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H108_Notes.docx - H108 Notes Facts relating to the...

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H108 NotesFacts relating to the four-year stalemate on the Western Front:Despite horrific sacrifice, neither alliance could achieve decisive operational, much lessstrategic victory, until the Ludendorff Offensive failed and US troops arrived in summer, 1918.Both sides tried innovations to break the deadlock.Some of these were technological, while others were a shift in tactical doctrine with aconcurrent change in organization.The war seems to validate Knox and Murray’s statement that military revolutions are“unpredictable and to a great extent uncontrollable” and that the military institutions involvedaspired “merely to survive.”The war also sparked a number of revolutions in military affairs that came to fruition in theinterwar and World War II eras.ReadHoward, Michael.“Men Against Fire: The Doctrine of the Offensive in 1914.”Makers ofModern Strategy. Edited by Peter Paret. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986, 510 –526 (Student Purchase.) This article provides you with insights into the role of the offensive byEuropean armies before the First World War, and the psychological and moral aspects of theoffensive.Palmer, Alan.“The Marne.”Decisive Battles of the Twentieth Century: Land-Sea-Air. Editedby Noble Frankland and Christopher Dowling. New York: David McKay Co., 1976, 24 – 35. At thetime it was fought, the battle of the Marne was unique in the military history of Europe. Two millionmen were locked in combat along a 125-mile front; there had been nothing on this scale inprevious campaigns. That in itself is sufficient to make the Marne memorable. But moreremarkable still is the character of the week’s fighting and its relationship to the cataclysmic eventsof the previous month of war. For the Marne was not so much a single battle as a series ofinterrelated engagements brought about by a massive military maneuver. It was the climax of adecade of staff planning; never before had there been so great a contest between rival highcommands.House, Jonathan M.“Prologue to 1914.”Toward Combined Arms Warfare: A Survey of20th-Century Tactics, Doctrine, and Organization, Combat Studies Institute Press, August 1984. 7– 18. This article provides you with some excellent insights into the minds of the leaders thatwould execute the Great War, and how they came to believe that their concepts and tactics couldlead to a quick victory.Background InformationThe performance of modern machine guns, magazine-fed, bolt-action rifles, and quick-firingartillery has dramatically increased lethality on the modern battlefield.Tactical combat in recent conflicts like the Boer War, the Russo-Japanese War, and theBalkan Wars suggests that the tactical defense has achieved a major advantage over the offense.Some pundits, like that scoundrel Ivan Bloch of Russia, have suggested that the war of thefuture must necessarily deteriorate into unbreakable stalemate.

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World War I, Western Front, Von Moltke, America,

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