There are many factors affecting the end of World War One, but there are three factors, which are particularly important; German weakness, American intervention and malaise with war, each of which will be discussed in this essay. Why was Germany weak? After all, its armies had won on the eastern front and were winning on the western front (excluding the second factor of American intervention. ) Germany’s weakness becomes quite evident when we investigate the situation on Germany’s “home front. Germany was experiencing severe famine, most of the people were starving and the politicians were worried.
Why? Russia had been a major power in the war until “the people” revolted against their autocratic Czar, German politicians were afraid that the starving German people would follow suit. In 1918 Germany also lost the support of Bulgaria, Austro-Hungary and Turkey. This made the situation worse for the Germans; not only were its people discontented; they had lost all support from the “Central Powers. It could be argued that due to their fears and defeat of the other “Central Powers” they initiated armistice talks in October 1918 with the Allies.
However when we introduce American intervention into the equation we are presented with a new situation. When America joined the war in 1917 they brought with them what both sides desperately needed; munitions, morale, fresh men, technology, food and new leadership. Although many of the victories against the Axis powers were not credited to America, they took a considerable amount of the strain away from the allies on the western front.
Therefore the Allies could spare forces for new offensives against the Axis powers; they also provided the supplies for these offensives to take place. The Americans played their most vital role in the summer of 1918 when the German offensive threw the British and French forces back 65km. Working with French and British soldiers they halted the final German offensive and then aided the Allied counter attack. Most notably on 12th September they defeated a particularly strong German salient at Saint-Mihiel capturing 14,000 men.
Finally what role did malaise with war play in the end of World War One? The politicians from both sides had promised a short war. They bombarded the public with propaganda claiming, “The War will be over by Christmas! ” However by November 1918 the war had lasted for over a year and every family had experienced a death. Soldiers and sailors on both sides revolted against their commanders, but weather or not this greatly contributed to the end of the war is highly unlikely.
It is most likely, that the politicians noticed that the public were fed-up with the war and therefore attempted to end the war. This is evident in Germany where the generals ordered a desperate final offensive. Most of the soldiers on the western front were utilised, gaining more ground than anyone had through the whole war. Eventually Allied troops halted the offensive; noticing that it had lost its strength and momentum they launched a counter attack which smashed through the German lines, by November 1918 they had reached Sedan and the Germans were in fast retreat.
In a final attempt to win the war the Germans had compromised their defence, allowing the Allies to break through their lines and defeat them. At 11:00am on the 11th November 1918 fighting stopped on all fronts! To conclude, all the factors affecting the end to World War One affect each other. It is impossible to prove that any one of them ended the war, as they are all inter-related. It is true however to state that if any one of the three factors were missing, the war would have finished very differently.