The Battle of the Selle Ludendorff Resigns I THE GREAT WAR Week 221

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dictator of Germany for more than a year, but this week the power of Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff breaks. I m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. Last Week the Allies finally overran the Hindenburg Line, Germany s powerful Western front defenses.

The Allied Breakthroughs On The Macedonian And

Palestine fronts continued, and UK President Woodrow Wilson rejected an armistice proposal from the German Chancellor. Though that didn t end the back and forth over conditions for such an end to hostilities. . On October 12th, the German government accepted a condition of Wilson

S-Complete Withdrawal Of Troops From France And Belgium.

However,. On October 10th, the steamer Leinster was torpedoed and sunk in the Irish Sea. 501 people lost their lives. The Hysteria.

  • armistice
  • armistices
  • allied
  • woodrow
  • hindenburg

This Provoked In The Uk Was Like

the Lusitania sinking all over again. Now, UK Hysteria in the UK. ##NK] was already huge by this time Anyhow, and Wilson had been repeatedly criticized for his gentle tone in his responses to the Germans.

And With Only A Small Majority

in Congress and mid-term elections coming up November 5th, his Democrats could well soon lose control of the war situation. But that sinking made the Allies double down and toughen peace terms. . It also allowed Wilson to write a new note to Berlin, demanding an end to UK warfare, attacking the threat of the German military elite-saying the militarist government must be deposed and a constitutional one begun before any armistice, but also saying that now Armistice terms were not going to be settled with him, nor with the other Allies all acting together, but by the commanders in the field. .

Wilson Had Taken Himself Out Of The

game. BritishNK] David British UK David Lloyd George UK worried that if an armistice gave the Germans a respite, they might reorganize and recover. He raised for consideration the question as to whether the actual military defeat of Germany and the giving to the German people a real taste of war was not more important, from the point of view of the peace of the world, than a surrender at the present time when the German armies were still on foreign territory.

But, What Did The German High

Command think Well, Grand Admiral Tirpitz wrote to Chancellor Max von Baden that they should reinforce the western front and continue the submarine campaign, and on the 17th, there was a gathering of the Crown Council. The Kaiser asked Ludendorff what they should tell Wilson, and Ludendorff now said, unlike a couple weeks ago, that they should continue to fight. . He did not think an. Allied breakthrough was likely, and anyhow, in a month or so winter would bring action in the field to a halt.

If.

They withdrew to a line that was based on Antwerp and the River Meuse,. They could plan a spring offensive of their own and retake all the lost parts of Belgium. . German Minister of War Heinrich Scheuch figured he could get maybe 600,000 army reinforcements, but also-a note of realism.

Here-That If The Oil Supply From Romania Were

cut off, the army could only fight for six weeks, and what at this point could really prevent the Allied Army of the Orient, now moving up through the Balkans, from making it to RomaniaNK] By. This point, units of the various nationalities in the empire were leaving their army and marching home. Ludendorff was pretty irrational by this meeting, and threatened to resign if the other. Other generals even got to air their opinions. .

  • lloyd george uk worried armistice
  • allies finally overran hindenburg line
  • kaiser asked ludendorff tell wilson
  • german government accepted condition wilson
  • provoked uk like lusitania sinking

He Also Demanded That The U-Boat

campaign continue, in direct defiance of Wilson. The Kaiser agreed to this,, but Max, who d only been Chancellor for days. , did not. He used Ludendorff

S Tried And True Tactic-Threatening To Resign If

Wilsons terms were not accepted, and it was actually Max who won the day. UK . .

.

letting him go so soon after attaching importance to the creation of his liberal government was impossible. In so doing, he broke Ludendorff

S Power At A Single Stroke.

Yep, and when Crown Prince Rupprecht, in charge of the Army Group North on the western front. , sent a warning that if there was no armistice Soon, then Germany would be invaded. , he sent it to Max, not Ludendorff.

And.

Things were certainly looking grimmer and grimmer for the Germans on the Western Front. On the The 14th came another big attack in Flanders under Belgian King Albert, with American bombers flying deep into the enemy communication lines, in five days they advanced 30 km, took 12,000 prisoners, and 550 guns. But. This was bigger than that maybe Sounds.

The German Navy Evacuated Ostend And

Zeebrugge. On. The 17th, the Belgians entered Ostend. The British occupy Lille without firing a shot. The Allies, in fact, pushed up to the Dutch border.

But They Were Attacking Along The Whole Front.

On. The 17th, the Battle of the Selles began. This was against the Hermann Position defense line. German Chief of Staff Paul von Hindenburg thought this was vital to hold to help during armistice negotiations.

.

The River itself was a big tank obstacle, there was marshland around it, and of course the German artillery and machine guns on the eastern side were nothing to sneeze at. So. Instead of any sort of Amiens surprise, the British were going to just bomb the hell out of it. .

For.

Two days, they hammered it with 1,320 guns, concentrating on the German artillery and communications lines. AT 0520. The 17th, four British and two American divisions went over the top, setting up floating bridges, on a 16 km front south of Le Cateau. .

Progress Was Made In Spite Of

heavy opposition and Le Cateau captured by the evening. As. The week ended, the British 4th Army, assisted by the French 1st Army on the right, continued to advance, hoping to push the Germans back to theNK] Canal. Further to the east, the Americans launched a new attack on the UK front. The 14th.

14Th.

