Good morning, we will continue to explore World War I and World War II documentaries for November. Today, we will look at the final months of World War I. This is part of a documentary series on World War I and is episode 10 in that series.
In 1918, the Allied Armies came together to assemble a strike force to finally break the backs of the Germans. The last few months of the war were brutal for the men in the trenches. The biggest problem was to keep the operation a secret. The Germans knew nothing of a coming attack nor did they fear an attack coming. When it did come, it would shatter the German military.
The Allied Armies assembled 100,000 men, 400 tanks, 1900 plans, 2,000 guns, and 300 cavalry divisions. Their goal was to keep this assembly a secret before they were ready to launch the offensive. They then attacked the German army and it was a shock to the Germans. 18,000 Germans were captured. It was the beginning of the end for the Germans. The German soldiers were hungry and exhausted. The Generals did not give them clear goals or supplies. They blamed the population for spreading defeatism.
Germany’s problems started piling up. They kept losing a string of battles. The factories could not keep up with wartime production. They built 20 tanks, while the Allies built 4,000. She lost the battle with manpower when the Americans joined the war effort. The Allies also worked together well, where the German Generals could not work together and the generals who were in charge lacked imagination. Others feared for the mental health of the generals.
The Americans, French, and British started to attack the German lines. The Germans were pushed back. The Allies came together and the Central Powers were tearing apart. Soldiers were deserting from the Austrian-Hungarian Army. The people were starving. Nations were demanding independence. The Ottoman Empire was also collapsing at the same time. The Austrian-Hungarian Emperor wanted to negotiate with the Allies to end the war. The German Kaiser was shocked.
Emperor Karl, however, had sent a proposal, but it was thrown back in his face. The Bulgarians were under attack as well. Crown Prince Boris was nearly attacked by his soldiers. The Serbian Army was prepared to take revenge. If Bulgaria fell then the Allies had a clear path to the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Allies smashed through the Bulgarian lines and Bulgarians negotiated for peace. When the Germans found out they were shocked.
Then the Hindenburg Line was breached. The German Military condition was serious. At any time, the German lines could be breached. The Bulgarians surrendered and the Austrian-Hungarian Army was in shambles. Now the Germans faced the possibility of surrender. In October 1918, the German people would have been grateful for peace. The German Politicians were unaware that the German Military wanted to surrender. When the talks of peace, the politicians were surprised.
Woodrow Wilson was placed in charge of the peace negotiations. He already had proposed peace plans. The French President was unimpressed with the 14 Points Wilson came up with remarking “The Good Lord only had 10.” The politicians argued behind the scenes, and the Allies continued to fight. They pressed further into German conquered lands. To continue to learn more about the wind-down of the war, continue to watch the documentary.
This would be a good episode to show in a history classroom that is studying World War I. If you have an independent study student working through World War I, then they can watch the whole series. When there is a sub in the classroom, then they can show an episode of this series to the class.
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