Wilson unsuccessfully tried to mediate a settlement. However, he also repeatedly warned that the United States would not tolerate unrestricted submarine warfare, in violation of international law. Former president Theodore Roosevelt denounced German acts as "piracy". In January , Germany decided to resume unrestricted submarine warfare, in the hopes of starving Britain into surrender. Germany did this realising it would mean American entry.
In return, the Germans would finance Mexico's war and help it recover the territories of Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. From there it made its way to President Wilson who released the Zimmermann note to the public, and Americans saw it as casus belli. Wilson called on anti-war elements to end all wars, by winning this one and eliminating militarism from the globe.
He argued that the war was so important that the US had to have a voice in the peace conference. The United States was never formally a member of the Allies but became a self-styled "Associated Power". The United States had a small army, but, after the passage of the Selective Service Act , it drafted 2.
Nationalism as a cause of World War I
German General Staff assumptions that it would be able to defeat the British and French forces before American troops reinforced them were proven incorrect. Several regiments of US Marines were also dispatched to France. The British and French wanted American units used to reinforce their troops already on the battle lines and not waste scarce shipping on bringing over supplies. General John J. As an exception, he did allow African-American combat regiments to be used in French divisions. Ludendorff drew up plans codenamed Operation Michael for the offensive on the Western Front. The Spring Offensive sought to divide the British and French forces with a series of feints and advances.
The German leadership hoped to end the war before significant US forces arrived. The operation commenced on 21 March with an attack on British forces near Saint-Quentin. British and French trenches were penetrated using novel infiltration tactics , also named Hutier tactics after General Oskar von Hutier , by specially trained units called stormtroopers.
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Previously, attacks had been characterised by long artillery bombardments and massed assaults. In the Spring Offensive of , however, Ludendorff used artillery only briefly and infiltrated small groups of infantry at weak points. They attacked command and logistics areas and bypassed points of serious resistance. More heavily armed infantry then destroyed these isolated positions. This German success relied greatly on the element of surprise.
Many Germans thought victory was near. After heavy fighting, however, the offensive was halted. Lacking tanks or motorised artillery , the Germans were unable to consolidate their gains. The problems of re-supply were also exacerbated by increasing distances that now stretched over terrain that was shell-torn and often impassable to traffic. General Foch pressed to use the arriving American troops as individual replacements, whereas Pershing sought to field American units as an independent force.
These units were assigned to the depleted French and British Empire commands on 28 March. General Foch was appointed as supreme commander of the Allied forces. Haig, Petain, and Pershing retained tactical control of their respective armies; Foch assumed a co-ordinating rather than a directing role, and the British, French, and US commands operated largely independently. The Allies halted the drive after limited territorial gains by Germany.
The resulting counter-attack, which started the Hundred Days Offensive , marked the first successful Allied offensive of the war. By 20 July, the Germans had retreated across the Marne to their starting lines,  having achieved little, and the German Army never regained the initiative.
German casualties between March and April were ,, including many highly trained stormtroopers. Meanwhile, Germany was falling apart at home. Anti-war marches became frequent and morale in the army fell. Industrial output was half the levels. In the late spring of , three new states were formed in the South Caucasus : the First Republic of Armenia , the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic , and the Democratic Republic of Georgia , which declared their independence from the Russian Empire.
Factors That Caused World War One Essay
Two other minor entities were established, the Centrocaspian Dictatorship and South West Caucasian Republic the former was liquidated by Azerbaijan in the autumn of and the latter by a joint Armenian-British task force in early With the withdrawal of the Russian armies from the Caucasus front in the winter of —18, the three major republics braced for an imminent Ottoman advance, which commenced in the early months of Solidarity was briefly maintained when the Transcaucasian Federative Republic was created in the spring of , but this collapsed in May, when the Georgians asked for and received protection from Germany and the Azerbaijanis concluded a treaty with the Ottoman Empire that was more akin to a military alliance.
Armenia was left to fend for itself and struggled for five months against the threat of a full-fledged occupation by the Ottoman Turks before defeating them at the Battle of Sardarabad. The defenders displayed a marked collapse in morale, causing Ludendorff to refer to this day as the "Black Day of the German army".
Rather than continuing the Amiens battle past the point of initial success, as had been done so many times in the past, the Allies shifted attention elsewhere. Allied leaders had now realised that to continue an attack after resistance had hardened was a waste of lives, and it was better to turn a line than to try to roll over it. They began to undertake attacks in quick order to take advantage of successful advances on the flanks, then broke them off when each attack lost its initial impetus.
The day after the Offensive began, Ludendorff said: "We cannot win the war any more, but we must not lose it either. We have nearly reached the limit of our powers of resistance. The war must be ended. Austria and Hungary warned that they could continue the war only until December, and Ludendorff recommended immediate peace negotiations.
