Alethe de Vaulgrenant
21st April 2016
Word Count: 1441
Identify the significance of the Battle of Verdun during the course of World War I.
“Death to the tyrant” was the battle cry of the teenage terrorists working for the Young Bosnia organization, who assassinated the heir to the Austria-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, on the 28th of June, 1914. Soon after, European powers began being skeptical of one another. The arousal of distrust among European nations lead Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy to form the Triple Alliance. Similarly, France, Russia, and Britain established their own alliance called the Triple Entente. During the summer of …show more content…
A French lieutenant alarmed the army headquarters that “the commanding officer and all company commanders have been killed. My [the lieutenant's] battalion is reduced to approximately 180 men (from 600). I have neither ammunition nor food. What am I to do?”. The French were not prepared to take on the Germans as they were in desperate need of resources, which they could only acquire through the Sacred Road, and urgently necessitated a plan of defense. Four days after the first German attack General Philippe Petain arrived to Verdun and took command of the French army. The day of Petain’s arrival, the city was on the verge of collapsing and the Germans had taken over Fort Douaumont, which overlooks Verdun. Due to the loss of Fort Douaumont, the French were nearly disheartened as the fort had many fortifications which made it close to impossible to damage. Despite the loss of the fort, Petain was not ready to admit defeat, the day after his arrival he gave his famous command “they shall not pass,” deeply motivating the French soldiers to defend Verdun at all costs. The French troops were rapidly reorganized and were soon ready to counterattack the German attacks. In short order, reinforcements arrived and the French fought to keep and regain every piece of territory that was lost. With great determination to protect …show more content…
The unexpected shift in dominance during the battle occurred due to the extensive determination of the French defending their home soil over the overconfident Germans. The importance of the battle is due to the contributions brought to World War I. In spite of the repression of Germans in France, the Battle of Verdun lead to the development of a unique fortification for forts called the Maginot Line. The Maginot Line was a “series of unique and modern fortifications which were designed for an active defense.” The establishment of this defense tactic was later found a prominent aspect in the suppression of Nazi Germans in Europe. Furthermore, along with the Battle of Somme, the Battle of Verdun was significant to the continuity of World War I because the German resources had suffered a great decrease in materials and assets on one side and a strengthened French resistance on the other. During the Battle of Verdun, no significant advances were made into France by the Germans, thus denying the German entry into Paris. Although no strategic benefit was obtained from the battle, the Germans were forced to retreat and to reevaluate their tactics and leadership of the war. This battle weakened the German forces to such a level that it had influenced the whole course of the war. The Germans were found unable to execute their rapid victory and were