The Entry of the USA and the Failure of the Ludendorff Offensive.
The Entry of the USA.
Both of these factors were very important in determining the outcome of the war. The American factor was important because when America joined the war, it was a critical period for the allies (April 1917). At the time they joined, Britain only had six weeks supply of corn, the French armies were exhausted after Verdun and French morale was so low that ten divisions had mutinied so the American involvement boosted the allies morale. At the time the Russian army was disintegrating after the February revolution so the German army for the first time, could transfer all their troops on the Eastern front to the Western front, so for the first time in the war having numerical superiority on the Western front, also because of the treaty of Brest-Litovich the Germans had much more guns and equipment that the allies. Also at the time, the Italians contribution was much weakened by the battle of Caporetto in November, so the situation at the time for the allies was quite dire! The US navy, when America entered the war, sent lots of destroyers to Ireland to help with anti-submarine patrols. Also, US Admiral Simms enabled Prime Minister Lloyd George to overcome Admiralty resistance to the convoy system so cutting our ship losses from twenty five percent to one percent, which was vital, if Britain was to stay in the war. Also America closed off the submarine threat from Germany by laying a big mine barrage across the North Sea. Although it was not until June 1918 before the Germans had enough troops in Europe to do any serious damage to the Germans and it was not until September that the Americans were strong enough to launch a major offensive (the Meuse-Argonne battle that engaged 1.2 million Americans for 47 days). The US armies also gave the allies the margin of Victory by giving us many men and guns that we would not have otherwise had. I.e.: In April 1918 the Germans had 300,000 more men that we did on the Western front but by November 1918, the allies had 600,000 more men than the Germans on the Western front. This was in part because that Germans were losing many lives through the Ludendorff offensive but mainly because the Americans poured many men in to Europe. By the end of November, there were nearly 2 million American troops in Europe! Also the arrival of the Americans greatly raised the morale of the allied troops and greatly demoralised the German troops. Even though most US war manufacture programs developed so slowly as to have no effect on the war. I.e.: most American artillery units were equipped with French field guns, also most American pilots flew British and French planes. In return though, the Americans, by 1918, provided 43% of British food 14% of French and 11% of Italian food. Also the Americans provided the allies with much money. I.e.:
1. Britain: 3345 $millions.
2. France: 2065 $millions.
3. Russia: 325 $millions.
4. Serbia: 12 $millions.
The Ludendorff Offensive.
The contribution of the Ludendorff Offensive to the outcome of World War One was very important because if the Ludendorff offensive, (Operation Michael), had never been launched, then the trench warfare that had became the trademark of World War One would have carried on for a couple of years more than it actually did depending on whether the Americans had sent over as many troops as they did because of the offensive. I believe that the Americans would not have sent over nearly as many troops as they did if the offensive had never happened. The Ludendorff Offensive is linked with the entry of the United States because if the American’s had not entered the war, then the need for a rapid plan to win the war. Ie: the Ludendorff Offensive, would not have been needed. The Germans, because of the offensive, lost the preponderance of 300,000 that they had on the Western Front through the Russian revolution that allowed them to transfer over 1 million troops to the western front. The Ludendorff offensive nearly worked as the Germans came within Paris. Fortunately the German offensive was pushed back. During 1918, many offensives were launched, they collectively became known as the Ludendorff offensive. Because of the offensive, the Germans lost many of their men and so lost the numerical advantage that had led them to start the Ludendorff offensive. Because the Germans lost so many men, (the British and French lost roughly the same amount of men as the Germans), they could not any more win the war as they did not have sufficient numbers to launch any more offensives and also, because of the flu pandemic that was tearing across Europe, the starving Germans lost many more men. Also, a very important aspect of the Ludendorff offensive is that a formed a unified allied command which was needed if attacks were to be properly co-ordinated, this also helped in ending the war quickly as it reduced confusion in the allied ranks when the Germans attacked. The main reason that the Ludendorff Offensive failed was that, simply, it ran out of steam
I believe that the Ludendorff offensive was the determining factor in the defeat of Germany in 1918. The American entry was important and if the Ludendorff offensive had never been launched then the American entry into the war would have been the determining factor in deciding the outcome of the war, but I believe that the Ludendorff offensive was the determining factor in the war because it bled Germany of so many of it’s men. Because Germany lost so many men, it had no choice but to sign the peace treaty. That is why I think that the Ludendorff offensive is the determining factor in the defeat of Germany in 1918. Also why I think that the Ludendorff Offensive is the determining factor in the outcome of the war, is because, if the Americans had never entered the war, then there would not have been a need for such a plan as the Ludendorff Offensive because there would not have been such a pressure to win the war without the Americans in the war.