Why Did Ww1 Last So Long

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The war of movement until November 1914 changed to a war of attrition at the Battle of Ypres. This meant the war was a stalemate and would not be ended quickly or even by Christmas. The scale of the war was a major factor in determining how long it lasted. It was the first global war, something never seen before and became known as the Great War or, to later generations World War 1. The number of troops mobilised was larger than had ever been seen in conflicts before. Besides the regular armies, Germany, Austria-Hungary and France were able to call up large numbers of reserve troops who had been trained through conscription. This saw all men were required to undertake three years of basic military training. The original BEF also changed to a conscript army and men aged 18-40 were called up to fight. One of the main causes of the war lasting so long was the failure of the Schlieffen plan. This was due to the Belgians putting up a fight that was not expected by the Germans and the British, honouring the 75 year old, ‘Treaty of London’, came to the aid of Belgium. Also, the Russians built up their army quicker than expected and forced Germany to split her forces and fight a war on both the eastern and western front. This was very important because Germany was not prepared for this war on two fronts. The Schlieffen plan predicted a quick victory over France within six weeks, which was the estimated time it would take Russia to fully mobilise. After this both sides dug in and the ‘war of movement turned into a ‘war of Attrition’, essentially a stalemate, where one side would advance, be pushed back and then the other in successive waves. The weapons used by both armies were also more suited to defence than attack, this made breakthrough for either side difficult. Barbed wire was cheap and easy to produce, but very hard to penetrate. It was often up to 20m
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