Bibliography

Works Cited

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“Battle of Verdun 1916.” Wereld Oorlog 1418. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2016.

<http://www.wereldoorlog1418.nl/battleverdun/&gt;

 

“The Battle of Verdun – History Learning Site.” History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/battles-of-world-war-one/the-battle-of-verdun/&gt;

 

“Battle of Verdun 1916 – the Greatest Battle Ever.” Battle of Verdun 1916 – the Greatest Battle Ever. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://wereldoorlog1418.nl/battleverdun/kortverdun/index.htm&gt;

 

“Battles of the Ypres Salient.” WW1. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://www.greatwar.co.uk/ypres-salient/battles-ypres-salient.htm&gt;

 

Cowley, Robert. “Battle of Somme.” N.p., n.d. Web.

<http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-i/battle-of-the-somme&gt;

 

“Firstworldwar.com.” First World War.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/marne1.htm&gt;

 

“The German Spring Offensive of 1918 – History Learning Site.” History Learning Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/battles-of-world-war-one/the-german-spring-offensive-of-1918/&gt;

 

Hermans, William. “Poem of William Hermanns.” William Hermanns’ Poem  P006:  Verdun and You. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://www.williamhermanns.com/Poem/P006.html&gt;

 

“The History Place – World War I Timeline – 1914 – War Erupts.” The History Place – World War I Timeline – 1914 – War Erupts. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

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History.com Staff. “Battle of Cambrai.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 01 Jan. 2009. Web. 5 May 2016.

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History.com Staff. “Battle of the Somme.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 01 Jan. 2009. Web. 5 May 2016.

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Kelmm, Wilhelm. “Battle of Marne (1914).” Discover War Poets. Discover War Poets, n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

<http://warpoets.org.uk/worldwar1/blog/poem/battle-on-the-marne-september-1914/&gt;

 

“Major Battles of WWI.” Major Battles. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

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Reflections

Stan Brinkman:

Before this unit my knowledge of the First World War was extremely limited. The only thing I really knew about the war was that Germany played a major role. The topic, which my group landed upon, was military strategies. Researching these strategies it became extremely clear to me on how everything played out historically, how it was supposed to, and better options regarding strategy. Of course when researching this I automatically learned about a number of things about the war. This is because for me to understand the positions of the armies, etc., I would need to go into more depth on the background information. In terms of history the entire world war is extremely clear to me. In terms of English I felt like there was not strong enough of a correlation between the war and the subject. Although after analyzing multiple poems, I did get a greater understanding on the actual experiences of soldiers on the German side, where as with history it was more of a general overview on what had happened.

 

Studying the war from the historical and English perspective both had their benefits and drawbacks. World War 1 through historical scopes focuses very much on the events which occurred and what the effects of those events were. On the other hand, the English side of the unit is a lot more specific towards what you could call the sub-topics of the war. In the unit we looked for the poems written by soldiers to then give another primary perspective on each battle, which my group studied. I feel like both topics do fit quite well with the war. Everything researched during the unit did fit perfectly with the general subject of history, but with English this is a different story. This is because there is a lot more to the English language that poems during the war. This doesn’t mean that it was bad to study them at all. It means that the English part of this unit was a lot more focused, and the research done was on a narrower scale. This allowed a general perspective over the war and one that’s a lot more specific.

 

After this unit I found many levels of the war, which I didn’t even know, understood. The interdisciplinary unit made me understands how to use one subject to find information on the other in more depth. For example the only history-based research to be found had no information on the experiences of the Germans during the war. So when researching a battle the only way to find information on the personal experiences was through primary work. When in need to find personal experience I would look into poems written by Germans and would then need to interpret metaphors and other forms of literary devices. This also went the other way (needing history to understand English). It was extremely important when analyzing poems to understand what the stance was of the Germans. It would make a huge difference if Germany had an effective strategy or a just a “whoever shoots first, wins” battle. Therefore using historical sources would allow the poems to become understood. I did not only analyze poems, I also wrote one. Clearly for this I had to research some background information on a specific battle, and the success rate of the German soldiers.

 

Personally I did not go onto the trip to Ypres. This did not allow me to experience much during those few days. I made quite a lot of progression on the historical aspect of this unit. Although I found out at the start of that week, when the goal is to combine both subjects, it’s quite easy to go along with one side of the project (in my case history) and then as you go along incorporate another aspect. So then without doing so purposely, I had finished more than 1/2 of my history research and almost completely finished the English aspect.

