World War I: A Narrative Analysis

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Although the assumptions of generals were that World War I would be short, bloody, and decisive, stalemate occurred due to the lack of precedence, technological novelty and the need to contribute an immense amount of time to compensate, innovate, and reorganize for the opposing expectations and realities. Previous wars suggested lessons so diametrically opposed to the reality of World War I that generals had to completely rethink the plans they had created based on their initial speculations of the course of the war. The reason for this stark contrast in expectation and reality was that technology, although more lethal and available per improvements to industry, excelled primarily in defensive capabilities making any offensives an automatic …show more content…
Generals expected the advancement of technology to accelerate the customary short, aggressive, and decisive wars yet instead found that they functioned best towards the opposite – defensive, prolongation of wars. This contrast in expectations and reality meant an exceptional amount of time would need to be spent to rectify strategies and organizational structures in order to accommodate the extended war. The combination of time needing to be invested into figuring out how to adjust for the realities of war and counter the defense-oriented technologies that were seen to dominate the battlefield were the ultimate causes of the stalemate that took generals by surprise. From this, we can derive a lesson that can be applied even a hundred years later as our technology advances and molds warfare just as the powers fighting in the First World War experienced: with novelty comes uncertainty, as brand new technologies were expected to increase the pace of war make it even deadlier and decisive, generals soon learned they did quite the opposite. Today we may think that with bombs capable of destroying entire cities or populations, or vehicles capable of going around the globe in mere hours that war would also be even deadlier and quicker, however, we may just as easily see the opposite – prolonged wars of seemingly impenetrable defenses that make our impede the expected capabilities of modern technology just like the generals saw in World War One. Thus, it becomes important to plan for accordingly, and not depend wholly on just expectations, but also have a contingency if expectations turn out to be extremely

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