World War One dominates the history of the 20th century. Its effects were felt long after it ended. Its uneasy outcome paved the way for a second and worse conflict. World War One had many bloody battles and campaigns, but in this essay I will discuss which battle was the most important.
Which battle was the most important one in World War One? The theme of the war was a huge military effort that involved many battles and about 70 million soldiers, 9 million of which were killed. It is extremely difficult to decide which battle is the most important due to these factors. Of the many important battles, I have chosen to summarize a few and to choose one as the most important. The first really important battle was the first battle of the Marne. In this battle the heavily outnumbered French forces held off the first German invasion at the Marne River.
This battle forced the Germans to regroup North of the Marne and destroyed the Schlieffen Plan.
The Schlieffen Plan was the German plan of attack. Its objective was to knock the French out of the war before Russia would conquer eastern Germany. It unleashed three quarters of the German army in a giant westward sweep across Belgium and Luxembourg, and then into a giant wheel South into France.
This plan accepted the risks of an early Russian attack on the eastern front, so when the French destroyed it the German objective wasn't attained and it left the Russians with an open window for an attack. The Russians took this opportunity and attacked, which brings us to our second most important battle.
The Russians sent two armies into Germany that met in Tannenberg. Due to an error one army arrived before the other, but still had superior numbers. The battle of Tannenberg was a lot like the First battle of the Marne. In it and overwhelmed and outnumbered defensive force destroyed an offensive force that had superior numbers. The Germans completely destroyed the first army that arrived then launched a counterattack and met the second army at the battle of the Masurian lakes and forced them to retreat too. In both battles combined the Germans captured a total of over 100,000 men and 500 guns. Another very important battle in World War One was Gallipoli. Winston Chuchill proposed taking Turkey out of the war by Naval action, and Britain attempted to do this in the Battle of Gallipoli. The first stage of the battle was a series of bombardments by the allies along the Dardanelles Straits. Minesweeping then followed along the length of the strait. If this had been effective the campaign might have been successful, but the threat of mines was not eliminated. The second phase of the battle was the bombardment of more Turkish positions, but three battleships were destroyed by mines, and three more severely damaged. The effort to force the straits was suspended. Instead, as a third phase of the operation, a land expedition was mounted. This led to the slaughter of the allied armies. When the allies retreated they left behind about 200,000 dead comrades. The loss at Gallipoli caused Winston Churchill to resign as first lord of admiralty.
Another very important battle of World War One was the battle of Verdun. The French stationed a lot of forces in Verdun, then Germany attacked. On the first day of the assault more than one million shells fell on the French positions. Soon Fort Douaumont an important French defensive position north of Verdun fell to the Germans. The defense of the town was entrusted to Philippe Petain the next day. The defense of Verdun soon became an emblem of French military might. The city itself was of no strategic importance, but losing it would have been politically catastrophic. For this reason, the French insisted upon holding the city. The French defended Verdun with 259 of their 330 infantry regiments. The more the French resisted, the more important taking Verdun became to the Germans. Eventually another important defensive position, Fort Vaux, fell to the Germans. Only a few weeks later the Germans almost broke the allied lines, but made no further progress afterwards. About four months after that, the French retook Fort Douaumont and Fort Vaux. About two months later the battle was over. The battle lasted almost a year, but the French had held Verdun. One more very important battle of world war one was the second battle of the Marne. This took place in 1918. The Germans had begun one last offensive.
They pushed the allies as far back as the Marne, where another battle ensued. The allies launched a counter-offensive and pushed the Germans back over the Marne. The loss here broke the Germans' morale. From that point on the allies never lost the initiative. The allies pushed on through Belgium and Luxembourg and held the Germans in Germany. The War was over.
Overall, I think that the most important battle in World War One was the second battle of the Marne. It broke the Germans' spirit and forced them to retreat. It also crushed their last hope of winning the war.