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Explain Why Stalemate Developed On The Western Front

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Explain why stalemate developed on the Western front

By December 1914 stalemate developed on the Western front because of 3 main reasons, new weapons, lack of plans and the circumstances of the battle of Marne, race to the seas and the 1st battle of Ypres!

The Schlieffen plan had failed by November 1914. It didn’t entirely go to plan.. What the Germans presumed wasn’t right. Firstly they presumed that it would only take 6 weeks to get through Belgium and that it wouldn’t take long at all, but in the end it took than expected. The Belgians resisted a lot and put up a strong fight. German troops got held up in Belgium and never got round to invading Paris. In addition to this, Russia mobilised quicker than presumed! So 100,000 Germans were transferred to the east to fight the Russians. As the Schlieffen plan had failed deadlock was developing between countries. Neither side had any plans or any alternatives. But the British and French came up wit a new campaign called the Gallipoli campaign. They planned it on another front This shows they had no further plans to attack.

At the beginning of the war countries believed that they could win the war on horseback but when these “defensive weapons” came out their minds soon changed and they realised they couldn’t win the war just on horseback.

Firstly barbed wire was bought put. It was cheap to produce, easy to set up and devastatingly effective. It was very difficult to find a way around it.

Secondly the rifle was brought out. This weapon had been around for a long time, but its development over the four years of the war was impressive.

Spotting balloons, field-telephones and telegraph were all bought out. All 3 devices were useful in alerting the defender to the impending attack, and thus made the attackers job more difficult and costly.

Super weapons were then brought out. They were capable of over coming the advantages of defence also they contributed to stalemate happening. When the machine guns came into action it could easily mow down horses so that’s when countries started to worry and so bought all these “super weapons” for defensive measures because if the attacking had the new weapons and the other side did then not one side would attack, they would use them as defensive mechanisms. Railways were also a big part in the war. The railways ensured the defence would become much easier to maintain and support. Railways also made movement less flexible, unlike men and horse, railways required timetables and planning.

People believed that defence was much better than attacking for example A.J.P Taylor quoted “ defence was mechanised, attack wasn’t”. All these new weapons made defence much easier than



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