 

As you can see, this project has built up my understanding on the indisciplinary unit to where I believe I fully understand what the purpose of it is. I have learned that through just one subject you cant possibly get detailed information on anything. Through using different perspectives to tackle one of my future investigations I will be able to access multiple layers of information on a topic and will then use

 

Simon Levie:

Prior to this unit of work, which was about the First World One, I did not have a lot of knowledge on this topic. I knew what had happened and that it was one of the bloodiest wars in human history. My group, which consisted from Eduardo, Stan, and Ziggy, decided to focus on the change in military strategies of Germany throughout the course of the war, for its historical aspect. For the English side of this interdisciplinary between English and History we decided to focus upon the individual experiences of the soldiers during these horrific battles. Whilst researching the military strategies of Germany I got a greater understanding of how some geographical locations can be vital to the success of a battle. Also I learned how the Germans were planning the war and how the thought to win every battle. Because of this I learned more on the logistics of the war and that action had reaction. Concerning the English aspect I learned how these strategies towards battle by using different weapons and tactics affected the soldiers experience significantly. By analyzing different poem, journal entries, and action report I greater view on how the war really happened in its pure truth which was terrible. Also after analyzing these poems I needed to make a poem for my self explaining a specific battle and how that went. Because of this I could put my self in their shoes which was an experience of it own. Therefore I think by researching both topics my understanding of the logistics and tactics but also experiences of the war have improved greatly.

 

However, studying the war from a history and English point of view did have its drawbacks. For instance our group decided to research 6 significant battles of the WW1 and then from this 6 battles analyzing poems, journal entries, or action reports from them, and then ultimately creating three poems of our own. The drawback was that is was very difficult to find good and sufficient articles about these battles. This had taken us a very long time to research, which I thought is a drawback because it was very time consuming, and this was time we could have spent on improving our exhibition. Nevertheless there are also benefits towards studying WW1 from these two angles. Due to the fact that we studied the military strategies and how that affects the experiences of the soldiers it really gave me at least a very clear scope on how crucial these tactics were and also how horrifying these experiences were. I think that because I studied those two perspectives a really got a greater understanding if the topic.

 

Looking back at this unit I have discovered a lot of new information about WW1 whichever never new or understood fully when compared to now. What this interdisciplinary made me understand was that sometimes a different perspective can bring a greater understanding of a topic. For example when I would be analyzing the English poems I needed to have some historical background of that specific battle poem I was analyzing to understand it. This is because a lot of these poems talk about the location they were in and what weapons were used and how. So when I researched the historical parts of these battles I could receive a better understanding to the poem thus increasing my knowledge. Also because of that I was able to relate and create a poem my self-describing what I think happened from their perspective. For history it was they same problem, this is because when I would research a battle the sites would only give me factual information. But because I also analyzed these poem I could give context to the information I was writing doing concerning the history part if this project.

 

 

Lastly, I did not go on the Ypres trip therefore no experiencing the graveyard and other WW1 facilities Ypres has to offer. An the other hand I stayed here with one of my team mates Stan. We had set a goal to finish all our history and most of our English research plus the addition of creating a website. However I did not reach this goal because sometimes we were stuck on curtain topic such as how to formulate our research and sub question. Also we didn’t have any help from a history or English teacher which could give us tips one how to do things a curtain way. This was one of the main limitations of this project I find. This is because Stan and I were just left to do work, and then show it after the three days. We had received a planning but it was just not sufficient enough and it wasn’t made in great detail plus it was quite vague. Nevertheless even though we didn’t manage to reach our goal Stan and I were very efficient and managed t get quite a lot of work done such as creating the website, finding 3 of the 6 poems and already have researched 3 of the 6 battles.

 

In conclusion, this interdisciplinary was a very unique opportunity to study WW1 from two different perspectives to create a understanding which most people don’t have. Also because of the use of two subject the amount of knowledge I gained when in comparison with other project is immense. Therefore I think that this is a very good and well organized unit but still has several improvements needed. Overall I enjoyed this project very much and I hope I be able to do something like this further in my school career.

