History Community ~ All Empires Homepage


This is the Archive on WORLD Historia, the old original forum.

 You cannot post here - you can only read.

 

Here is the link to the new forum:

  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Calendar   Register Register  Login Login


Forum LockedCould the Germans have Won the WWI?

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234>
Author
pekau View Drop Down
Tsar
Tsar
Avatar
Atlantean Prophet

Joined: 08-Oct-2006
Location: Korea, South
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 3344
Post Options Post Options   Quote pekau Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Could the Germans have Won the WWI?
    Posted: 17-Jan-2007 at 19:29
Originally posted by TheDiplomat

Originally posted by pekau

If not for Americans, Germans may have won the war.


what about the allies of Germany? None of Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria or The Ottoman Sultanate had to deal with The Americans...

The Social uprest had alreayd started...


 
Because they already were defeated by the Allied forces. However, they could not do a thing about German Empire and Austria-Hungary... since they are so close together...
 
Social unrest is not true, until the war was over. Many Germans thought they were winning the war, just as British and French people thought they were winning the war. Why? Propaganda from the government. The social unrest came after the war was over because people were angry that they were lied (Propaganda) and the fact that Germans never lost a major battle. German Empire itself was never attacked. The generals simply surrendered, knowing that American reinforcement (Supplies and morals, mostly. Their army was still small like Canadians... ok, it was bigger... but compared to British and French army... nah...) now would never allow German to win the war. That's why Hitler was so appealing to the Germans prior and during WWII.
     
   
Join us.
Back to Top
02bburco View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 12-Mar-2008
Location: Southamtpon
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 121
Post Options Post Options   Quote 02bburco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19-Jul-2008 at 17:46
The main concensous is that the americans tipped the blance and I agree with them entering the war the German couldn't win.

However if this had not been the case it may well have been in the balance both sides were exhausted regarding finaces and manpower, however with germany having lost so many allies (admitly the allies lost russia) I think  that by the time the  US joined the war the UK and other had had victories already i.e. Camberai and Germany didn't not have the man fincial or industrial power to force a victory, I think the result would have remained unchanged but the date of armistice  would have been altered  considerably backwards
Back to Top
deadkenny View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 994
Post Options Post Options   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2008 at 02:59

I agree the Americans were a significant factor, in fact even before they officially entered the war - American finances and supplies were important for the Allies.  Without direct American military involvement, it is possible that the French/ British and Germans would have 'blugeoned' each other into a  'compromise' peace in the west.  However, it then depends on how you define a 'victory'.   A 'status quo' settlement in the west combined with retention of the Brest-Litovsk terms in the east looks pretty much like a 'win' for Germany.  The Allies really needed to 'defeat' Germany in order to reverse Brest-Litovsk as well as imposing other terms on Germany.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
Back to Top
longshanks31 View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Jul-2007
Location: Great Britain
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 572
Post Options Post Options   Quote longshanks31 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2008 at 06:54
In some of the scenarios suggested i believe ww1 would have carried on for as long as there were men dumb enough to fight in it.
It is to be remembered that germany wasnt exactly defeated in the end, they more or less decided to end the madness of the situation.
From the german soldiers point of view many felt betrayed by there leaders, a young hitler being one of them.
This pointless war could have gone on for a decade i reckon, maybe more.
long live the king of bhutan
Back to Top
02bburco View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 12-Mar-2008
Location: Southamtpon
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 121
Post Options Post Options   Quote 02bburco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2008 at 13:14
longshanks31
have to disagree both as an englishman and human being I find it offensive that you discribe people involved in the war as 'dumb enough to fight in it' you opinion on WW1 is exactly that an there is an argument that the whole war was piontless but that should be aimed at the conflict as a whole not at the people brave enough to fight in it whose sacrifices must be renembered
 
on your piont of the war going on for decades I disagree with your piont that the war was eneded to stop madness and it could have gone on for decades, even if the military felt it was stabbed in the back, ifastructure needed to fight the war has collapsed due to the Britsh blockade, their was an epidemc sweaping through germany killing thousands and the US was pouring thousands of troops into the theatre every week.
 
