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I. Battle
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Overview: Wilhelmine Germany, 1890-1914   |   I. Economic Development   |   II. Society and Culture   |   III. "Modern Life": Diagnoses, Prescriptions, Alternatives   |   IV. State and Society   |   V. Politics   |   VI. Germany in International Affairs   |   Germany at War, 1914-1918   |   I. Battle   |   II. Mobilization of the Home Front   |   III. Privation and Ferment on the Home Front   |   IV. Seeking an End to the War

The German armies marched to war confident of a quick victory. These expectations seemed vindicated during the first weeks of combat, as reports from the front sang of a magnificent triumph in France – but then these reports grew quieter and began to tell of a different, stationary kind of war (Docs 1, 2). A similar change registered in the tone of letters sent from soldiers in the field (Docs. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). In ways that were impossible to read from either the official reports or the letters sent back home, Germany's strategic prospects had become bleak, the subject of extended dispute among the country's military and naval leadership (Docs. 8, 9, 10). Given the failure of the great German offensive in the west in the spring and early summer of 1918, even the army's high command was compelled to admit the hopelessness of the country's military fortunes (Docs. 2, 11)

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