Did the Allies win the war on the Western Front in the Autumn of 1918 – or did the Germans lose it?
On the eleventh of November 1918, “at 5:12,” the head of the German armistice delegation, Mathias Erzberger agreed to sign the armistice agreement, which was due to go into effect almost six hours later, on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. Conversely at the point of Erzberger’s signature, the Germans had troops as far north as Finland and were virtual masters of eastern Europe, with troops as far east as Georgia and more significantly, with a army of millions still on the western front. Accordingly taking such aspects into consideration this essay will endeavor to explain whether the Allies won or the Germans lost the war on the Western front, in the autumn of 1918, or moreover was it a combination of both.
In an attempt to aid the task at hand, this essay will be broken down into four distinct, but related sections. The first will venture to cover the key relevant events leading up to the autumn of 1918, giving specific attention to the massive German spring offence of 1918. Secondly the state of morale within both belligerents’ armed forces and just as crucially in the throws of, Total War, the state of moral on the home fronts of both sides will be addressed. Thirdly the role and influence of the United States, in the closing months of the war and finally, particular focus will be given to the, advanced and perfected new tactics and weaponry, used by the allies in the ‘Hundred Days Offensive,’ of autumn 1918.
We shall start oddly on the eastern front, with the abdication of the Tsar and the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, which in turn lead to the Russians withdrawing from the War, with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (February 9, 1918). Consequently this freed up considerable German divisions to be transferred to the western front. However due to German expansionist policy and general unrest, their plans to...