 

Eduardo Ajuwon:

Regarding this interdisciplinary unit, my group, which consisted of Ziggy, Stan, Simon and Aaron decided to look at how German battle strategies affected the experiences of the soldiers during the first world war. Our research question was

How were the military strategies in Germany influenced by world war one and how did these strategies change throughout the course of the war. Through out the process of the exhibition our group used various sources to analyze how the war strategies changed over the years as well as how they affected must have effected the soldiers at the time.

Through out the course of the interdisciplinary unit a lot of subject specific information had to be gathered in order to answer our research question. Due to this I personally learned a lot of new material in regards to the First World War, both from a history and English point of view. By analyzing several English poems about the Great War, as a group we were able to gather sufficient relevant information. It also allowed us to view how the soldiers must have experienced the war due to the literary devices used through out the poems as well as journal/diary extracts. In addition to this, by researching the strategies used by the Germans I believe that I gained more knowledge in regards to why and how certain battles were fought. Because we looked at German war strategies justifying the events that lead to the end of the war were mad a lot clearer. Because of the interdisciplinary unit and our specific research question, I believe I have a better understanding of why certain events occurred in the war and how soldiers reacted to them.

Because our interdisciplinary unit consisted of History and English, I believe it was quite easy to find an interesting topic to base the exhibition about. By studying the first world war from these two perspectives we were given the chance to look at the war from two different angles. By doings so it was possible to compliment the research done from one perspective by the other. This allowed us to gather a wide range of information that we could present on the night of the exhibition. Additionally it allowed us as a group to really focus on two aspects of the war that we were all quite interested in. By looking at the war from two different perspectives it was possible for us as a group to gain a wider understanding towards why the war took place, how it developed and what its impacts were. A drawback however was that because we had to focus on two different perspectives researching too in depth was not an option. I believe that our research could have possibly gone more into depth regarding some points however because we had to look into two separate perspectives the additional depth that could have been added to our research in general was lost.

Due to the subject lessons provided to us and the exhibition task that was given, I believe that I can see the relationship between the two subjects better. Since my group researched German strategy we were able to see how the different strategies effected the troops, by analyzing poems and journal extracts written by them. During the subject lessons, we were provided with the means to brainstorm ideas in regards to the exhibition task that correlated with both the English and History perspective. Additionally during the subject lessons we were provided enough information to base our exhibition task on. Once we were busy with the exhibition task we had to assemble the research gathered from both perspectives and combine it into one presentation. By actually combining the research done from both subjects I was able to see the correlation between both History and English sides of World War 1. Because of the task that we were provided with I am able to understand how different strategies affected the experiences each soldier had during the war.

While visiting Ypres we came across a lot of information that incorporated both an English and History element of the First World War. When we visited the museums there were certain displays that provided us with ideas that we could incorporate into our own exhibition. In Ypres we were given the chance to gather a lot of primary sources, some of them included first hand accounts of soldiers that had experienced the war, this was very crucial towards my understanding of the interdisciplinary units that were present through out the task. I believe that by going to Ypres my interdisciplinary understanding of the First World War improved because we were constantly surrounded by the effects of the war. We visited many different places and gathered information that included a bit of both perspectives, making it easier to gain an understanding of the first world war from an interdisciplinary perspective.

 

Aaron Tsang:

For this exhibition I haven’t much because I was sick fora whole week and didn’t work on the exhibition but I still talked about our website from my group and what you can find on it. When I was sick my group worked through the whole project and I only talked about our website since I wasn’t in school and I didn’t work on the exhibition as much as the other group members. Even though I didn’t do most of the work from the writing or the analysis I still tried to help my group members as much as I could. I helped them set up our room and fixed everything until we liked the look of the room. All I did in this exhibition I was talk about our website and showed them what you could find on the website. And the poems and quotes. I was in a group with Simon, Stan, Edu and Ziggy. The arrangement of the exhibition was really good but maybe it could have been a bit earlier so everybody could go home earlier instead of 20:30 or later. In my own opinion I think I did ok talking about the website that Simon and Stan made. Even I missed lessons to work on the exhibition Simon still gave me something to do at the actual exhibition. Simon was really good to me he gave me something to do so I wouldn’t get a low grade. On the night of the exhibition it went really well, a lot of parents came in and were curious of what our topics were and what we will show them. The parents really enjoyed our small clip and the grave stones that Simon made for the English. At one point all of us were really nervous because we had 4 teachers inside our room but we were also glad that so many teachers came to see our project. A lot of parents and teachers gave us good feedback. Ziggy made a very good video and Simon made gravestones and I helped Edu record for the video. Even though I didn’t do much of the work, I still tried to help the rest of the group members with what that was doing. I also visited other rooms and saw quite a lot of great work that each group have done. I think I could off message my group members and ask if there was anything I could have done while I was sick. If I messaged my group members we could have more work finished. I really enjoyed the drama bit from the exhibition night. I was really nervous standing in front of a lot of parents and audience who was listening to our work. The teachers helped us when there was a problem and gave us advice to talk better to our audience. Working on the exhibition is really fun and you can learn things that you didn’t know before. For me I didn’t know part of what my group did but after I read the website that was made helped me understand some more about World War 1 and the Schlieffen plan. The title of our website is Changes in German Military strategy (1914 – 1918). The research question for our project is “How were the military strategies in Germany influenced by World War One, and how did these strategies change throughout the course of the war?” I think. Should have communicated with my group members so I could see what I could have done. I think my communicating skills could have been a whole lot better. The trip to Ypres really helped us find the information we needed to find but in the beginning it was little boring but after it got fun. You even get to see the Tyne Cot War Cemetery. The Tyne Cot War Cemetery was really big and had loads of gravestones. We also went to the Flanders field museum and we also went to another museum on the last day but I forgot the name. We went to the museum with the dugout and there were different flags around it. After we went to the cemetery. I think I could have improved my communicating skills with my group. I really enjoyed working on this project for the exhibition but I still think I could have communicated better with my group members.

 

Ziggy Zwart:

  • History

 

Obviously, the most I learned regarding the history perspective of the unit came from the lessons in which we learned most of the raw facts as well as deeper concepts and theories. Since I knew a lot of information from our classes, I feel like I learned a lot during our Ypres trip when we visited things like the trench systems and the museums. These things affected my subject specific knowledge because it gave me a way to interpret and give context to things I learned in class. Seeing the trenches, actual artifacts from the war, and the bomb craters also gave a sense of proportion so I could feel for myself how big and brutal this war was.

 

  • English

 

While the history side of things helped me understand the war as a whole process, the English part of the IDU helped me understand how individual soldiers were feeling during the battle. This is important because it gave me an idea of how individual people were affected by the war. Learning about poetry in the First World War was particularly helpful because I feel like, since they expressed their feelings in poems, some “poets” in the first world war could really capture a certain feeling brought about by the war. Working on the exhibition also helped with this because we analyzed and made our own poems for the English part of the exhibition.

 

 

The list of benefits and drawbacks of studying the First World War from an English and a history perspective mostly includes benefits. I think the most important benefit would be that studying the First World War from two different perspectives really broadens our knowledge of the First World War and gives us more resources and ways in which we can talk about and understand the First World War. I think this idea could be seen clearly when we were working on and doing our exhibition. When doing our exhibitions, we incorporated different aspects and concepts that we learned from both subjects in both of the English and History products that we made. For example, we were able to make our poems for English because we could understand the battles from information we got during our history lesson. While there are not many drawbacks, I think the main drawback of studying the First World War from two different perspectives is that we could easily begin to lose focus and mix up information that might be relevant to History but irrelevant to the English lessons.

 

It is obvious how the lessons contributed to new interdisciplinary understandings. The lessons in history covered all the events, dates, concepts, and even theories surrounding the First World War. I think a really effective task that covered most of these aspects was the debate on whose fault the First World War was. This is because we had to make and listen to arguments that supported each opinion. The lessons in English covered poem-writing techniques, but they contributed to interdisciplinary understandings because the poems thoroughly described events during the war perspective of a soldier who actually fought in the war.

 

The exhibition task contributed to new interdisciplinary understandings because part of the task was to research for both of the IDU subjects. This helped us develop new understandings among each other, the result of this was that we could use information that we researched for one of the subjects and could use it to answer questions for the other.

 

 

I think the excursion to Ypres helped in the development of my interdisciplinary understanding because it was a valuable place for primary sources. The trip gave us an opportunity to explore concepts of the war among real artifacts that helped give context, proportion, and even helped us understand the mood during the First World War. A good example of how we explored the mood and atmosphere of the First World War was walking through and interacting with the real trenches that we visited.

