Category Archive: History

The War at Sea and the Home Front, 1915

Battle of Dogger Bank, 1915

THE WAR AT SEA The only real naval battle of 1915 was the Battle of Dogger Bank, which followed a German raid on the east coast towns of Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool in December 1914. Although this raid caused outrage, the German commander, Admiral Franz von Hipper decided that he would continue to launch offensives […]

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The Eastern Front and Mesopotamia, 1915

Indian military engineers in Mesopotamia

THE EASTERN FRONT Although most people believe that the first use of poison gas took place on 22nd April 1915, at the Second Battle of Ypres, the Germans had made an earlier, unsuccessful attempt to use this weapon at the Battle of Bolimov on January 31st. This proved ineffective as the wind blew the gas […]

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The Dardanelles

Royal Naval Division going over the top

While a great deal of the action during the First World War took place on the Western Front, there were many among the Allies who sought to divert attention to somewhere else and it was generally agreed that the best place for this was to launch an offensive in the Dardanelles, against the Turks. This […]

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The Western Front, 1915

Poison Gas Attack

As 1914 faded and 1915 began, the hope that ‘it will all be over by Christmas’ rang a little hollow. In fact, almost all of the Regular Army had been wiped out in the battles of the autumn and early winter of 1914. Despite this, optimism remained high for the early part of 1915; Kitchener’s volunteer […]

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The Christmas Truce

Christmas at the Front, 1914

Despite the stalemate, the war was initially fought in a ‘gentlemanly’ manner. For example, if one had to launch a bombardment, one would try to avoid mealtimes, when men would gather together, to limit the number of casualties. This attitude continued into the festive season, by which time, most had anticipated the war would already […]

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From First Shots to Stalemate

4th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, 22nd August, 1914

In France, the Commander in Chief of the French army, General Joseph Joffre, had adopted Plan XVII, which revolved around the recapture of the territories of Alsace and Lorraine. The bulk of the French army would, therefore, be stationed in that region, leaving only a small force in the north. Joffre erroneously believed that Germany […]

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War – At Last!

British volunteers for "Kitchener's Army" waiting for their pay in the churchyard of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, London, August 1914.

There was a general feeling of relief when war eventually broke out. There had been tension and certainty of conflict for so long, that many people now felt released from this and looked forward to the anticipated ‘adventure’ of war. Most assumed that this would be a short conflict and that it would definitely be […]

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The Final Straw

The Schlieffen Plan

Germany’s plan to quickly win the war in the West, before turning her full attention to the Eastern Front, known as the Schlieffen Plan, essentially involved a speedy attack through neutral Belgium and into Northern France. It was then anticipated that the German army would encircle Paris and turn back on itself, trapping the French […]

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Detonation

Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie

On 28th June 1914, the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie were assassinated during a state visit to Sarajevo. Their murderer, Gavrilo Princip, although born in the Empire of Austria-Hungary, was also a Serb. Austria-Hungary, therefore, used the assassination as an excuse to issue the Serbian government with a […]

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The Beginning

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany

Europe, at the start of the twentieth century, was becoming an increasingly tumultuous place to live. Germany had developed into a powerful, industrialised and mechanised nation, with Kaiser Wilhelm II standing as a national figurehead of pride and ambition. Throughout most of his life, despite physical disabilities, he had longed for greatness and harboured hopes […]

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