Why did the German Spring Offensive of 1918 fail?

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German troops take an allied trench in 1918

The German Spring Offensive of 1918 was one of the last great offensives of the First World War. The offensive ultimately failed and the allies were able to beat back the German attacks. The German Spring Offensive of 1918 was the last effort by Germany to win the war and its failure meant that the Central Powers had effectively lost. If the Spring Offensive had succeeded the outcome of the war and the course of history in the Twentieth Century would have been very different. The German Spring Offensive stalled for a variety of reasons including inadequate supplies, stubborn Allied defensive tactics, an over reliance on German Stormtroopers, and the German military overestimation of their offensive capabilities.

The German army was under the direction of General Erich Ludendorff, by this stage in the war, his old collaborator Field Marshall von Hindenburg was only nominally German Chief of Staff. He was the mastermind of the Spring offensive in 1918, which is often referred to as the “Ludendorff Offensive.”[1] On the face of it, Germany and the Central Powers were in a strong position in early 1918. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Russians had withdrawn from the war and the Germans had secured new territory in the east. Romania had been defeated and Italy and Greece were no longer a threat. By 1918, it was clear that the Great War would be decided on the western front.[2] The German command knew that after America joined the war they could potentially tip the balance in favour of the allies. By early 1918, the Americans had already begun to make a difference on the western front. Germany was concerned that if they were allowed to build up their strength the allies could inflict a decisive defeat on Imperial Germany.

Furthermore, as a result of the allied naval blockade, Germany was on the brink of starvation. Unrest and labor strikes had become common in German cities.[3]. Ludendorff was in a race against time. Germany had to defeat Britain and France or they faced almost certain defeat, Ludendorff believed that they had only one last chance to strike a decisive blow against the allies before it was too late. Ludendorff was a realist and knew that the situation was grave for Germany.[4] The Treaty of Brest-Litovsk allowed the German Army to transfer some 50 divisions from the eastern to western front, in early 1918. Ludendorff decided to use these divisions in his last offensive and force the Allies to sue for peace.[5]

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What Mistakes did the Allies make during Operation Overlord on D-Day?

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Storming the beach on D-Day from a Higgins Boat

June 6, 1944 was arguably the most pivotal day of World War II. Operation Overlord was set to be launched and if successful, was to open a second front in Europe so as to attack Germany from all sides. Stalin’s Soviet Army had been battling the German Army since late 1942 in Stalingrad, Leningrad, and Moscow. Germany was unable to force the Soviets into surrender and Stalin’s troops slowly pushed the Germans back from Russia. The Soviet soldiers defended their motherland honorably; however, they needed a reprieve from the German armor and killing squads sent east to execute and imprison Russian Jews and political prisoners. The Western front Stalin had been insisting upon was finally coming into the realm of reality.

The invasion named Operation Overlord was planned to unfold in three parts; the break-in, the buildup, and the breakout. The first stage was the most dangerous and challenging as the Allied troops were tasked with attacking and holding the beaches of Normandy in the face of an open German assault. The elements of nature seemed to conspire against the Allies and the German defenses, although not optimal, were solid and treacherous. The ultimate detriments to the Allied strategy of the break-in phase; however, were the mistakes made by the Allies themselves.

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How Did Firefighting Develop?

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The London Great Fire of 1666 revolutionized firefighting

Firefighting began to be a focus only with the rise of very large cities such as Rome. Earlier cities, such as those in Mesopotamia or the Indus, likely developed ad hoc firefighting departments and respondent to events. As with other institutions, however, the history of firefighting is complicated and influenced by major technical and social change that occurred in different centuries.

Early fighting developed in the early urban societies of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus. Very likely, however, these were not dedicated fire departments but rather as volunteer or paid individuals who would be responsible in assembling a crew and extinguishing a fire in the city. Few archaeological remains have attested to such firefighters, but laws, such as those from Hammurabi’s law code, indicate they existed. There was a law that stated that a firefighter who stole from a burning house that he was responsible for would be punished by death by being thrown into the fire. The law makes it clear though that it is a volunteer that the law applies to. This does not mean there were no paid firefighters but it could mean volunteers may have volunteered because fires gave opportunity for theft.[1]

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What were the Root Causes of the Spanish Civil War?