Erich von Ludendorff (1918)

Spring Offense (1918)

Second battle of Marne action report

 By: Erich von Ludendorff, Quartermaster General

 All [German] divisions [along the Marne] achieved brilliant successes, with the exception of the one division on our right wing. This encountered American units! Here only did the Seventh Army, In the course of the first day of the offensive, confront serious difficulties. It met with the unexpectedly stubborn and active resistance of fresh American troops.

While the rest of the divisions of the Seventh Army succeeded in gaining ground and gaining tremendous booty, it proved impossible for us to move the right apex of our line, to the south of the Marne, into a position advantageous for the development of the ensuing fight. The check we thus received was one result of the stupendous fighting between our 10th Division of infantry and American troops…

Erich von Ludendorff, Quartermaster General

 Action report analysis:

In this action report written by Erich von Ludendorff, who is a quartermaster general describes the second battle of Marne, which occurred in 1918 as a part of the 1918 spring offense. In this report, Erich describes how the attacks on the allied forces have been going. “All [German] divisions [along the Marne] achieved brilliant successes, with the exception of the one division on our right wing“ in the passage from his report you can notice that the attacks have been going well and that they Germans are achieving there goals. However, he does say that there division on the right wing didn’t have success. “It met with the unexpectedly stubborn and active resistance of fresh American troops. “ From this you can see that the German soldiers are tired, and that the American soldiers are fresh and ready to fight. What I depict from this two passages is that even though the Germans are having success they will be defeated because they are tired, and broken mentally. To go up against these fresh soldiers whom have a strong and high morel will not last long, until they are wining from the Germans. The reason why this report was chosen was because there many letter’s and journal entries to be found which were good enough to write about, also there were no poems that I could find which was explaining how the second battle of Marne was going from a German perspective.

 

Self made Poem:

Millions of voices shattered onto the face of the earth

It is screaming, mourning, and grieving for the disruption we’ve caused it

I felt no sorrow for the suffering I induced

Yet the feeling of happiness was not present

The lion inside of me had died, yet I was running like never before

I could see the top of the mountain

Nevertheless, I didn’t want to reach the top

To stand eye on eye with the bitter truth

The truth that I was conquering, although knowing, defeat was ahead

 

I felt stronger then the rest, resulting in my advancement

Yet is was blinded by my confidence, and forgot the rest

 

Ones alone, to realize the fact that this is a true,

Living hell

 

Ernst Jünger (1916)

Journal entry, battle of Somme 

By: Ernst Jünger 

On August 28, 1916, at the height of the battle of the Somme, he wrote: ‘This area was meadows and forests and cornfields just a short time ago. There’s nothing left of it, nothing at all. Literally not a blade of grass, not a tiny blade.’

‘Every millimetre of the earth has been churned up and churned again, the trees uprooted and torn apart and ground to sludge. The houses shot to pieces, the bricks crushed into powder. The railway tracks turned into spirals, hills flattened, everything turned to desert.’

‘And everything full of corpses who have been turned over a hundred times. Whole lines of soldiers are lying in front of the positions, our passages are filled with corpses lying over each other in layers.’

Analysis of Journal Extract:

This diary entry by german more solid Ernst Jünger describes the landscape of no-mans-land during the battle of Somme. Jünger was a german lieutenant in the infantry who was actively part of the war from august 1914 until 1918 just before the end of the war when he was shot in the lung. Despite this he died 1998 he only died 80 years later at the age of 102.

The short diary entry describes how badly the landscape was affected by the constant wearing during the battle. What was once meadows, forests and cornfields had quickly turned to a baron wasteland, covered in churned earth and the bodies of the fallen. Furthermore the diary entry provides us with a small insight in the amount of people that had deceased up until August 28, 1916. “our passages are filled with corpses lying over each other in layers” the sheer number that must have died in order to fill up their passages was massive, additionally, this must have affected the mentality and well-being of the soldiers. Being around piles of dead bodies constantly must have really affected the health of the soldiers due to unhygienic circumstances.

