Sunday, 28 January 2018

REASONS FOR GERMAN DEFEAT IN WORLD WAR 1

World War 1 was the first major campaign of 20th Century and it also proved to be the prelude of the most destructive war, the World War 2. The war was fought between the coalitions of Central Powers and Allied Powers while Germany was leading the Central Powers and it was one of the most powerful Empires of that time. 

German Empire was eager to start that war despite efforts by other major powers to find a peaceful solution of the crisis after assassination of Austro-Hungarian Empire’s heir Franz Ferdinand. The reason for impatience of Germany was its massive land and naval power and Germany wanted to increase its empire by using its forces. 

But after initial gains, Germany and Central Powers started to lose the war and the initiative was completely lost till 1917. The main reasons for German defeat in WW1 are given below.

Weaknesses of Central Powers

Apart from Germany, the other main members of Central Powers were quite weak. At that time, Ottoman Empire was known as the ill man of Europe. Ottomans defended their main Anatolian area during Gallipoli Campaign but they lost all their areas in North Africa and Middle East to the Allies. Ottomans effort to capture Caucasus from Russia also failed miserably. In the end, Turkey was only able to protect its main area of Anatolia after Turkish War of Independence.

WW1 started from Austro-Hungarian invasion of Serbia. It was thought Serbia will be captured within days. But Austro-Hungary could only captured Serbia after more than a year and it was also when Bulgaria entered the war in favor of Central Powers. Austro-Hungarian Empire also proved a week ally of Germany.

War on two Fronts

Due to involvement of Russian Empire, Germany had to fight the war on western and eastern side. Though, Russian Empire was weak at that time but Germany had to put thousands of its troops against Russia because of unsuccessful campaigns of ottomans and Austro-Hungary against Russia. 

Russia opted to withdraw from war in 1917 after Russian Revolution but the entry of USA in favor of Allied powers ended any benefit of Russian withdrawal for Germany.

Unsuccessful U-Boat Campaign

three ships on water
Failure of u-boat campaign was important reason for German defeat

Before the start of WW1, Germany tried to make a strong naval force that could beat the British Empire in case of any conflict. But Britain had the strongest navy which it used for German blockade. In retaliation, Germany used its U-boats (submarines) to attack the ships and boats of Britain and Allied powers. U-boats were used against both military and merchant ships. 

After initial successes, Britain managed to overpower these U-boats through better security measures. In later stages of the war, German U-boats indiscriminately sunk ships of nutral countries also that was a major cause of US entry in WW1 in favor of Allied Powers.

Most Countries sided with Allies

Central Powers could not convince most of the world countries to join their alliance and most of the countries from Europe, Asia and Americas joined Allied Powers. An important reason for many countries joining allies was to take spoils of war as there were more chances that allies would win the war. 

A prominent example was Italy that signed a pact with Germany and Austro-Hungarian Empire but joined the war in favor of Allies. Due to large number of opponents, the situation remained difficult for the Central Powers during the whole course of the war.

Entering of US in the war

United States remained neutral during main course of the war but it joined the Allied powers in 1917 after losing few of its ships due to indiscriminate targeting of ships by German U-Boats. US joining the war also very crucial because Russian Empire had withdrawn from the war due to its internal conflict and the Allied powers were in severe need of a powerful country in order to prevent the Central powers to take any advantage of Russian withdrawal from the war.

Internal Conflicts

Due to blockade of Germany by Allied forces, the situation was becoming difficult in Germany for common people that ended with the end of monarchy and formation of Weimer Republic. The new republic was not interested in continuation of war.

Apart from that, the Central Powers could not remain united at the ending moments of war. Austro-Hungary started negotiations with the Allied powers without consultation from Germany. These internal conflicts also made the situation worse for Germany and Central Powers and they had to accept harsh conditions from Allies.

Modern Weapons of Allied Powers

Tanks were invented during WW1 by Allied forces while the allied powers had more sophisticated jet fighters than Germany. These modern weapons also played important role to end the war in favor of Allied Powers.

Trench Warfare


Germany soon reached the frontiers of France after capturing Luxemburg and Belgium. In order to protect France from German invasion, the Allies started Trench Warfare. Despite efforts from Germany (even using chemical weapons), it could not cross the trenches to enter France and the trench warfare ended just before the end of WW1. 

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