Prince Rupprecht warned Prince Max of Baden: "Our military situation has deteriorated so rapidly that I no longer believe we can hold out over the winter; it is even possible that a catastrophe will come earlier. British and Dominion forces launched the next phase of the campaign with the Battle of Albert on 21 August. From German accounts, "Each day was spent in bloody fighting against an ever and again on-storming enemy, and nights passed without sleep in retirements to new lines.
Faced with these advances, on 2 September the German Supreme Army Command issued orders to withdraw in the south to the Hindenburg Line. This ceded without a fight the salient seized the previous April. The German High Command realised that the war was lost and made attempts to reach a satisfactory end. On 14 September Austria sent a note to all belligerents and neutrals suggesting a meeting for peace talks on neutral soil, and on 15 September Germany made a peace offer to Belgium. Both peace offers were rejected. In September the Allies advanced to the Hindenburg Line in the north and centre.
The Germans had now retreated to positions along or behind the Hindenburg Line. That same day, Supreme Army Command informed the leaders in Berlin that armistice talks were inevitable. The following week, co-operating French and American units broke through in Champagne at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge , forcing the Germans off the commanding heights, and closing towards the Belgian frontier.
When Bulgaria signed a separate armistice on 29 September, Ludendorff, having been under great stress for months, suffered something similar to a breakdown. It was evident that Germany could no longer mount a successful defence.
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The collapse of the Balkans meant that Germany was about to lose its main supplies of oil and food. Its reserves had been used up, even as US troops kept arriving at the rate of 10, per day. News of Germany's impending military defeat spread throughout the German armed forces. The threat of mutiny was rife. Admiral Reinhard Scheer and Ludendorff decided to launch a last attempt to restore the "valour" of the German Navy.
In northern Germany, the German Revolution of — began at the end of October Units of the German Navy refused to set sail for a last, large-scale operation in a war they believed to be as good as lost, initiating the uprising. With the military faltering and with widespread loss of confidence in the Kaiser leading to his abdication and fleeing of the country, Germany moved towards surrender.
Negotiations with President Wilson began immediately, in the hope that he would offer better terms than the British and French. Wilson demanded a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary control over the German military. The Kaiser, kings and other hereditary rulers all were removed from power and Wilhelm fled to exile in the Netherlands. Imperial Germany was dead; a new Germany had been born as the Weimar Republic. The collapse of the Central Powers came swiftly. Bulgaria was the first to sign an armistice, the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September On 24 October, the Italians began a push that rapidly recovered territory lost after the Battle of Caporetto.
This culminated in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto, which marked the end of the Austro-Hungarian Army as an effective fighting force. The offensive also triggered the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the last week of October, declarations of independence were made in Budapest, Prague, and Zagreb. On 29 October, the imperial authorities asked Italy for an armistice, but the Italians continued advancing, reaching Trento, Udine, and Trieste. The terms, arranged by telegraph with the Allied Authorities in Paris, were communicated to the Austrian commander and accepted.
Austria and Hungary signed separate armistices following the overthrow of the Habsburg Monarchy. In the following days the Italian Army occupied Innsbruck and all Tyrol with over 20, soldiers. During the six hours between the signing of the armistice and its taking effect, opposing armies on the Western Front began to withdraw from their positions, but fighting continued along many areas of the front, as commanders wanted to capture territory before the war ended. The occupation of the Rhineland took place following the Armistice. The occupying armies consisted of American, Belgian, British and French forces.
In November , the Allies had ample supplies of men and materiel to invade Germany. These factors enabled Hindenburg and other senior German leaders to spread the story that their armies had not really been defeated. This resulted in the stab-in-the-back legend ,   which attributed Germany's defeat not to its inability to continue fighting even though up to a million soldiers were suffering from the flu pandemic and unfit to fight , but to the public's failure to respond to its "patriotic calling" and the supposed intentional sabotage of the war effort, particularly by Jews, Socialists, and Bolsheviks.
The Allies had much more potential wealth they could spend on the war. In the aftermath of the war, four empires disappeared: the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian. Numerous nations regained their former independence, and new ones were created. Four dynasties, together with their ancillary aristocracies, fell as a result of the war: the Romanovs , the Hohenzollerns , the Habsburgs , and the Ottomans. Belgium and Serbia were badly damaged, as was France, with 1. Germany and Russia were similarly affected.
A formal state of war between the two sides persisted for another seven months, until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles with Germany on 28 June However, the negotiation of the treaty with the Ottoman Empire was followed by strife, and a final peace treaty between the Allied Powers and the country that would shortly become the Republic of Turkey was not signed until 24 July , at Lausanne.