Willi Siebert (1915)

Journal entry, second battle of Ypres

By: Willi Siebert   

Finally, we decided to release the gas. The weatherman was right. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining. Where there was grass, it was blazing green. We should have been going on a picnic, not doing what we were going to do. …

We sent the [German] infantry back and opened the [gas] valves with the strings. About supper time, the gas started toward the French; everything was stone quiet. We all wondered what was going to happen.

As this great cloud of green grey gas was forming in front of us, we suddenly heard the French yelling. In less than a minute they started with the most rifle and machine gun fire that I had ever heard. Every field artillery gun, every machine gun, every rifle that the French had, must have been firing. I had never heard such a noise.

The hail of bullets going over our heads was unbelievable, but it was not stopping the gas. The wind kept moving the gas towards the French lines. We heard the cows bawling, and the horses screaming. The French kept on shooting.

They couldn’t possibly see what they were shooting at. In about 15 minutes the gun fire started to quit. After a half hour, only occasional shots. Then everything was quiet again. In a while it had cleared and we walked past the empty gas bottles.

What we saw was total death. Nothing was alive.

All of the animals had come out of their holes to die. Dead rabbits, moles, and rats and mice were everywhere. The smell of the gas was still in the air. It hung on the few bushes which were left.

When we got to the French lines the trenches were empty but in a half mile the bodies of French soldiers were everywhere. It was unbelievable. Then we saw there were some English. You could see where men had clawed at their faces, and throats, trying to get breath.

Some had shot themselves. The horses, still in the stables, cows, chickens, everything, all were dead. Everything, even the insects were dead.

Analysis 

This journal entry comes from the german soldier, Willi Siebert who experienced the first chlorine gas attack against the French troops. The diary entry describes the destruction caused by the first chlorine gas attack, apart from this it also documents a small part of the preparations for the gas attack, this is seen in the extract “We sent the [German] infantry back and opened the [gas] valves with the strings”. Although they didn’t know the effectiveness of the gas they understood that it could possible be a huge asset in terms of overcoming the stalemate that was present before them.

In the journal entry we also get to hear what the reaction of the french was during the gas attack. From what was said the french responded to the gas attack with constant gun fire. Once the germans had finished the gas attack every form of life was dead. All the french soldiers were found dead half a mile from their trenches, in addition to this all the wild life around the area was also killed by the chlorine gas. Just by reading this journal entry one can see how terrifying a gas attack must have been, the green-gray gas leaving nothing alive in its wake. Due to the deadliness of the gas using it on a whim could be deadly for the german troops as well, a sudden change in wind could wipe out a large portion of the german front line. By reading the extract you can really see how effective a gas attack was, you could even argue that its too effective, killing of basically any living being that comes into contact with it.

Spring Offensive (1918)

Spring Offensive (1918)

In the spring of 1918, a massive attack was ordered on the western front in Germany. The goal of this attack was to once and for all end the war. 500,000 German troops were added to the military borders between the german and the Russian empire. With this incredible army Ludendorff (German official) was very confident towards the success of this battle.

Very short after the armies were deployed the allied forces were aware of the German planned attack although they remained in doubt about where the attack would take place. Due to this, the French and the British strengthened their forces at the north and east of Germany. Due to this near Cambria, there was quite a weakness in the allied forces, which Germany could take as an opportunity to attack.

On March 21st, 1918, Ludendorff launched the attack. The speed of the attack was incredible. It was said that around 3000 German artillery shells were fired at the British front lines for the first five hours of the battle. This bombardment was followed by an attack by Germany’s elite storm trooper forces that would often carry flamethrowers to the battle. This would cause and an insane amount of panic on the allied forces. The difference between the elite storm trooper forces and regular units was that the elite forces would carry nothing else than a weapon, their bullets and occasionally water. On the other hand, the regular units would be weighed down with all their belongings throughout the battle.

By the end of day 1 of the battle, a total of 21,000 British soldiers were taken into German labor. Consequently many British commanders had lost control of their armies. The British soldiers were used to static battles in the past years of the war, and now suddenly they had to fight against an unexpected slaughter. After this, the fifth army (one of the most dominant armies of the allied forces) was told to retreat. In the entire length of the war, this was the largest breakthrough on the German side. (First Stage of German Spring Offensive Ends.)