The war ended becuase German as a nation was on the brink of cloapse and the army could no longer win against overwhelming numbers and without infestructure   
Back to Top
longshanks31 View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Jul-2007
Location: Great Britain
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 572
Post Options Post Options   Quote longshanks31 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jul-2008 at 16:37
Originally posted by 02bburco

longshanks31
have to disagree both as an englishman and human being I find it offensive that you discribe people involved in the war as 'dumb enough to fight in it' you opinion on WW1 is exactly that an there is an argument that the whole war was piontless but that should be aimed at the conflict as a whole not at the people brave enough to fight in it whose sacrifices must be renembered
 
on your piont of the war going on for decades I disagree with your piont that the war was eneded to stop madness and it could have gone on for decades, even if the military felt it was stabbed in the back, ifastructure needed to fight the war has collapsed due to the Britsh blockade, their was an epidemc sweaping through germany killing thousands and the US was pouring thousands of troops into the theatre every week.
 
The war ended becuase German as a nation was on the brink of cloapse and the army could no longer win against overwhelming numbers and without infestructure   
 
I said decade not decades, and if you read some of the scenarios mentioned (ie america not entering the war) its not to far fetched, secondly there is no conflicts without people to fight them, read every post in a thread, i always do and base my answers accordingly, just a tip.
Being english is neither here nor there, and human being is stating the obvious, people make sacrifices all the time wars, flying into buildings, knocking back dodgy gator aid etc, yes remember, but to seek glory is hard in most cases and often foolish.
A sacrifice is only as worthy as the cause, and there was no worthy cause in this war imho.
I remember the dead, but at the same time choose to learn from there mistakes.
 
Your closing line on why the war ended is fair enough, we know the reality, but this thread is based on what ifs.
cheers, Lofty
 
 
long live the king of bhutan
Back to Top
02bburco View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 12-Mar-2008
Location: Southamtpon
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 121
Post Options Post Options   Quote 02bburco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 09:38
yes this thread is based on what ifs and "as long as there are people stupid enough to fight in them" i.e. for a decade is what im disputing moreover this is wrong to suggest those that died made the miskates it was the politicains and prehapas haig, i.e. over the top tatactics and allowing the two alliagances and an arms race to develop, the people that did fight and die did so out of patriotism.

however do agree that the war does seem piontless but it had to be faught as britan has agreed it treaty to aid these countries and it would have distroyed thier deplomatic credibility if we hadnt and prehaps allowed germany to colonize countries a la WW2 
Back to Top
longshanks31 View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel
Avatar

Joined: 03-Jul-2007
Location: Great Britain
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 572
Post Options Post Options   Quote longshanks31 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 14:21
I was in the british army for a little under ten years o2bburco, i was one of the stupid men.
In the first iraq war and nothern ireland.
I know of what i speak.
Soldiers are very stupid, we follow orders, nothing more and nothing less.
A soldier that doesnt follow orders is no longer a soldier.
We dont do what we think we should, we do as we are told.
As much as we were in iraq to liberate an occupied kuwait, if i had died my death would have been pointless, i didnt go there to free kuwait, i went because i was ordered to.
At the end of the day, that war was about oil and money.
Patriotism, so many germans and japanese died for that too, was there sacrifice to be honoured, i think not.
Soldiers do not die because of patrotism, they die because of orders and acceptable losses statistics. simple.
long live the king of bhutan
Back to Top
02bburco View Drop Down
Samurai
Samurai
Avatar

Joined: 12-Mar-2008
Location: Southamtpon
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 121
Post Options Post Options   Quote 02bburco Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 15:47
did not know, makes a change to have people being able to back thier opinions up.

however the main difference is that soliders in the UK join volentarily I am not sure what the case is now but it was well documented that in WW1 the main reason for people joing up was patriotism so surely that should be appauded.  
Back to Top
Al Jassas View Drop Down
Arch Duke
Arch Duke
Avatar

Joined: 07-Aug-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 1809
Post Options Post Options   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jul-2008 at 16:36
Of course they would have won, poor leadership and intelligence failures prevented them from taking several chances that would have made them win.
 
