How were the Central Powers defeated in World War 1?

During World War 1, the Central Powers consisted of : Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria. The Central Powers were defeated because of 7 main reasons.

1. The first reason was that the Schlieffen Plan had failed, removing the Germans’ hope of a quick and decisive victory. This then became a major strain for the Germans as they had to fight on two fronts.

2. The second reason was that the combined power of the Allied naval forces was more superior than that of the Central Powers. This enabled the Allied forces to enforce deadly naval blockades, causing food shortages among the civilian population, crippling exports  and also keeping the allied armies fully supplied.

3. The third reason was that the German submarine campaign had failed due to the convoys that they were targeting were being protected by British, American and Japanese destroyers. The failed submarine campaign also proved to be a huge mistake as it brought the USA into the war.

4. The fourth reason was that the entrance of the US forces into the war brought vast new resources to the allied forces, which also made up for Russia’s departure from the war. This also meant that the Allied forces were able to produce more war materials than the Central Powers, which proved to be decisive.

5. The fifth reason was that the Allied political leaders (Lloyd George and Clemenceau) were more competent than the political leaders of the Central Powers. For example the Allied political leaders were responsible for transforming the inexperienced British Expeditionary Force into a war-winning army and because they had improved the coordination between the infantry and artillery.

6. The sixth reason was that the Germans could not cope with their strain of heavy losses. The Germans lost their best troops in the 1918 offensive, which became a major problem as their new troops were all young and inexperienced. Meanwhile, the Allied forces were gaining more troops due to the arrival of the USA, who brought the Allied forces tally up to around 2 million. In addition, the Spanish Flu played a pivotal role in the downfall of the German forces as many soldiers fell sick and died, causing the German morale levels to drop rapidly. From July 1918 onwards, the young and inexperienced Germans were forced to retreat. During that time some 350,000 German soldiers surrendered to the Allied forces.

7. The seventh and final reason was that the Germans were severely let down by their allies. This was because they constantly had to support the Austrians and Bulgarians. The combined British and Serbian victory over the Bulgarians was the final straw for most German soldiers, as they had lost all hope in winning the war. In October 1918: Austria was defeated by the Italians at Vittorio-Venteto and Turkey had surrendered.

The defeat of the Central Powers during World War 1 was mainly due to the combination of military defeat and food shortages which produced: a mutiny in the navy, a collapse in the moral of soldiers and a revolution back at home.


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