What happened on the Western front during World War I?

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The Western front existed in eastern France and Belgium between 1914 and 1918. At the beginning of the war, Germany launched a quick strike through Belgium into France to put France out of the war quickly — this was known as part of the Schlieffen Plan, which was Germany's plan...

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The Western front existed in eastern France and Belgium between 1914 and 1918. At the beginning of the war, Germany launched a quick strike through Belgium into France to put France out of the war quickly — this was known as part of the Schlieffen Plan, which was Germany's plan to fight a two-front war with France and Russia. France checked the German advance at the Marne, and both sides lost thousands of men due to frontal assaults on elaborate defensive emplacements. Both Germany and the Allies dug in here, and they would remain in elaborate trenches for the next three-and-a-half years with little movement. Trench warfare consisted of sniping, artillery barrages, and horrifying attacks where soldiers would be ordered to go over the top. The trenches would be protected with several hundred yards of barbed wire, which created a "no man's land" between the trenches. Both sides tried to use tanks and poisonous gas to break through the lines, but the generals in charge did not fully utilize the new technologies, which contributed to the stalemate. There were several bloody battles on the Western front; Verdun and the Somme are some of the more famous ones, though there are quite a few others. The casualty rates for these battles are appalling; at the Battle of the Somme, the British lost 60,000 men in the first fifteen minutes of fighting, all to gain a few hundred yards. By 1917, the British and French armies were at their breaking points psychologically, and the Germans would face starvation if the war did not end quickly. America entered the war in April of that year and by early 1918, the American Expeditionary Front was in France. Americans fought bravely in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and the German lines started to break as hungry soldiers mutinied. The most famous scenes of the war are from the Western Front, and Germany's defeat was ultimately largely caused by its failures to end the war on the Western Front.  

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