Tuesday, 21 February 2017

La Grande Guerra +100 - The retreat to the Hindenburg line

The February episode of the digital calendar that traces back the main events of World War I is now online

Versione stampabile

The 34th episode is available here: www.lagrandeguerrapiu100.it

This episode of the digital calendar “La Grande guerra +100” describes the German retreat to the “Sigfriedstellung”, or “Hindenburg line”, at the beginning of February 1917.

This impressive line of defence, which marked a dramatic turn in trench warfare, was built in the Noyon area to shorten the front of some 50 kilometres, after the bloodshed of the disastrous battle of Verdun (where nothing was achieved). The purpose of the operation was to save men and materials and force the Anglo-French to lengthen their lines.

The line bears the name of the then newly appointed Commander of the German army, Paul von Hindenburg, who introduced a de facto military dictatorship that bypassed the government. The text authored by Alessandro Salvador covers the same subject, with the photo gallery and recounts on the retreat from both sides of the front.

Hindenburg tried to direct all the economic resources on the war, in order to win it, at a terrible cost.

The infographics gives an overview of the war expenses. Two aspects stand out particularly: Germany sustained the highest costs,  and the US economy grew stronger. Data show that the Central Powers could not win such an expensive war.

New in this issue: the first of a series of biographical notices by Silvia Sartori. This one is on the mysterious (and tragic) life of Mata Hari, the spy arrested by the French military exactly one-hundred years ago.
And an article on the aerial warfare on the Isonzo front from a contributor of the partner University of Innsbruck.

At the beginning of the war, the Austro-Hungarian aviation was more powerful than the Italian air forces, which were able to equal and surpass it only in 1917/18. In the last year of war, Italian airplanes dominated the skies over the Piave front.

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Since May 2015 all the website content are available in English. Special features are prepared by historians from the universities of Innsbruck, Krakow and Montpellier, to learn about the other war fronts.
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