This still fails to reach the Kriemhilde Stellung, the main German defense there, but over the next few days, the Americans finally managed to take the highest points of the ridge-Cote Dame Marie and Romagne. The Kriemhilde Stellung fell the 16th and the Americans had finally achieved their objectives of September 26th. They had now broken the main German positions and faced one final defensive line-the Freya Stellung-before they could break out. American Commander John Pershing also had done a major reorganization, creating the American 2nd Army, under Lieutenant General Robert Bullard, with Hunter Liggett, now commanding the First Army.

Pershing Was In Command Of The

Army Group. And another Allied front-one that we haven t heard much from lately-was going to heat up soon. After beating back the Austrians After beating back the Austrians at the Battle of the Piave, Italian Army Chief of Staff Armando Diaz had been pressured by Allied Supreme Command to launch his own offensive,, but he stuck to limited attacks, contending that the Austrians were still too strong. .

He Was Thinking He

d have to be ready for a German offensive in the winter and his own one. In spring 1919. But things had seriously changed by this time. ; Bulgaria was out of the war, which exposed Austria to a lot of danger from the south,NK] looked like it might break up anyhow, and since Germany and Austria had both publicly requested armistices.

, Diaz Was Now Committed To An Assault.

The idea was to attack on the Piave River, between Papadopoli Island and the Monte Grappa before advancing on the Livenza and to UK The main attack would be the Italian 8th Army, supported. supported by theNK] 12th Army and theNK] 10th Army on the left and right. Italian and Allied divisions had been by now transferred from the Asiago Plateau to the Piave. The Allies had 57 divisions and 7,700 guns; the Austrians, 55 infantry and 6 cavalry divisions and 6,145 guns, so in terms of numbers it wasn

T A Huge Difference.

But. The Austrians had not really recovered from the summer and were even contemplating a general retreat to within their own borders. NK] Still, it didn t seem like it would be an easy operation.

I Mean, The Piave Was Like A Mile

wide, and though shallow in a lot of places, the water was icy and there were tough currents.. In fact, the start date of October 16th was postponed because continuous rain had raised the river to an alarming level. But that same day, UK Emperor Karl announced. Emperor Karl announced the transformation of the Austrian half of his empire into a confederation.

, And Things Were Moving So Fast All Over

that High Command was worried the war would end before they could act so the attack would go off soon, whatever the conditions. By soon, I mean next week. As for Karl s announcement, he offered federal freedom to Czechs, Slovaks, Poles, Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, and Romanians. .

But.

He was kind of behind the curve, and his offer was rejected by American Secretary of State Robert Lansing, who said that autonomy in the empire was no longer enough. Back. On the 5th, there was the formation of a national People s Council of Serbs,, Croats, and Slovenes.

On.

The 7th, in Warsaw, still occupied by the Germans, a regency council that had been under German control declared a new independent Polish state. . But it had competition from two other. Such groups in Krakow and Lublin.

The Ukrainians, Who Didn

t want to lose East Galicia to a new Poland. , established a National Council of their own in L viv and fighting broke out between Ukrainians and Poles in the region. On.

The 14Th In Paris, The Allies

recognized the Czechoslovak National Council, exiles led by Tomas Masaryk, as the Provisional Government of a future Czechoslovakia. Karl s Empire, such as it was, seemed destined to be broken apart after hundreds of years. And. It seemed like it wasn

T Going To Be Attacked By Just The Italians

either. In the Balkans-on the 12th, the Serbs captured Nish and the French occupied Mitrovica. Two days later, the Italians took the Albanian capital Durazzo. By. The end of the week, Greece was cleared of Bulgarians, the Montenegrins had risen against the occupying Austrians, and half of Serbia had been cleared of enemy forces.

Also,.

The last German troops had left Bulgaria. The Germans were leaving everywhere, it seems. General Wilhelm Gröner reported UK Undone) that over 200,000-and possibly up to a million troops-were missing from the various theaters of war. IT was no longer possible to keep track.

A Great.

Many of those missing had simply deserted. And that was the week. Allied advances in the west and the Balkans. Plans for new action on the Italian Front, a proposal from Karl that seems to be too little too late, and harsher terms for an armistice in the face of unending submarine warfare.

Also, The Death Toll From The

Spanish Flu was rising. Martin Gilbert writes that in London, 2,225 people died within a week. . This was more than all the deaths there from Zeppelin raids and air raids in the four years of the war combined. And Erich And Erich Ludendorff loses his authority.

That

s a big one. He had orchestrated the gain of hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of territory,, but it was now being taken in the field or demanded as conditions of armistice. And.

He Was No Longer In Control Of Germany.

But who was Max The Kaiser Hindenburg The Reichstag I have no idea. If you want to learn more about Erich Ludendorff, you can click right here for our double bio episode about him and the Bavarian Crownprince. Our.

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Summary

Last week the Allies finally overran the Hindenburg Line, Germany&s powerful Western front defenses . Germany accepted a condition of Wilson&s-complete withdrawal of troops from France and Belgium . On October 10th, the steamer Leinster was torpedoed and sunk in the Irish Sea . The sinking made the Allies double down and toughen peace terms. It also allowed Wilson to write a new note to Berlin, demanding an end to UK warfare. He also attacked the threat of the German military elite-saying the militarist government must be deposed and a constitutional one begun before any armistice . The Hysteria. in the UK was like the Lusitania sinking all over again.& Now, UK Hystersia. was already huge by this time. Anyhow, and Wilson had been repeatedly criticized for his &gentle . Wilson had taken himself out of the game. He had been criticized for being criticized for . His Democrats could well soon lose control of the war…. Click here to read more and watch the full video