Investigating Why the Open War of Movement Became a Stationary War in the Trenches by November 1914

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Investigating Why the Open War of Movement Became a Stationary War in the Trenches by November 1914 World War 1 had begun in August with both sides certain that their sudden attacks with cavalry and infantry would create a war of rapid movement, which would bring them a swift victory. The ending of this possibility and build up towards a stationary war of fixed entrenchment was not only due to the failure of the Schlieffen Plan and Plan XVII, but the problems in communications, problems faced through tactics and strategies and the role of the commanders throughout the planning and progression of the war. The possibility of further outflanking movements was gone. The initially hastily constructed trenches of the allied forcers took on a more permanent look as two massive armies consisting of over 4 million men faced each other over 800 kilometres of continuous trench lines from the coast of Belgium to the Swiss border. For the next four years, the rival commanders struggled and blundered in an attempt to find a way to break the stalemate, which had emerged by the end of 1914. In order to break the stalemate there were two major offensives remembered from 1916, which both failed but were attempts none the less. Both sides had become aware that it was easier to hold a defensive position than it was to launch an offensive. However, this did not stop them, launching repeated disastrous offensives, relying on weight of men, artillery and supplies to crumble the opposition through attrition and each side endeavored to weaken the other. The generals decided only a 'big push' would be able to break through the enemy lines and restart the war of rapid movement. This was not achieved until the attrition of 1915-18 finally weakened the German lines in mid-1918. The Schlieffen Plan, originally devised by Alfred von Schlieffen, the then German Army Chief of Staff, in 1905, was the German Plan which would they would implement to avoid a war on two fronts. Schlieffen argued that France had to be defeated as soon as possible in the event

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