The Contribution of the Battle of the Somme to the Allied Victory in the First World War

The Contribution of the Battle of the Somme to the Allied Victory in the First World War

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The Contribution of the Battle of the Somme to the Allied Victory in the First World War

The conclusion to the First World War was the armistice in 1918. The
allies were victorious. The question that needs to be asked is if, how
and to what an extent the Battle of the Somme in 1916 contributed and
helped this victory. The popular view is that the Somme may have
hindered the allies in their quest for victory and that in no way was
the Somme a major factor in the allied victory. However, it can be
argued that the Somme was an integral and crucial part leading up to
the armistice in 1918.

It can be argued that the Somme was an indirect cause of the allied
victory. The combined pressures of the Somme, Verdun and the War at
Sea (the blockade and naval war) lead to desperation manoeuvres by the
Germans, such as the Spring Offensive and more importantly
'Unrestricted U-boat warfare. After the Somme, they had concluded that
they could not win the war on the Western Front. This decision had
severe implications on Germany. There was the potential now for
attacks to be launched on U.S. ships, causing a loss in American
lives. Germany must have known that a threat on American lives could
bring America into the war. This illustrates the desperation of the
Germans as a result of the Somme. As the Germans feared, this was the
significant factor into American entry into the war. This had a
enormous psychological effect on Germany. America had the potential
for an army far greater than any other. They had to concede defeat.
The Somme was instrumental in this chain of events that led to the
German defeat.

A crucial point in the war on the Western Front after the Somme is
that the German and British armies had greatly changed during the
course of the Somme. "… the German Army suffered in the Somme battles
to such an extent that… it was never again the effective fighting
machine of early 1916.

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"1 Whereas a previously amateur British army was
now "… a military machine the equal of any on earth."1 The Somme can
be seen as a turning point in the war on the Western Front. "…the
Germans really faced the beginning of the end."2 The German army was
also weaker in other ways. The Somme had a deep psychological effect
on the Germans, lowering their morale. It was obvious that the Germans
were on the brink of defeat. "We must save the men from a second Somme
battle" Ludendorff said. Their own commander accepted how great an
affect the Somme had on the Germans. The statement also suggests how
another battle like this would have been a knockout blow.

So it seems that the Somme was important leading up to the allied
victory. It played a role in many ways, bringing the allies closer to
victory. It can be concluded that it definitely contributed to the
allied victory in the First World War. Perhaps it is true that "…it is
difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Somme was an essential
precondition to success in the last two years of the war."1 However it
seems more likely that it may not have been as instrumental as the
British superiority at sea, but the Somme definitely helped,
cumulatively with other factors, to deliver the knockout blow in 1918.
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