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General Francisco Franco in 1936

The Spanish Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars in Twentieth Century in Europe. The war was not simply a Spanish affair, but drew in other several other nations, including Italy, Portugal, Germany and the Soviet Union. The war was a result of many factors, some of which will be discussed here. The main cause of the Spanish Civil War, was the failure of Spanish democracy. This was because there was a refusal by the Spanish parties and groups to compromise and respect democratic norms.

Spain was a very divided, unstable and weak country in the 19th century. Once a great power, Spain lost almost the last of its colonies after it defeat in the Spanish-American war.[1] It was technically a monarchy, but power had frequently been in the hands of military dictators. The country was bitterly divided. The acute poverty of the Spanish people meant that many were drawn to Communism, Anarchism and Socialism. [2] These ideologies call for popular governments and the re-distribution of resources, such as land and wealth.

Spanish anarchists, socialists and communists were secular and wanted to remove the influence of the Catholic Church from Spanish society. The elite and the middle class were especially conservative. They dominated the economy and feared that the Communists would confiscate their property. This is typified in the fact that much of the best land in Spain was owned by a relatively small proportion of the population. Furthermore, the wealthy and the middle class, especially in rural society was Catholics and resisted any idea that there should be a separation of Church in State in Spain.[3]The elite and the rich landowners, the ‘agrarian oligarchy’ were terrified of communism, especially after the Russian Revolution in 1917.

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Why was the worship of Mithra so popular?

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Mithra sacrifices a bull

Today the god Mithra or Mithras is not recognized by many in the West. Mithra is often seen as just one of the many gods that was once worshiped in Europe, the Near East, and South Asia. However, in the early centuries of Christianity, one can argue the worship of Mithras rivaled influence and importance of Christianity. If Christianity had failed to plant itself in Europe, it may have been possible for Mithraism to become a lasting and significant religion in Asia and Europe. The Mithra faith may have also influenced both Christianity and other later religions. Read more at DailyHistory.org. 

What did Prussia’s victory in the Franco-Prussian War mean for Europe?

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Napoleon III and Bismarck meet after Napoleon was captured in 1870 at the Battle of Sedan.

The Franco-Prussian War 1870-71 was one of the most significant wars of the nineteenth century. It changed the balance of power in Europe and resulted in the relative decline of France and confirmed the rise of a United Germany as the major power on the continent. This was to have great implications for international relations not only in Europe but around the Globe. The Franco-Prussian War was to lay the foundation for the First World War.[1]

In 1870, France was regarded as the most powerful country in mainland Europe. It was ruled by the authoritarian Emperor Napoleon III. He had actively sought to expand French influence in Europe and around the world. Napoleon III inspired by his grandfather Napoleon I, sought to make France the greatest nation in Europe. He had fought wars against the Russian Empire in the Crimea and in Italy against the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Emperor was also acquiring colonies in Asia and Africa .[2]  Read more at DailyHistory.org.

Why was Alexander the Great So Successful In His Conquests?

1200px-Alexander_the_Great_mosaicIn the public’s mind, few well known conquerors in history match the exploits of Alexander the Great. In just a few years, from 334-330 BC, Alexander would go on to conquer the largest empire the world had known and establish his own empire that eventually stretched from Greece to India. Furthermore, Alexander began a process where Greek culture began to intermix with ancient Near Eastern, Egyptian, Central Asian, and Indian cultures that influenced much of the Old World for many centuries. The exchange of ideas and trade brought about an era of unprecedented prosperity and knowledge that advanced the ancient world’s sciences and led to many discoveries that would not be replicated until the Renaissance in the 15 or 16th century AD. Read more at DailyHistory.org.