AL-Jassas
Back to Top
Peteratwar View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 17-Apr-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 579
Post Options Post Options   Quote Peteratwar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jul-2008 at 16:10
The best chance they had was a quick knock-out blow vs France in 1914. After that no-way

Edited by Peteratwar - 30-Jul-2008 at 16:10
Back to Top
Cryptic View Drop Down
General
General


Joined: 05-Jul-2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 901
Post Options Post Options   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Jul-2008 at 17:24
Originally posted by Al Jassas

Of course they would have won, poor leadership and intelligence failures prevented them from taking several chances that would have made them win.
 AL-Jassas
 
I disagree.  German leadership fought WWI as best as they could.  There were no huge errors. Even without US intervention, the Germans were doomed to lose because:
-They did not have the technology to move beyond attrition warfare. This meant that there would be no manuver warfare and no strategic German victories against the Western allies.
-They were the only industrial power in the Centeral Powers and had to fight two big industrial powers (France, Britain). Unlike Germany, her enemies could get reinforcements, food, industrial goods etc. from their respective empires.
-The Germans were slowly starving.
 
Mathematically, Germany was going to beat after the failure to knock out France in 1914.  It was only a matter of time.


Edited by Cryptic - 30-Jul-2008 at 17:34
Back to Top
deadkenny View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 994
Post Options Post Options   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Aug-2008 at 16:09
Originally posted by Cryptic

I disagree.  German leadership fought WWI as best as they could.  There were no huge errors. Even without US intervention, the Germans were doomed to lose because:
-They did not have the technology to move beyond attrition warfare. This meant that there would be no manuver warfare and no strategic German victories against the Western allies.
-They were the only industrial power in the Centeral Powers and had to fight two big industrial powers (France, Britain). Unlike Germany, her enemies could get reinforcements, food, industrial goods etc. from their respective empires.
-The Germans were slowly starving.
 
Mathematically, Germany was going to beat after the failure to knock out France in 1914.  It was only a matter of time.
 
I disagree.  The "German leadership fought WWI as best they could"?  I suppose that's true given one reading - i.e. that was the best that they could do.  However, that doesn't say that they were any good, or that it couldn't have been fought better, just that the particular leaders in charge were incapable of doing any better.
 
"There were no huge errors."   Again I disagree.  There were a number of serious errors committed by the Germans.  First, their pre-war plans allowed only for a high risk invasion of France via Belgium (the Schlieffen Plan).  That plan itself had flaws, but the first consideration is that perhaps it was an unnecessary risk given that war had broken out in the east first.  What about staying on defense in the west, mantaining Belgian neutrality and going east first?  The Kaiser suggested just such an option and the General Staff insisted it would be a disaster to change plans 'at the last minute'.  However, one should always plan for various contingencies and have flexible responses prepared.  The Germans did not.
 
With their disasterous Plan XVII the French handed the Germans a golden opportunity to succeed with the Schlieffen Plan, even with its flaws.  However, von Moltke squandered the opportunity by reinforcing the left wing of the western front and the east at the expense of the critical right wing.  He failed to appreciate that in order to have a chance at success the right wing needed to be as strong as possible with all available reinforcements allocated to it.  Furthermore, the left wing was to have been deliberately weak, in order to allow the French to advance - i.e. stick their head into the trap.  By reinforcing the left wing instead, von Moltke not only weakened the right but actually pushed the French out of the trap with the left instead of allowing them to advance further into the trap (as they were intending to do as per their Plan XVII).  Once the French were first stopped then pushed back, they quickly accepted the defeat of their Plan XVII and shifted forces so as to stop the German right, ending in the victory at First Marne.
 
The Germans had inflicted a major defeat on the Russians in 1915.  But rather than 'following up' that victory, they shifted back to the west in 1916 for their futile Verdun Offensive.  When you're outnumbered by your opponents (as the Germans clearly were) the last thing you want is a battle of attrition. 
 
In 1917 the Germans resumed unrestricted u-boat warfare and thereby brought the US actively into the war.  Their thinking was that the US was of little account militarily (huge mistake) and that their u-boats would prevent any significant US contribution to Europe directly anyway (another huge miscalculation).  Another huge blunder by the Germans.
 