The Germans had built words most powerful artillery weapon at the time, which also had a very large impact on their battle. The “Krupps Cannons”. At this stage, Paris was only about 100km off of the German front. Due to this, the cannons were moved to the front line. Within 200 seconds 183 massive shells landed in Paris, provoking thousands and thousands of French to leave their capital. As seen the first few days were an incredible success to the extent where many Germans saw this as the end of the war. (The German Spring Offensive of 1918 – History Learning Site.”)

Blind due to success the German storm troopers continuously advanced. At a certain point around a week into the battle, the elite storm trooper forces were far ahead of the people carrying their resources. This caused many vital supplies like nutrients and shelter to be out of reach. Instead of the storm troopers staying back and helping the other army’s advance, they went onwards without understandings the consequences.

Due to those issues, Germany went in an alternative route and ended up finding many stores where their resources could be replenished. In terms of land conquered this battle was quite successful, but between March and April, 230,000 causalities. At this time, the American forces began interfering onto the western front. Then in 1918 the final German offensive took place. This was a total disaster. The Germans advanced at high speeds but lost a very large amount of people. This then became obvious to the French and an extremely large counterattack was launched. Consequently between March and July 1918, 1,000,000 German men were killed.

Strategic Analysis

This last battle began very successful but ended in another tragedy for the Germans. It began with a continuous artillery attack that lasted 5 hours where the constant attack was placed on the German Forces. After this, the Krupps Cannon’s were used to bombard Paris. As a result of this, the storm trooper forces were deployed into the battle. These strategies worked to an extent but the speedy advance of the British was far beyond reach for their supplies. In the end, advancement is what took down Germany.

William Hermanns (1916)

Verdun and You (1916)

By: William Hermann’s

On the battlefield of Verdun I stand.
Half a million, young as I,
are buried here. Where are they now?

And an equal number unknown, like the sand
beneath my feet, blown into bits.
Come youths of the world, stand here and vow:

No flag shall wave in the name of a state
to make us murderers sanctified.
No schoolbook shall poison our children’s minds,
that they must die for what these died.

Beware the uniform let loose
by national slogans coined at a desk
which makes you march with flag ahead.

Their slogans are a crimson noose
around your neck. Stand still and think:
For this shall we join the million dead?

Stand still and watch a shadow rise:
The military-industrial paw.
What’s left but radioactive waste.
There Is a God and cosmic law.

Analysis of Poem:

 Verdun and you, which is a poem written by a German poet named William Hermann’s, is a poem written for the battle of Verdun which occurred in 1916. Already in the first paragraph of the poem William describes how terrifying and atrocious the battle of Verdun was. “Half a million, young as I” In this sentence you can depict that he was astonished by the death toll of this battle alone. Throughout this poem, he keeps on emphasizing how terrible this battle was. Furthermore, he is not only commenting on how bad the battle was but also how brutal the soldiers where in there way of killing, and that they did not have the right to do that. “No flag shall wave in the name of a state to make us murderers sanctified” this I shows how William thinks that even the soldiers who are fighting and killing are also in the wrong and that no flag or medal can justify the actions which they have done.

 

In this poem, William used several literary devices to convey his message of how everything, which was fought for in that battle, was horrifying and unjust. For instance, in the line “ For this shall we join the million dead?” he asks the reader what they find. This technique which is called grabbing the audience attention is an effective way of conveying his message through the use of the readers own mind. Would you do kill all these people, what would you do is basically what he is asking. He also uses several metaphors one being “Their slogans are a crimson noose around your neck” what he is saying is that all there propaganda are a way of them convincing you to fight. Crimson which mean to become red, is a reference to how these politicians are commanding these soldiers like puppets. Because of these metaphors and attention-asking question I find this poem a incredible representation how it truly was in the war. It wasn’t only bad on the battle field already at home the false representation of war and propaganda made it bad already.

 

Wilhelm Klemm (1914)

Battle on the Marne (September 1914)

 By: Wilhelm Klemm

Slowly the stones begin moving and speaking
The grasses freeze to green metal. The woods,
Deep dense hideouts, devour distant platoons.
The heavens, the chalk-white mystery, threaten to burst.
Two colossal hours roll out to two minutes.
The empty horizon expands upwards

My heart is as large as Germany and France together,
Bored through by all the bullets of the world.
The battery raises its lion voice
Six times out into the land. The shells howl.
Stillness. In the distance, the infantry fire seethes,
For days, for weeks.

