The Australian Military Community

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Author:  digrar [ Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Armistice

The German army was beaten. October 1918 saw it locked in freefall on the Western Front. Attacked from one end of the front to the other, the Germans were giving ground everywhere. Behind them there were no great defensive trench systems – the allies had broken through into open country. The Germans would fight on, but they lacked the men, the guns and the resources to stem the allied advance. Their casualties in 1918 had been simply unbearable.

And this was not the start of a war: this was the end. The youth of their nation had been dying year in and year out for more than four long years. Youth was a scarce resource in Germany. But then everything in Germany was scarce: raw materials, food, fuel. Most debilitating of all, there was now no hope of ultimate victory. The Americans may have been inexperienced, but they were present in huge numbers.

The Australian Corps had also reached the end of its tether by early October. They were simply worn out. Their contribution to victory was enormous and they had become one of the most effective assault forces in the entire war; they were exceptionally well led, with a superb cadre of officers, gritty NCOs and tough-as-nails ordinary “diggers”. Since 8 August they had been attacking without rest for two whole months. Their achievements were a roll call of honour for their country: they had captured nearly 23,000 prisoners and taken 332 guns. But they had also suffered more than 25,000 casualties – killed, wounded and missing. Together they had set a benchmark for the whole British Expeditionary Force. But much remained to be done. The baton was handed to the unsung ordinary divisions that made up the bulk of the British army. These men would have to drive over the finish line to the final victory they all craved.


Author:  22F [ Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Armistice

Bl00dy nice article.

It highlights that outside of national survival, why most conflict up prior to that point was less than Total War as advocated by Clauswitz.
Total War was far too expensive, in financial and resources to sustain. The cost would be paid for generations afterward.

If we use the First Great Hate as an example, as mentioned, the loss of life.
There are impacts on workforce available to do "stuff" in the post-war economy. There's also a huge loss in breeding stock, most noticeable amongst families who were relying on young men to work, and bring money into the household.
So, for example, a lot of gentrified families lost the heir to the family fortune (like a lot of well to do noble families) and a great many property owners lost the planned manager so that the old man could retire (as happened in a couple of Lighthorse families).

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