The Failure of the German Spring Offensive of 1918

Essay by KeirHigh School, 10th grade January 2007

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After a continual stalemate in 1916 and 1917 on the Western Front, Germany attempted to break through the deadlock and deliver the fatal blow to the Allies. Why did the Hundred Days Offensive successfully break through the German defenses? The reasons lie in the planning process and the operation process of the German Spring Offensive. Why did the German Spring Offensive of 1918 fail? This question would present the background to the Hundred Days Offensive and the signing of armistice by Germany. This question is often overlooked. Many historical books specifically discuss the Hundred Days Offensive and not the Spring Offensive.

Since this is a broad topic, the essay discusses the answers to this question from both the Allied and the German sides. The analysis does discuss the battles in the Offensive, but it primarily focuses on the situation of the society, industry, and the significant decisions behind the frontlines.

With the assistance of primary and secondary sources, the essay discusses and explains the 5 primary reasons that resulted in the failure of the Offensive. Even before the Spring Offensive, General Ludendorff made serious mistakes concerning the movement of his men and weapons from the Eastern Front to the Western Front. During the Spring Offensive, he made tactical and strategic mistakes. In other words, he missed opportunities that could have won him the Offensive. Germany's weaponry production declined in 1918, and these weapons were crucial to the Germans for the past successes. To maker matters worse, the forces lacked food as well. Ukraine did not live up to their expectations.

In the very end, America's moral, industrial, and military reinforcements, along with the reasons listed above, ultimately halted the German attacks and turned the defense into the offense that eventually won the war for the Allies.

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