WORLD WAR I THE WAR TO END ALL WARS At the beginning of the War, there were 2 alliances in place. The first was called the Triple Alliance, but it grew and became known as the Central
Powers: Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire. The second alliance was called the Triple Entente, and became known as the Allied Powers or Allies. They included: England, France,
Russia. Later they would expand to include Serbia, Italy, Portugal, the United States, and colonies of all of these countries. All European countries had military plans in case of the outbreak of war.
Germanys plan was known as the Schlieffen Plan. It called for a holding action of the Russians in the East and a 5 pronged encirclement of Paris and the French army in the West.
To do this they had to travel through neutral Belgium, which contributed to the British entering the war. The war in the East against the Russians went surprisingly well. The Germans defeated the Russians in decisive battles.
The Western Front was different. In 1914 at the first Battle of the Marne, the French army stopped the German advance just outside of Paris. They used taxicabs from Paris to transport fresh troops to the front line. The soldiers from both sides dug in, and basically did not move from those spots.
The soldiers on both sides dug elaborate trenches to protect themselves. The line of trenches stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland. Soldiers lived and fought in the trenches.
The longer that the war dragged on, the more elaborate the trench systems became on both sides. They included lines of parallel trenches connected by communications trenches that ran diagonal or perpendicular.
In between the two lines was an area known as No Mans Land. It was a bad place to be as it was in the middle of the two trench systems and provided no cover. Soldiers could fire weapons from the trenches on either side and easily hit someone traveling across No Mans Land.
No Mans Land was covered with shell holes and barbed wire. This invention was a great hindrance to attacking troops. As a result, both sides sent out wiring parties at night to extend the wire. Many never returned.
Trenches were obviously used for defense, and contained machine guns and snipers in addition to regular soldiers.
But the trenches were also the places where the attack started. The call for over the top, boys! meant risking death to race across No Mans Land to try to take the enemy trench,.
With the stalemate in the trenches came the invention of new weapons. One was mustard gas which not only burned the skin, but caused breathing problems. Troops had to be fitted with gas masks in case of attack. Both sides used gas against each other.
Other weapons such as the airplane saw their first action in the war as well. They were originally used only to spot troop positions. Eventually they were fitted with machine guns and bombs. Aerial dog-fighting was developed during World War I.
Other weapons were developed to try to end the trench warfare. One such weapon was the tank. Early tanks could cross over No Mans Land and enemy trenches, but were expensive and slow.
Also developed to break the stalemate of trench warfare was the flamethrower. On the seas, not only were the new dreadnaughts or battleships being used
against each other, but submarines (shooting torpedoes) were used to destroy enemy ships. To try to convince other nations to join their cause, both the Central Powers
and the Allies distributed Propaganda. The Allied propaganda was a little more sophisticated most of the time. German Propaganda mainly appealed to their sense of patriotism as seen
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