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26

To expand on Sid's answer, for those who are interested. Unfortunately, it is likely to continue for a fair while. Estimates given by ordnance disposal experts in Belgium by the (BBC in 1998) and by The Telegraph in 2013 estimate that the last un-exploded munitions from WW1 won't be removed for another 50 to 400 years. It is estimated that for every square ...


25

Italy's main issue was its enmity with Austria-Hungary, Germany's main ally. That made Italy the "odd man out" in the so-called Triple Alliance with the other two. Italy had joined (reluctantly) with Germany out of a fear of France. This occurred when France and Britain concluded an alliance that made Britain responsible for the mutual defense of the ...


20

As Shmuel Brill points out, there really wasn't a way around the trenches, the only choice was through, and that was a tough proposition. We're talking about ground troops who do not have significant body armor other than a helmet, armed primarily with bolt action rifles and bayonets, advancing on foot over significant distances of open ground against ...


18

Very unfavorable. While the Treaty of Versailles doesn't explicitly call it a surrender, Germany did surrender and was forced to accept all responsibility for the war (while obviously not being the only party responsible). I will refer to the text of the treaty in the following. In particular: Germany lost the Saar Basin to France "as compensation for the ...


18

Simply because Switzerland was a worse alternative plan strategically than Netherlands and Belgium. Hitler had a plan to attack Switzerland, named Operation Tannenbaum but the Maginot line could be breached through Belgium and Netherland. So it became needless conflict with no gain. It is a less known fact that Switzerland (German part namely) was part of ...


17

Here are some rough specs for common planes (as I said in the comment, the endurance depends on various factors). Sopwith Camel (BR) combat endurance (at 1000 m) - 2:30 (hr.:min.) cruise endurance (...) - 5:00 SPAD S.XIII (FR) combat endurance (...) - 1:30-2:00 cruise endurance (...) - 3:00 Albatross D.III (GER) combat endurance (...) - 1:30-2:00 ...


16

Here's the exact description of the photo, according to Hitlerpages.com: Hitler and his fellow-soldiers in Fournes en Weppes, April 1915. First row: Adolf Hitler, Balthasar Brandmayer, Anton Bachmann, Foxl, Max Mund. Second row: Ernst Schmidt, Johann Sperl, Jakob Weiß, Karl Tiefenböck. This way, your man is called Balthasar Brandmayer. But it ...


16

This isn't quite accurate. After WWI Germany was saddled with two kinds of war debts. The first kind, reparations, were payable to the aggrieved parties. The value of this was set via the Treaty of Versailles in Gold Marks, which are gold backed, and thus cannot inflate or deflate relative to gold. The second kind was in loans the German government took ...


15

The moral justification isn't hard to find. Russia was the only Allied power to enter the war "on its own". If you look at the stated reasons of other countries: Germany declared war on France because it expected France to ally with Russia. Great Britain joined the war because Germany violated Belgian neutrality. And USA joined the war because of German ...


15

Shields for soldiers were tried during the First World War. In order to stop high power rifle rounds, they had to be rather heavy weight steel plate. This made them difficult to move and carry. One French design made a wheeled shield known as the Mobile Personnel Shield. This proved too heavy and cumbersome to use in combat. However, it may have played a ...


15

I think the book For the Common Defense: A Military History of the United States of America said it best on page 346 "The American role in World War I derived its character less from strategic thinking than from the geopolitical notion that the future well-being of the United States depended upon the balance of power in Europe and the outcome of the war." ...


14

Complimentary to Tom's answer, you have to ask yourself which side they'd come in on. There's nothing really useful in terms of territory they could get out of Germany or Austria-Hungary, since both were way on the other side of Europe. If they'd gone in on the other side, they could perhaps have gotten useful territory from France. However, French forces ...


13

The effect of WWI on the US economy was considerable. There are two effects that the war had on the US economy: short term, and long term. For the short term effect the US economy grew in the buildup to the war and during its prosecution. From 1915 the US made tons of loans to the UK to help them in their war effort. It is not a stretch to say that WWI was ...


13

Church bells have both an ecclesiastical use, and a secular use. In the secular realm, church bells are used to notify the local inhabitants of emergency conditions (particularly in an era when wireless & TV are not commonplace). Church bells were silenced to prevent false alarms. Ringing church bells was forbidden by the Defense of the Realm Act. ...


