Germany in the Great War

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Surnames/tags: The Great War WWI World War I
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Germany in The Great War



The Great War started with a bullet that killed the Austrian leader and his wife, but countries had been arming their military in the past years. With the murder, Austra- Hungary declared war against Serbia. Germany's kaiser encouraged Vienna to settle accounts with Serbia. There was a domino effect. By issuing a “blank check” to Austria‐Hungary on 5 July 1914, this seems to have increased the speed of the domino's falling for this war. The risk was high when dealing with powers as their armies were ready, and means to accomplish this.

Two camps: the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria‐Hungary, Italy) and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia), also known as Allied Powers which included Serbia's protector, the Czarist government. Following many years the Central powers, of which Germany was one were defeated by the Allied Powers. Germany sent forces to both its western and eastern front, a strain on the military. In the beginning East Prussia invaded Germany in 1914.

Crown Prince.

The lack of food which Germany was importing, did cause a food shortage The winter of 1916-1917 was Turnip Winter. The potato crop was poor, and agriculture suffered due to a large military recruitment left fewer people to farm. Less potatoes meant German people ate turnips (usually used for livestock).

Invasion of Belgium.
Germans heading for France.

Signs on the railroad car say "See you in Paris". German government, authoritarians thought the war would end their problems with France, Russia and Britain. No one was expecting it to last longer than a few months. It lasted 1914-1919 during which 474,000 civilians died (exhaustion, disease).

Kaiser Wilhelm II was the last Kaiser (emperor) of the German Empire. His first cousin was George V, (King of England). His second cousin was Nicholas II (Tsar of Russia). He eventually lost the support of the army, so that he retained very little power to issue commands by end of the war. In 1918, he abdicated the throne, fleeing the country.

Generals: German Army (Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger). General Erich Ludendorff and Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg - army

Schlieffen Plan.

German army began the World War I using a the war on the Western Front with a modified version of the Schlieffen Plan on its Western Front. This was to blast through neutral Belgium then quickly attack France then turn down south before overcoming and closing the circle around the French army on the German border.


  • Schlieffen Plan
  • Aug., 1914 - Battle of Frontiers First clash of the First World War
Battle of Frontiers.
  • Sept. 5-12, 1914 - Battle of Marne an Allied victory against German advance into France, near E. outskirts of Paris. The counter-attack by 6 French armies plus (BEF) near the Marne River, forced the Imperial German Army to retreat NW.
Ypres Nov, 1914.
  • 4 more years of trench warfare on the Western Front
  • 19-Jan-1915, 3 German navy Zeppelins headed for Britain. The L 6 suffered a mechanical malfunction and returned to base. The L 3 and L 4 made it to their general target area but managed to inflict little military damage.
  • Verdun (Feb. 21–18 Dec. 18, 1916) 1,250,000 and lasted 303 days!!
  • Somme - July 1- Nov. 18, 1816 -400,000 German casualties, against over 600,000 Allied casualties. By now Schlieffen Plan which sounded ideal was not working as well as it sounded. Belgium put up resistance. France was ready for Germany. Somme was one of the bloodiest battles. First time the "tank" had been used. 1,000,000 men were wounded or killed
  • Brusilov offensive"'on Eastern front caused more loses with along with western offensive.
Somme and Verdun battles drained the best military forces, problems with transportaion, and command decisions.
  • German Foreign Secretary Arthur Zimmermann sent a coded telegram to Count Johann von Bernstorff, German ambassador to Mexico if Mexico became an ally. Britain intercepted the telegram and forwarded it to the United States.
Zimmerman coded Telegram.
  • 1917 - Victories in Serbia, Greece, Italy, and Russia made great gains for the Central Powers
  • Early 1918 - Defeat of Russia -


Trench warfare was a new type of warfare.

In the Trenches.
Digging trenches
German hand grenades.

GASES used in World War I

  • In the first month of the war, August 1914, French fired tear-gas grenades (xylyl bromide) against the Germans.
  • Chlorine gas - used by Germans against French. A yellow-green cloud drifted slowly towards their line. This gas would cause the victim to violently cough and choke. Wind conditions had to be evaluated as if releasing gas from cylinders could blow back upon the military using this.
  • Phosgene did not cause much coughing, so that many of both German and Allied armies inhaled it. Result was a delayed effect: apparently healthy soldiers were taken down with phosgene gas poisoning up to 48 hours after inhalation.
  • "White star" mixture of phosgene and chlorine was tried on the Battle of the Somme: the chlorine content supplied the necessary vapour with which to carry the phosgene.
  • Germany next tried another gas weaponry against the Russians at Riga in September 1917: mustard gas (or Yperite) contained in artillery shells. It causes blisters internally and externally. Protection against mustard gas proved more difficult than against either chlorine or phosgene gas.


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