In 1918, the Germans were 'victorious' in the east.  Without US involvement there was little prospect of France and Britain alone inflicting a 'crushing defeat' on Germany in the west.  However, with US forces building up, the Germans could not afford to wait, time was now on the side of the Allies (because of earlier German actions, see above).  Although Ludendorff achieved some initial success against the British, he then nonsensically switched his attacks to the French sector.  This demonstrated that he had no overall strategic plan for his 1918 offensive, just a bunch of 'uncoordinated' local attacks designed to inflict 'tactical' defeats on the local fronts he targetted.  But these represented Germany's last reserves, once the German attacks were contained, the Allies counterattacked and achieved significant successes against the exhausted and depleted German forces.  At this point Ludendorff suffered a 'panic attack' and insisted that the war must be ended immediately at any cost.  As the Allied attacks were eventually stopped, he backed away from this, but it was too late, the government had changed and the momentum was towards an immediate end to the war. 
 
Although Germany was in a difficult position after their defeat at the Marne, it was not clear that the Entente powers could defeat Germany without American involvement.  Without the US in the war actively, the situation after the defeat of Russia would have looked very differently.  Access to the resources of the Ukraine would have alieviated the effect of the blockade to some extent.   There would not have been the same 'time pressure' on Germany without massive American reinforcements arriving in France.  It is doubtful in that scenario that the French and British would have been strong enough to 'defeat' Germany in the west.  A negotiated settlement may have resulted, in which Germany would have enjoyed much more favourable terms than those in Versailles. 
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
Back to Top
Illirac View Drop Down
Colonel
Colonel


Joined: 23-Jun-2007
Location: Ma vlast
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 526
Post Options Post Options   Quote Illirac Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Aug-2008 at 17:24
No they could not, and we can all see why: they haven't won. So no, they could have not.

With Italy entering their side, I think France would be overrun.
But then, probably the same scenario that happened in World War 2 would occur: the Germans would have never succeeded in defeating the British empire and probably they would have not surrender. With a blockade from everywhere they would be starved to death.
Now, all depends as well, if Italy entered the war by the side of the Germans.
For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it.
Back to Top
AdamantFire View Drop Down
Janissary
Janissary
Avatar

Joined: 17-Jul-2008
Location: USA
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 0
Post Options Post Options   Quote AdamantFire Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01-Aug-2008 at 18:01
No they could not, and we can all see why: they haven't won. So no, they could have not.


Do I hear the hints of determinism in that statement?  Because nothing is definite until it's over.

I've been watching this conversation for a long time without commenting, and I think deadkenny's thorough analysis really covers where the Germans could have succeeded, or at least inflicted more damage against the Entente.  The Germans really were not underdogs in this fight, but overconfidence and bravado can go a long way to ruin a country.  The root of the bad decisions comes down to the confidence of Germany and her allies. 

It reminds me of Thomas Buell's analysis of Robert E. Lee's leadership during the Civil War in his book The Warrior Generals (which is a great work, if you're interested in that kind of thing).  Lee would make perfect battle plans, but only for perfect days.  If it rained or some other weather phenomenon, he would say that God had decided the outcome of the battle - that there was nothing wrong with his plans.  What makes it even stranger is that these events were not sudden happenings.  There were some cases where it had rained two and three days before hand, and Lee would not change his plans, citing providence and fate.

The point of me writing out that unncessary account is that the German generals fell victim to the same kind of pride.  When things did not go correctly, it wasn't their plans and their tactics that failed.  It was someone else's fault, and they believed that once they could find soldiers who could execute their orders to the letter, then they would be guaranteed success.  The only problem with this approach is that it completely denies reality.

The aggressors of World War I were very much in this prideful mindset, and that certainly played a factor in their defeat.


Edited by AdamantFire - 01-Aug-2008 at 18:02
Sic hoc adfixum in obice legere potes, et liberaliter educatus et nimis propinquus ades.

Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.
Back to Top
Cryptic View Drop Down
General
General


Joined: 05-Jul-2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 901
Post Options Post Options   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2008 at 14:03
double post  


Edited by Cryptic - 04-Aug-2008 at 14:15
Back to Top
Cryptic View Drop Down
General
General


Joined: 05-Jul-2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 901
Post Options Post Options   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2008 at 14:14
Originally posted by deadkenny

"There were no huge errors."   Again I disagree.  There were a number of serious errors committed by the Germans.  . 
I see your point regarding the foolishness of continuing submarine warfare. That was definelty a huge error.
 
