine for a period of 15 years and the Rhineland was to be demilitarised
  7. Great Britain aquired East Affrica and Pallestine
  8. NZ was given the German samoan islands, australia was given for New Guinee, Japan gained the pacific islands and Kiao - chau and Shantung in China.
  9. GErman forbiden to unite with Austria
  10. All German mechant ships, railways and rolling stock given to Allies
  11. Compulsory millitary training abolished'German army limited to 100000 men
  12. German navy limited to 15000 personel
  13. Navy reduced to 6 battle ships, 6 light cruisers, 12 destroyers and 12 torpedo boats.
  14. no submarines or aircraft were alowed (abolished)
  15. Heligoland naval bases and fortifications to be dismantled
  16. GErmany to accept all responsibility for WW1 and pay reparations to all the countries it had effected.

Overall Summary of Differing Goals
Lloyd George
Split the German colonies
Split the German colonies
Establish self determination
German Reparations
Uncompromising and wanted revenge on the German. He had been invaded twice by the Germans. Wanted Rhineland as security. Wanted them to pay 6.6 billion pounds.
He saw the need to compromise and wanted Germany to only be punished moderately so they wouldn’t succumb to Bolshevism
Germany should only pay to capacity, in order to prevent falling to Bolshevism
International Relations
French waned to weaken the German distribution
Wanted to preserve international trade to ensure British naval power remained supreme
End the old world diplomacy (complex alliance systems). Replace former monarchies with democratic institutions
Long-term Overall plan for Germany
French wanted to become the most powerful country in Europe by utterly crippling Germany and ensuring they would never be threatened by Germany again
Was a moderate but had pressure from British home-front for revenge
Wanted Germany to only be punished moderately so they wouldn’t succumb to Bolshevism
Rhineland as a buffer zone and Alsace Lorraine to return to France. Occupy Saar valley for 15 years
A mix between the two, mainly interested in protecting Britain’s vital trade routes. He disagreed with Wilson feeling that Britain and France should gain control German colonies
In favour of self-determination- wanted former territories of Germany to rule themselves, e.g Poland, Czechlovakia
Wide spread anger from the people of France who had suffered the most. Wanted revenge for WW1 and 1971 Franco-Prussian war.
Changed his status to get re-elected when surveys indicated that public wanted to make Germany pay.
Lost the support of his congress and American people while fighting for his 14 point plan
Armed Forces of Germany
Wanted conscription banned, German forces limited to 100,000 men, no submarines. tanks or planes
Conscription banned German forces limited to 2507men and 6 submarines
German armed forces to pre war levels in order to preserve a balance of power