12

It is really, really hard to assign guilt or blame like this in most wars. I think in some ways we are spoiled by World War II, it being about a classic evil mastermind trying to take over the world and all, who kept taking over land and countries until it was clear that the best diplomatic efforts of everyone else had failed. That's just not how most wars ...


12

I think you're asking two questions: why were such harsh conditions imposed, and why did Germany accept. As for why they were imposed: "Some also argue that the treaty was meant to permanently render Germany useless as a military might" – Not so totally, but I think this is the answer. It's what the French wanted, and their security concerns won out over ...


11

The Eastern Crisis was certainly one of the factors that led to World War I, however it was not the only one. On the one hand, clearly the decay of the Ottoman Empire caused both Austria-Hungary and Russia to seek control over the Balkans. These two countries started WWI, mainly over their interests on the Balkans (with the assassination of Franz Ferdinand ...


11

It's unclear if you mean whether it was (1) a ruse by Wilson against the American public, or (2) Germany against the USA, or (3) Germany against Mexico, or (4) British against USA? As far as being a ruse by Wilson (e.g. he made up the telegram to present to Congress), this can likely be discounted since there is documentary evidence - in 2005, an ...


11

Switzerland isn't much of a "prize." It has about 16,000 square miles, and about 4.5 million people in 1940 making it twice the size of New Jersey, with about as many people. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switzerland On both counts, it is one of the smaller countries in Europe, and less worth having. On the other hand, Switzerland maintains a policy of armed ...


11

The Daily Express just took the caption from Getty Images without substantial modification. Regarding Pohlberg, see the german wikipedia on "Pöhlberg". The Pöhlberg is a mountain in saxony; according to wikipedia, the name was applied by the german soldiers from saxony also to a mountain near Reims / Moronvilliers (maybe this one - there's still a "Camp ...


10

World War One was at the dawn of the modern military age. Military leaders had to adapt to new technologies with new strategies. Near the beginning of the war, soldiers would just stand up out of their trenches and shoot each other. Later, elaborate tactics and new technologies were employed. The battle of Vimy Ridge details the adoption of no less than six ...


9

I strongly suspect that it is due to technical limitations: Rifle bullets travel at very, very high velocity, and thus even a steel shield would be unlikely to stop them. I recall hearing that the metal helmets they wore would not stop a direct hit, so I don't think a shield would either, at least not when limited by the amount a human can support. If you ...


9

The Allies never did make a real breakthrough in the West. At the end of the war, they were pushing the German Army back, but never breaking through. The Germans did, against the Allies, but it's a matter of question whether German offensive practices were better than Allied, or Allied defensive practices were worse than German. Given that the British and ...


9

There were two power blocs, the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy), and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia). Spain was part of neither and had no reason to support one or the other.(Italy later switched sides). Spain was fortunate to be outside of the main battle areas: France, Belgium, Poland, the Balkans, western Russia. It had no ...


9

WWI was a pivotal time in military tactics due to the number of technological advances in warfare that had been relatively unused until that point in time. Machine guns had developed to a point that isn't much different from modern designs; field artillery had gotten a lot bigger, was capable of indirect fire, and had many different munition options; ...


9

The difficulty is that, by a suitably chosen narrow meaning of defeat: Destruction of the army in the field, loss of all conquered territory, or significant loss of hoe country areas, the German Army wasn't defeated. Here is a map that shows the Allied March to the Rhine after the Armistice; which thus shows that on Nov 11, 1918, the Germans still held all ...


9

There were massive casualties on all sides, but the French had suffered the largest losses of the major Allies and the sentiment in France was extremely hostile towards Germany. French PM Clemenceau was adamant that he wanted to cripple Germany's power. As he said to Wilson: “America is far away, protected by the ocean. Not even Napoleon himself could ...


8

"The world must be made safe for democracy." - Woodrow Wilson The irony of Wilson's quote is that WWI did not directly make the world safe for democracy. In fact WWI directly led to the rise of state socialism in the former Russian Empire with its evolution into the USSR, and the rise of fascism in Italy and Germany. From a European standpoint WWI ...


8

Britain didn't use their navy because ships don't work on land. You need boots on the ground to exert control. They could have bombed the few coastal cities and fortifications, but it wouldn't have achieved much. It would still be necessary to break the enemy line and posses their territory which the ships couldn't do. All that could be achieved is the ...



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