Alpine Warfare (03:54)
By autumn 1917, the U.S. had entered the war. Italy battled Austria to conquer Trieste and Sorrento; Italian troops suffered under Luigi Cadorna's draconian command, but accomplished remarkable feats. Outnumbered, Austrians requested German backup. (Credits)
Defeat at Caporetto (03:44)
In October 1917, German reinforcements arrived to the Alps. Rommel's men infiltrated Italian lines and advanced across Northern Italy. Hear Hemingway's description of the front. Allied leaders sent reinforcements to stop Austrian advance toward Venice.
Inciting a Communist Takeover (02:18)
Karl I wanted to negotiate peace, but Kaiser Wilhelm II wanted victory— before the Americans were operational. The first step was to remove Russia from the war, to focus on the Western front. General Ludendorff returned Lenin to St. Petersburg to accomplish this task.
October Revolution and Peace Treaty (03:56)
Lenin installed a regime of terror and executed the Romanov family. In December 1917, the communists began negotiating peace with Germany and Austro-Hungary. Leon Trotsky conceded 400,000 square miles and 25% of Russia's population.
Spring Offensive (02:35)
In March 1918, Germany massed two million troops on the Western front— outnumbering the Allies. Ludendorff used shock troops to infiltrate enemy lines and advance on Paris. The Ferari family believed French troops would defend them. German planes had already been bombing Paris.
Paris Cannon (02:51)
Military authorities suggested building a fake Paris to deter German bombers. Phony cannons, railroad tracks, and camouflage were already in use. The Germans used a secret weapon to reach the city from 75 miles away— inciting panic. Allied forces united under Generals Fach and Weygand.
Aerial Warfare (04:19)
Fach tried to convince Pershing to commit troops, but Pershing was waiting for open warfare. Fighter pilots like Eddie Rickenbacker were heroes. German ace Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron," developed a tactic of serving as bait. When he was shot down, British troops buried him with honors.
Spanish Flu (02:37)
In April 1918, the German advance became bogged down due to logistics. Soldiers went hungry and foraged for food. Contaminated water, vermin, and mass movement contributed to the global epidemic. Ludendorff ordered sick and wounded soldiers back to the front. Germans expected heavy attacks from Americans.
Battle of Belleau Wood (02:21)
A German unit surprised an American position at Saint-Mihiel in April 1918. Pershing ordered a counter-attack; Americans proved their capability. Hear a description of Marine Corps losses while stopping German advance on June 26.
Second Battle of the Marne (03:53)
In July 1918, Ludendorff launched a final offensive, this time facing American forces. Fach used one million men and 500 tanks in a counter-offensive. On August 18, the German army collapsed outside Paris. Ludendorff could only delay Allied advance towards the German border.
Empires Under Threat (03:09)
The Army of the Orient advanced on the Balkans from Salonika. British regiments conquered Palestine and advanced on Damascus. Lawrence advised Emir Faisal on an Arab revolt against the Turks. Learn about Britain's broken land promises to Faisal and Arab leaders in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq.
Final Offensive (02:47)
By October 1918, Northeast France was destroyed. Under Fach, the Americans, French and British advanced on German occupied Belgium. View footage of damage in Reims, Ypres, Arras, and Argonne. Young boys and old men were among Germans surrendering.
End of European Empires (02:36)
Worker's councils took control of German cities. Ludendorff and Kaiser Wilhelm II refused to surrender and were stripped of their titles by a new socialist government. Italy defeated the Austro-Hungarian army and Karl I went into exile.
German Capitulation (03:25)
On November 11, 1918, Fach signed the armistice with envoys of the provisional German government in Compiegne. Hear statistics of soldiers mobilized, killed, and wounded in the four year conflict. Nations built monuments glorifying their soldiers. View footage of men disfigured from shrapnel.
World War I Aftermath (02:43)
On December 13, 1918, Woodrow Wilson arrived in Paris. America was now a dominant figure on the world stage. He championed the idea of national sovereignty and toured France and Italy to survey the destruction.
Treaty of Versailles (03:48)
The Allied leaders devised the League of Nations to avoid future wars. On June 28, 1919, they signed an agreement to divide Germany's colonies and impose war reparations. Among its critics were John Maynard Keynes and Philander Knox, who predicted vengeance from Germany's next generation. View a map of post-war European divisions.
Credits: Apocalypse WWI: Episode 5—Deliverance (00:57)
Credits: Apocalypse WWI: Episode 5—Deliverance
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