 
Originally posted by deadkenny

Although Ludendorff achieved some initial success against the British, he then nonsensically switched his attacks to the French sector.
A large part of the apparent lack of focus was probably due to serious internal problems with many German units after four years of war. Entire Divisions were advancing, but were also in a state of near mutiny (refusing to attack actively defended positions, leaving the march en mass to loot etc.). The shifting of attacks to the French was an effort to find more soft targets for increasingly unreliable forces.  
Originally posted by deadkenny

The Germans had inflicted a major defeat on the Russians in 1915.  But rather than 'following up' that victory, they shifted back to the west in 1916 for their futile Verdun Offensive.  When you're outnumbered by your opponents (as the Germans clearly were) the last thing you want is a battle of attrition. 
Verdun was not designed to be a batte of attrition, but rather a strategic break through against one of Germany's industrialized opponents. As the Germans lacked the technology to produce breakthrough weapons, Verdun quickly deteriorated into attrition warfare.
Originally posted by deadkenny

Access to the resources of the Ukraine would have alieviated the effect of the blockade to some extent. 
I think the extent would have been limited. Four years of warfare had depeleted Ukrainian recesources and damaged the already primitive storage / transportation infrastructure. Then factor in resistance / sabotage to forced requisitions by German forces.
Originally posted by deadkenny

[QUOTE=Cryptic]
It is doubtful in that scenario that the French and British would have been strong enough to 'defeat' Germany in the west.  A negotiated settlement may have resulted, in which Germany would have enjoyed much more favourable terms than those in Versailles. 
I agree, the allies were almsot as exhausted as Germany. Though the allies could produce the needed numbers of manuver warfare weapons, I dont think common soldiers were willing to suffer huge casualties simply because politicians wanted to "stick it to the Germans".  Germany would have been beaten, but also given better terms.


Edited by Cryptic - 05-Aug-2008 at 17:36
Back to Top
deadkenny View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 994
Post Options Post Options   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Aug-2008 at 17:57
Originally posted by Cryptic

 
Originally posted by deadkenny

Although Ludendorff achieved some initial success against the British, he then nonsensically switched his attacks to the French sector.
 
A large part of the apparent lack of focus was probably due to serious internal problems with many German units after four years of war. Entire Divisions were advancing, but were also in a state of near mutiny (refusing to attack actively defended positions, leaving the march en mass to loot etc.). The shifting of attacks to the French was an effort to find more soft targets for increasingly unreliable forces.  
 
Which was pretty much what I was saying - he was looking for promising 'local' targets without any overall strategic objective.  His switch away from the British in fact represented him giving up on any strategic objective entirely.  A series of local tactical victories was not going to win Germany the war.  If his forces were not up to the task, then he needed to go over to the defense on the western front and do something else with some 'strategic' potential - perhaps try to knock Italy out of the war for example.
 
Originally posted by Cryptic

 
Originally posted by deadkenny

The Germans had inflicted a major defeat on the Russians in 1915.  But rather than 'following up' that victory, they shifted back to the west in 1916 for their futile Verdun Offensive.  When you're outnumbered by your opponents (as the Germans clearly were) the last thing you want is a battle of attrition. 
 
 
Verdun was not designed to be a batte of attrition, but rather a strategic break through against one of Germany's industrialized opponents. As the Germans lacked the technology to produce breakthrough weapons, Verdun quickly deteriorated into attrition warfare.
 
I disagree regarding the conception for the Battle of Verdun.  Von Falkenhayn conceived the battle so as to threatened to breakthrough in a position from which the French would not likely withdraw.  Thus he wanted to force the French to battle in order to inflict casualties on them, i.e. in order to 'bleed' them.  By 1916 he didn't really expect to breakthrough, except perhaps after the French had been so weakened as to no longer have the numbers to hold the line.  The problem with the entire concept was that the Germans were not fighting the French alone, and the British were building up their forces and taking over more of the line in the western front.  Furthermore the Russians were still effective in the east, especially against the Austrians.  The entire strategic conception as well as the execution of Verdun was flawed from the start and von Falkenhayn was removed as a result of this failure.
 
 
Originally posted by Cryptic

Originally posted by deadkenny

It is doubtful in that scenario that the French and British would have been strong enough to 'defeat' Germany in the west.  A negotiated settlement may have resulted, in which Germany would have enjoyed much more favourable terms than those in Versailles. 
 
