How did WWI end up in the Trenches?


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This PowerPoint covers: The Events that led to the War being a stalemated war of attrition, new weapons and trench conditions.
GCSE Modern World History B, Causes and Events of the First World War

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How did WWI end up in the Trenches?

  1. 1. The Events of WWI Revision Session •Why did World War I become a stalemated war of attrition? •What were Trench Conditions like? •What effect did new weaponry have on the war?
  2. 2.  The Western Front referred to the line of fighting stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss Frontier with France.  This dug in line of fortified trenches was referred to as the Western Front.  The Alliance was on one side and the Entente on the other.  It moved little during the war, with either side unable to make much progress.
  3. 3.  The previous slide would be a perfect four mark answer to this question.  Remember what a four mark question requires. Four points- no more, no less, no detail.
  4. 4. War breaks out. Stalemated war of attrition Germany declare war on France (Schlieffen Plan) Germany invade Belgium Belgian’s delay Germans at Liege BEF slow Germans at Mons. Germans change plan, go south rather than to encircle Paris French push Germans back to River Aisne (Marne) Schlieffen Plan failed. British and Germans try to cut each other off from supplies. Race to the Sea: both sides trying to beat each other to English Channel French Plan 17 failed. Back to original positions. Troops dig into trenches.
  5. 5. The German’s intended to take over France very quickly, by using the Schlieffen Plan. This meant invading France through Belgium and Luxembourg to encircle Paris. What actually happened was... The Belgians could not stop the Germans, but did slow them down.This gave the French and the British troops time to mobilise and get to the German army... The BEF (British Expeditionary Force) were hugely outnumbered but did slow the German advance considerably, helping prevent the Germans break through enemy lines. The French went in for a direct attack at first which was a disaster. They very quickly changed policy and went for a more defensive strategy- defending Paris.
  6. 6. Russian troops mobilised much quicker than expected... This meant that 100,000 troops had to be pulled out of army advancing onto Paris. Finally, the German advance was so quick that supplies of food and ammunition could not follow quickly enough. This was a big problem. This led to the Battle of the Marne, as Germany had to attack the East of Paris instead of the West- which led to the development of trenches.
  7. 7. General von Kluck decided to march German troops to the east of Paris instead of entering from the west French troops quickly moved into defensive positions
  8. 8. French pushed the Germans back to the River Aisne, but could not get them out of France completely.
  9. 9.  Neither side could make any progress, so they dug trenches in order to protect themselves from snipers and shell fire. A key reason for the trenches was the new type of weaponry that had been developed, making that kind of protection necessary.  By mid-November, during the Battle of Ypres, stalemate had set in. Millions of troops dug a line of trenches that stretched from the sea in the west to the Alps in the east.
  10. 10.  Both sides failed to break through the other’s defensive line.  The trenches were a way of defending against the new weaponry. Offensive weapons and tactics did not work against the barbed wire, dug in approach.  New weapons also made it difficult. Any enemy approach would be quickly cut down by the newly developed machine guns. Weapons also had to be created to get soldiers to come out into the open- such as poison gas.
  11. 11. Good for defence, dug in, can’t be seen, or attacked easily as soldiers can be seen coming and attacked from safety Battle does not move from defensive positions, so little ground is gained and battle is long. War becomes stalemated! Barbed wire makes offensive action more difficult as everything gets trapped in it. Except tanks... which weren’t always effectively utilised. Newly developed machine guns would immediately cut through opposing armies that would ‘go over the top’.
  12. 12. a) The failure of the Schlieffen Plan b) The Battle of the Marne c) New Weaponry and Technology  Suggested answer...  The failure of the Schlieffen Plan meant that the Germans failed to take France and Russia and could no longer move. They had to defend the ground they had got.  The Battle of the Marne was the French failing to push the Germans completely out of France. As a result, they had to defend the position that they had got into.  New Weaponry and Technology was (in part) the reasons both sides failed to break through each others defences and certainly, why war could not proceed further once they had moved into the trenches. You would also need to compare these reasons to reach your conclusion as to which is the most important reason!
  13. 13.  What do they show us?  Do they show enough?  Do they fully explain the conditions in the trenches?  Are they reliable? Does it matter?
  14. 14.  Machine Guns: Could fire up to 600 rounds a minute. Cut down hundreds of troops before they could advance more than a few years. Prolonged the war, by making it difficult to attack the trenches across No Man’s Land.  Gas: Horrible. Mustard (flesh destroying), chlorine (destroyed lungs) and much feared, but unpredictable and both sides developed gas masks to deal with it. Also prolonged the war, by not giving either side an advantage.  Tanks: could crush barbed wire, successful in battle, but initially unreliable and broke down, or moved to quickly so troops couldn’t keep up. Not enough to break the deadlock on the Somme.  Aircraft: Could report on enemy troops and generally fought each other- but little impact on outcome of the war