Oxted  District History Society - Article
Oxted  District History Society

Professor David Stevenson of the London School of Economics and author, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘1918 Revisited – How the First World War Ended’.  He said that the war had not ended earlier because of military, political and diplomatic stalemates.  Since early in the War the Western Front had barely moved more than 6 miles in either direction, despite the loss of millions of lives.

However, in mid-September 1918 the Allies attacked Bulgaria, who asked for a ceasefire.  This drove a wedge between the Germans and Austrians and cut off supplies of Romanian oil to Germany.  At the same time the German advances on the Western Front had been reversed and the Hindenburg Line broken.  By now the Allies had superior heavy artillery and supplies of shells, air superiority to effectively locate and target German positions and naval superiority to allow the transport of American troops and supplies to the battle lines.  Additionally the German rail supply lines had been broken by the end of September when Ludendorff, one of the two leading German strategists (with Hindenburg) had a nervous breakdown.  Besides nearly 2 million German casualties in 1918, vast numbers of German soldiers surrendered to the Allies and the German Navy mutinied.  The Armistice was dictated by the French and British and signed on 11 November 1918.

1918 How the First World War Ended by David Stevenson