I agree, the allies were almsot as exhausted as Germany. Though the allies could produce the needed numbers of manuver warfare weapons, I dont think common soldiers were willing to suffer huge casualties simply because politicians wanted to "stick it to the Germans".  Germany would have been beaten, but also given better terms.
 
Just about anything would have been better.  Germany may well have given up the occupied territory in the west, perhaps even Alsace-Lorraine, but not what they had gained in the east.  As it was they were forced to 'lay down their arms' to get the Armistice, which was an armistice in name only - in fact Germany had surrendered.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
Back to Top
Cryptic View Drop Down
General
General


Joined: 05-Jul-2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 901
Post Options Post Options   Quote Cryptic Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2008 at 16:27
Originally posted by deadkenny

 
Which was pretty much what I was saying - he was looking for promising 'local' targets without any overall strategic objective.  His switch away from the British in fact represented him giving up on any strategic objective entirely.  
 
Yes, I understand. My main point is  that the search for soft targets was not a true error in strategy, but was forced on Ludendoff due to physically and mentally exhausted troops. Perhaps he should have called off the offensive completely when it became apparent that increasing numbers of units were either unable to or unwilling to attack the hard targets needed for a strategic victory. 
 
Originally posted by deadkenny

 Von Falkenhayn conceived the battle so as to threatened to breakthrough in a position from which the French would not likely withdraw.  Thus he wanted to force the French to battle in order to inflict casualties on them, i.e. in order to 'bleed' them.  .
 I think there is debate as to the extent of the striclty "bleed them white" "strategy".  In either case, the war was going to be won or lost in the west so I dont think the shift in focus towards the west was an error.  In addition, due to industrial mathematics, the knock out blow in the west had to come quickly.  Forcing Russia out fo the war early would have been beneficial, it would not have won the war. I dont think that it was possible to knock Russia out in 1915 because the Russian social situation had not deteriorated towards an internal collpase. 
  
 


Edited by Cryptic - 05-Aug-2008 at 17:25
Back to Top
deadkenny View Drop Down
General
General
Avatar

Joined: 21-Aug-2007
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 994
Post Options Post Options   Quote deadkenny Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Aug-2008 at 18:39
Originally posted by Cryptic

 
Yes, I understand. My main point is  that the search for soft targets was not a true error in strategy, but was forced on Ludendoff due to physically and mentally exhausted troops. Perhaps he should have called off the offensive completely when it became apparent that increasing numbers of units were either unable to or unwilling to attack the hard targets needed for a strategic victory. 
 
We more or less agree.  THAT is exactly what I was faulting Ludendorff for.  Reminds me of the old 'joke' about the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight - not because that's where he lost them but because that was where the light was.  Attacking where (he thought) the Allies were weaker was a poor strategy when such attacks could not win the war for Germany but would cost them the war by the depletion of Germany's last reserves.
 
Originally posted by Cryptic

 
Originally posted by deadkenny

 Von Falkenhayn conceived the battle so as to threatened to breakthrough in a position from which the French would not likely withdraw.  Thus he wanted to force the French to battle in order to inflict casualties on them, i.e. in order to 'bleed' them.  .
 
I think there is debate as to the extent of the striclty "bleed them white" "strategy".  In either case, the war was going to be won or lost in the west so I dont think the shift in focus towards the west was an error.  In addition, due to industrial mathematics, the knock out blow in the west had to come quickly.  Forcing Russia out fo the war early would have been beneficial, it would not have won the war. I dont think that it was possible to knock Russia out in 1915 because the Russian social situation had not deteriorated towards an internal collpase. 
 
Perhaps, but capturing western Ukraine a year earlier might have been helpful.  Would the Russian regime have survived a German advance into St. Petes / Petrograd, the then capital?  As an historical alternative I propose Germany following up in 1916 on the eastern front and forgoing the Verdun Offensive.  Further, curtail their counterattacks in the west, but give up ground - the occupied territory - at a much higher cost to the Allies.  Be sure not to gratuitously antagonize the US.  Finally, help the Austrians crush Italy.  Where does that put the Germans in 1918?
 


Edited by deadkenny - 05-Aug-2008 at 18:42
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.063 seconds.