Advanced the Russian front by 60 miles along a 20 mile front • Russians able to take 200,000 prisoners of war • Russians suffered close to 1 million casualties in process • Then Romania entered the war, on August 27, 1916 with their “laughably incompetent” army, rapidly defeated under the command of Falkenyn and gave Central powers access to Romanian grain • If there was no prospect of victory why not make peace • But now it was Falkenhyn’s turn to find another job, had been wrong in West in 1914 and 1916 and wrong in the east in 1915, his position had become eroded, marked with tensions with Eastern High command over strategic disagreements • Ludendorff called Falkenhyn a gambler Tensions with the Chancellor, Hollweg • In Spring 1916 the two disagreed about unrestricted sub warfare, the Emperor sided with Hollweg
• Falkenhyn recorded he was to be appointed second Chief of the General staff and didn’t like that, wanted to be appointed first quartermaster general which he was, but position was still the same • Authority of this position was never laid down in writing • Ludendorff said strategy was not an issue, the military leadership didn’t have a choice between strategies, only a choice between collapse and fight • 1916 an effort was made to form a combined supreme war command of Austrian, Hungarian and German forces under the Kaiser • On September 4, 1916 Emperor Francis Joseph agreed • Not very effective and somewhat late in the war to do this • When Ludendorff toured the Battlefield of the Somme in 1916 he was appalled and decided not to loose any more German men and decided on a defensive stance in the west until the subs had paralyzed Britain • Ordered a withdrawal of the Somme battlefields • The new line was shorted and better fortified established on March 17, 1917 “Hindenburg line” • The Hindenburg line was more defensible but also retreated behind territory in which all dwellings were burned, cattle slaughtered and water poisoned to prevent enemy from settling in the territory – scorched earth method • Breaking the Hindenburg line was almost impossible • But British technology had improved • No British successes on land in 1917 • German sub warfare seemed to be succeeding in 1917 also • Question whether British army could win the war before the Navy lost • ??? • French army virtually collapsed, result was collective in discipline reported from 54 divisions in may, had large scale indiscipline • 23,385 verdicts of guilt for mutiny, 49 executions • Petain was able to improved conditions somewhat and refrained from major offensives, used a minimum of severity in dealing with indiscipline • Most of army not judged fit for attack until summer of 1918, a full year • It was noticed that discipline depended on consent • Russian army refused to go on in July 1917 • The Italian army disintegrated • March 1918 the British army collapsed • The German army also collapsed only in October 1918 after the leadership had asked for an armistice
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 97 pages?