What were the notable events of the World War in 1917?
Malini VK - Infobite Jun 16, 2019
1917 was an important year as most of the countries realized the need for peace at the end of the year. So, what happened at the beginning of the year?
- Allies build their army strength to the maximum and did changes in officers’ positions. They increased their fighting strength with intense artillery.
- British opened the Allies offensive attack on 9 April 1917 via Battle of Arras with Germany. Though Britain was proceeding successful, it ended up with heavy causalities because of German's skillful defensive attack.
- The hope of Allies was increased to next level with U.S marching into the war. America loans to the Allies worth $7,000,000,000 and maintained the flow of U.S arms and food to support.
- The game changer was the U.S Naval base. It was the second largest navy when it entered the war. Their destroyers and submarines were exclusively designed to attack German U-boats.
- The unexpected turning points the world war saw in 1917 was the Russian Revolution in March 1917. The Russian people were utterly tired of war and casualties. As a result, the Bolshevik (Russian Social-Democratic Worker's Party) Revolution in November 1917 put an end to the provincial government and made Vladimir I. Lenin, the new leader.
- An armistice was signed between Russia and Central powers which means Russia would no more an ally with Central powers. Russia made peace with Germany made Finland and Ukraine as independent countries. Russia also renounced control over most of the counties it occupied.
Greece into war:
Greece remained neutral initially. But Germany and Bulgaria started invading Greek borders after its participation in Salonika Expedition in 1915. This made Greek government to join hands with Allies and declare war on Central powers in June 1917.
Defeat of Italy:
The Battle of Caporetto (12th Battle of Izonso) was fought between the Kingdom of Italy and the Central Powers in October 1917. With effective use of storm-troopers, poisonous gas and infiltration tactics Germany helped Austria-Hungary to win against Italy.
Britain vs Turkey:
Turks were chased by the British forces in the Mesopotamian regions. After vigorous frontal attacks in 1917, British captured Baghdad and Jerusalem by evacuating Turks.
Attacks in the west:
- In August 1917, French army fought the last Battle of Verdun winning back all the remaining of what had been lost to the Germans in 1916.
- Battle of Cambrai in November 1917 saw the effective use of British tanks against German army. But with resourceful counterattacks, Germany reoccupied the areas lost to Britain earlier.
Annoyance from Central powers and fear on the Japanese invasion made China to not only join hands with the Allies but to declare war on Germany in August 1917.
Defeat of German U-boats:
- U.S entry into the war made Germany to start their U-boats campaign again without any restriction. With 111 U-boats German navy already sunk nearly 700 British ships. German navy next targeted British merchant ships to stop food and munition supply to Britain.
- To overcome the U-boat atrocities, British with the help of U.S navy adopted the convoy system for the protection of their merchant ships.
- The convoy system was achieved by having a group of merchant ships sail within a protective ring of destroyers and other naval escorts. This led to gradual containment and ultimately the defeat of U-boat campaign.
War in the Air:
- Fighter aircraft made their appearance in the World war from 1915, bombing enemy air bases.
- There were consequent air attacks between Britain and Germany from 1916, bombing British towns and destroying U-boats.
- On 13 June 1917 daylight 14 German bombers dropped 118 high explosive bombs on London and returned home safely.
- The strategic bombing of Germany made Britain to think more seriously and resulted in the introduction of Royal Air Force (RAF), the world's first separate air service.
Starvation, mutinies in the armies, death rate seemed to have no end. This raged people to question their governments the need for continuing the war.
- Ministers from Austria and Germany initiated peace first which resulted in Germany withdrawing from Belgium and France in 1917. Serbia, Poland, Romania was declared as independent countries.
- Woodrow Wilson, The President of U.S played a key role in the peace campaign which made Germany to start peace talks.
Read Next: Who won the First World War(1914-1918)?