WHY DID GERMANY LOSE WORLD WAR I?
Despite the fact that Germany was a powerful country at the start of World War I in 1914 it was still unable to win the overall war. At the outbreak of the war Germany’s army was well-trained and had over 4 million soldiers, and would prove a difficult opponent on the battlefields of Europe. Its army is what helped Germany last through the miserable 4 years of fighting on the Western and Eastern Fronts of the war. However, Germany lacked the colonies of both France and Britain which meant that it did not have the vast natural resources or colonial populations that either of those countries had. In 1914, Britain had 5 times as many colonies as Germany while France had over two times as many. Having these empires allowed both Britain and France to continue fighting for much longer as they were able to use the colonial resources to restock the war effort and they were able to use soldiers from their empires to help fight on the fronts in Europe.
At the start of the war in 1914, Germany anticipated the issue of not having a large empire and planned to end the war as quickly as possible. Germany attempted to knock France out of the war first through the use of the Schlieffen Plan. The German plan of attack called for Germany to invade France through Belgium and to force France from the fighting. Then Germany could turn its attention towards Russian forces in the east and avoid fighting a two-front war. The Schlieffen Plan failed due to French resistance at the First Battle of the Marne on the Western Front and the European powers participated in four years of trench warfare. The failure of the Schlieffen Plan ultimately forced Germany to fight a two-front war from which they could not overcome and did not have the colonies to support the war effort.
The final reason for Germany’s failure in World War I was its decision to carry out submarine attack against merchant ships in the Atlantic Ocean during the war. Germany launched many U-boats (submarines) during World War I and used them to try to force Britain from the war. Britain, an island nation, depended upon merchant ships from Canada and the United States to maintain its supplies for the war effort and for the home front. Germany hoped that by attacking these merchant ships they could force Britain to withdraw from the war and help improve the German situation in the trenches of the Western Front. However, the German plan caused the United States to join the war effort on the side of the Allied Powers after German U-boats repeatedly sunk ships that contained American citizens. The American troops helped drive the Allied advance in the final Allied push of the war and ultimately caused Germany to accept the terms of the armistice on November 11th, 1918.