Analysis of Poem:

 The battle of the Marne, which is written by a German war poet called Wilhelm Kelmm, is an accurate description of how the Battle of Marne occurred in August 1914. The first paragraph of the poem is a quite realistic depiction of what happened in the battle of Marne, with as well apocalyptic traits. The sentence “The freezing to the grass green metal” is a way in which Kelmm expresses the huge numbers of death, he tries to explain that nature has demon-like features. This description can be seen with “Slowly the stones begin moving and speaking” what he is implying here is that the geographical layout of Marne is destroyed by the shelling and shooting. Furthermore, in the second part of the paragraph Kelmm identifies with countries, the suffering and killing, which is done by all the bullets, and firing of shells, hence the sentence “the battery raises its lion voice”. His last sentence Kelmm says “for days, for weeks” even though the battle of Marne did not last that long I think that Kelmm was implying the pain which was caused by the war and that for the war actually never stopped.

In the poem of Kelmm, you see that he uses a lot of metaphors. An example being the following “My heart is as large as Germany and France together” it can be seen that this is a metaphor because Kelmm used the word “as” in his expression. He as well uses personification, which can be seen in the sentence: “the battery raises its lion voice”. What Kelmm means by this is that the battery which is how a line of artillery was set up, fired its shells hence it lion voice.

Self-Made Poem:

 We started with hope

Chanting away, and scrupulous

Marching through the thicket woodland

In seek for triumph, for my mother

Yet to be confronted by a black heaven

The leaves fell on each soldier

Stillness throughout the battle, interrupted by the caitiff of a battery

For with, we hope upon are return

Since we were misconceived by the so-called glory of this forsaken battle

Battle of Cambrai

Battle of Cambrai

The Battle of Cambrai was an attacked launched by the British in November 1917. Although the attack itself was rather pointless, it revealed new tactical innovations that could be used to break the deadlock on the Western front. One of the most spectacular new tactics was the use of tanks (History.com Staff, Battle of Cambrai). Although tanks had been field tested before, this time, they were used with significant force. However, the tanks had already gained a bad reputation regarding their effectiveness on the battlefield. The German high command already knew the tanks were ineffective and they could be easily taken out with concentrated artillery fire (History.com Staff, Battle of Cambrai).

British Commander-In-Chief Douglas Haig wanted to continue tank operations at Passchendaele but was left disappointed by their lack of progress. Hence, Haig returned to an initial plan created by Lieutenant-Colonel John Fuller to use the tanks in a location with better climatic conditions so that the tanks could operate better. Fuller’s plan was taken through to Third Army Commander Julian Byng. Fuller’s plan inherited the idea that the tanks would retreat once they successfully raided German lines. However, Byng altered the plan to design a major allied breakthrough. (Michael Duffy, Firstworldwar.com)

The attack was launched at dawn on the morning of November 20th, 1917. A total of 476 tanks joined together with six infantry and two cavalry divisions advanced across a 10km front. The German Second Army faced the massive British offensive and being too lightly defended, the Germans were forced back around 6km to Cambrai. The British achieved great success on the first day, capturing around 8,000 prisoners. (Michael Duffy, Firstworldwar.com)

Impressed by the success of the first day, Haigh decided to press on with the attack. However, lack of available support resulted in a loss of momentum. On the other side, the Germans planned a counterattack after discovering that there were no more available reinforcements. The local German commander worked towards regaining the land that was lost to the British. 20 German divisions were deployed using Hutier infiltration tactics and within the week, all lost ground was recaptured. (Michael Duffy, Firstworldwar.com)

Strategic Analysis

As touched on before, the Germans used Hutier infiltration tactics to counter the British offensive. These tactics usually began with concentrated bombardments of the enemy line. This was done to allow the infantry to move forward. The bombardments also targeted roads, command stations, and enemy artillery. This was mainly done to confuse the enemy and cause chaos within the allied trenches. This reduced their capability to launch another counter-attack from the second line. Light infantry led the German attack, these soldiers would try to penetrate weak points and isolate heavily defended points among the front lines. Heavier infantrymen followed-up who then had a great advantage when breaking down enemy defences. Other reinforcements would then enter the breaches, soon the entire trench would collapse.