THE WESTERN FRONT IN WORLD WAR I
READ ABOUT IT!
Welcome to the The Western Front in World War I Virtual Center. The first thing your group needs to do is read about the Western Front. After you read, you need to work together to complete the Western Front Pages in your Lesson Chronicles.
The Western Front
When the war broke out and the alliance system brought all of Europe into war, people of the time began calling this war - The Great War. The Western Front of World War I or the Great War as they called it, began in Belgium. The Western Front was the fighting zone in Western Europe during World War I that occurred in France, Belgium, and Western Germany. It began in Belgium because the Germans had come up with a plan to fight the war called the Schlieffen Plan. The Schlieffen Plan would be the first strategy of World War I.
The Schlieffen Plan
Long before the first shots were fired in World War I, the Germans were making plans to win the war. In 1904, ten years before the battles began, France, Great Britain, and Russia decided to form an alliance. They felt threatened by the Germans. Germany was building up its army and hinting at the idea that they would like to take control of smaller countries in Eastern Europe. There had been several crises involving Germany as well. Germany knew that war was likely and that they would be faced with a two-front war. Great Britain and France would come at them from the west and Russia would come at them from the east.
Alfred von Schlieffen was the Chief of the German Army. He came up with a plan to protect Germany in the event that war came to pass. He believed that France was weak and could be easily defeated. He thought if Germany could take France quickly, Great Britain would drop out of the war. He also knew that Russia had a large army and a large country. He believed it would take them at least six weeks to mobilize. He used all of this information to make the Schlieffen Plan.
The plan was simple. Germany would send ten percent of the German army to guard the German-Russian border and ninety percent of their army to attack France. Schlieffen knew that France had forts on the French-German border. So, he planned to attack France through Belgium. Schlieffen knew that France would not expect the attack because Belgium was a neutral country. France would concentrate their troops on the French-German border and leave the border between Belgium and France unprotected. Germany would be able to enter France and take control before France even knew what hit them! Because the attack would be a surprise, the French army would be defeated quickly, Great Britain would drop out of the war and the German army would have plenty of time to get to the German-Russian border before Russia could mobilize troops.
On August 2, 1914 the German army invaded Belgium. German officials were surprised because Belgium put up a good fight! The German army was not able to move through the country as quickly and easily as they had hoped. The Germans were surprised again when they found that the Russian army had already mobilized and were moving into the German territory of East Prussia. To make matters worse, Great Britain quickly sent troops to France and Belgium to help their allies.
The Battle of the Marne
When the Germans finally defeated the Belgian army and entered France in September of 1914, their army was divided into two divisions. These divisions were about twenty miles away from each other. They planned to meet up at a place south of the Marne River. The French army found out about the gap between the German divisions and put themselves between them.
The French troops fought hard! They were able to hold off the German advance. French reinforcements were sent to the site of the battle in taxi cabs from Paris. The Germans were unable to break through the French line and retreated back toward the border. The out-manned French army had saved Paris. The German plan for swift victory was not going to work. The French had won the Battle of the Marne River!
The Battle of Ypres
After the German advance was stopped at the Marne River, the “Race to the Sea” began. The German and French armies both tried to outflank each other by moving north and east. They ended up at the Belgian coastal city of Ypres at the North Sea, unable to move any further north.
The Battle of Somme
The Assassination Was About Self-Interest
Alliances Were About Self-Interest
Self-Interest Is Not a Bad Thing
Battle of the Marne
Schlieffen Plan: ag
The Great War: ag
The Western Front
two - front war
The second thing we need to do is to analyze what you have learned. In this activity, you will be given several scenarios where you must determine what the conflict is and how the conflict could have been resolved with both sides having the most needs met. You will blog about your ideas and respond to others comments.
Conflicts of Self-Interests
Click on the icons below to read and blog about 6 different conflicts. Follow the directions in each blog.
You just learned about alliances before World War I. You analyzed the relationships between the major nations and determined whether they were friends or enemies. Now you need to show off what you know. Complete the Center Check by clicking on the Center Check Icon below and answering the questions.
You have completed the Assassination that Led to World War I Center. Click on the button below to go back to the Lesson 1 - The Causes of World War I Home Page.