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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:26

Video transcript

as we exit 1917 and enter into 1918 we're getting into the final stages of world war one and let's just give ourselves a little bit of review a little bit of background a little bit of context the war started off as a two-front war for the Central Powers you have the Western Front you have the Western Front right over here and you had the huge you had the huge Eastern Front right over here by 1917 the major conflict on the Eastern Front especially with Russia which was the major power there had come to an end you had a February revolution in Russia the Tsar had to abdicate the throne you had a provisional government then in November of 1917 the Bolsheviks have a coup they take over they have no interest in prosecuting World War one because they have their own civil war to worry about so they say they sign an armistice with the central powers by the end of 1917 and then when we get into 1918 so let me write all this down so by the time we get into 1918 they're ready to sign a treaty in March in March the Russians signed the Treaty of brest-litovsk little visca which seeds over all of this territory to the Germans and takes the Russians out of World War one so I'm not going to go into detail in other videos but a huge amount of territory and I'm going to do it very informally right over here I'll give a rough sense of of what where that territory was and the treaty itself its main significance because it treated in last as you might already know the Central Powers lost World War one so that treaty was later nullified but the the key importance of that treaty is one it took Russia out of the war it allowed the Central Powers especially Germany to focus on the Western Front but the other element of it is by giving so much territory to the Germans the Germans couldn't just you know leave that territory as is if they wanted any claims to it they had to devote some of their troops to to occupy at least or at least attempt to occupy some of it so even though it was a huge opportunity and the Germans did were able to after the Treaty or even before the Treaty they start were after the Armistice they were a start they were able to start bringing more of the Eastern Front troops over to the Western Front they didn't bring over as many as they could have because they left some to attempt to occupy some of the territory that had been gained on the Eastern Front but if you view things from a German perspective at this point March 1918 you're going to be feeling pretty good you had you were you were holding your own in a two-front war now and you thought at one point you thought Russia was the major threat there that threat is gone you can now focus on a one front war maybe you should be you should be able to kind of put the decisive blow against the Allies now and that is how the Germans felt but they were worried about a couple of things they were worried about the the British industrial capacity and the Allied industrial capacity that was that that was stronger than the Central Powers and so the British could produce more tanks and more guns and more weapons so it was a race against that and there was also a race against significant American entry remember in April 1917 Woodrow Wilson gives a speech to Congress they declare war on the Central Powers and so the Germans want to want to get this thing over with before the Americans have a chance to send in significant number of fresh troops so in March 1918 not you not only do you have the Treaty of brest-litovsk you also have the beginning of German Germany's attempt to deal that decisive blow to the Allies and it's known as the spring offensive so you have the spring the spring offensive and the goal of the spring is sense offensive was to was to essentially try to end the war for the Germans and they and the goal was to separate the British from the French forces the British for the most part were in control of the line right over here north of the Somme River while the French were in control south of it so the spring offensive especially the first phases of the Spring Offensive in march 1918 focused on this area right over here and at first it was actually very successful they were able to make huge territorial gains drive through the lines drive the Allied powers back now the problem was is that it wasn't a real big strategic gain the Germans were just hoping it would be such demoralize ER that it would throw at least maybe the French out of the war and then maybe they could take care of the British or whatever else but that didn't happen and all of a sudden they found themselves with these huge territorial gains in very short amount of time they had to supply themselves they and and they didn't really quite and it spread there their troops then and so it frankly just led let the opportunity arise for the Allies in August to lead a counter-offensive and this counter-offensive by the Allies is referred to as a hundred days offensive it began in August went roughly into November so hundred days hundred days offensive during which the Allies between August and November were able to push the Germans not only back beyond what they had captured during the spring offensive but all the way well back of the of the front that was kind of the stalemate line for most of World War one and it was during this hundred days offensive that to most objective observers it was clear that the Allies would win this war and it was clear to several of the central powers or those allied with the central powers as we go into September as we go into September of 1918 Bulgaria drops itself out of the war just to remind ourselves where what we're talking about so you have Bulgaria right over here it Bulgaria right over here it signs an armistice with the Allies so we did you have Armistice I'll use a little peace symbol for armistice that's an armistice is just the fighting has stopped you are you still in theory it could be in a state of war so maybe I shouldn't do the peace symbol I'll just write armistice armistice armistice with Bulgaria and this is really starting to tighten the noose around the remaining central powers because this this allowed the Allies to gain control of Serbia and of Greece which essentially tied tight removed the last source of food for austria-hungary and the German Empire there was already a blockade the kind of the harsh British blockade that we've already talked about up in the North Sea and so their last source of food was from the south but now with Bulgaria signing an armistice and seeding over territory now the the stranglehold was was was really was really really coming into effect now by October and remember at this point it was reasonably clear and even by this point even clearer to the German people that the war is pretty much done for and they're just waiting for their leaders to to make it official the several of the leaders of the German Navy want to do this last-ditch what could easily be considered suicidal offensive against the British Navy and as they're planning it and the the sailors catch wind of it they mutiny they revolt they say hey look the war is over we're not going to die for a futile and a futile attempt just kind of for pride or whatever else and so you have a naval mutiny begins naval mutiny and eventually this spreads to the mainland and leads to revolts and revolutions so revolution in Germany in Germany and this culminates in November in November November 9th famous date in history November 9 1918 you essentially the kaiser wilhelm ii right over here let me make sure you see them his picture this is him right over here kaiser willem wilhelm ii is forced to abdicate give up his throne he flees to the netherlands and in november ninth 1918 germany is declared a republic so Germany no longer no longer uh no longer has a king or an emperor in charge Germany becomes a republic and a little bit before this November 3rd the writing was already on right the writing was already clear to the Austrians in fact they even in 1917 attempted to make some peace overtures thinking that they were pretty much done for but by November 3rd 1918 the Austrians also signed an armistice armistice armistice with the Austrians with the Austrians and with the Kaiser Wilhelm the second fleeing to the Netherlands Germany becoming a republic this sets up the armistice finally with Germany on November 11th and this is one of the most famous famous dates in history known for a long time in the US as Armistice Day and so was November 11th 1918 it was actually 11:00 a.m. 11:00 a.m. so you might remember the famous the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month war or World War 1 or the fighting in World War 1 was over with the Allies victorious and the Central Powers losing it and the terms of what would happen for those that lost and those that one would be dictated by the Treaty of Versailles the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 the terms of which were finally finalized about six months later so this is June you have the treaty Treaty of treaty of Treaty of Versailles which incidentally this is like one of those little footnotes in history the Americans did not actually ratify it mainly because it had the League of Nations in it which was this you know which was this project of Woodrow Wilson but the American people and the American Congress was not a fan of this whole you know transnational Government League of Nations things so the the United States did not ratify the Treaty of Versailles but in effect on Armistice Day November 11th 11:00 a.m. the war was over Treaty of Versailles dictated the terms many would argue overly harsh terms of the treaty Versailles and we're done with World War one