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By 1916 it looked like warfare on all fronts was grinding to a halt so the British decided that the solution to the problem was to create a mass popular army. Previous pleas had raised over a million volunteers but in February, conscription began for men aged between 18 and 41.


The Germans decided that the solution to the stalemate was to undertake a huge offensive at Verdun in February. Their intention was a war of attrition which would ‘bleed France white’. To try and relieve the pressure on the front at Verdun, the British and French undertook a push at the Somme and, on the first day of the battle (1 July), 20,000 Britons were killed and a further 40,000 injured.


At sea, both the British and German High Seas fleet continued to endeavour for victory. The one nearly decisive sea battle took place in the North Sea at Jutland in May; While the Germans initially caused considerable damage to their British enemies, however meeting the British Grand Fleet caught them at a disadvantage and inflicted significant damage. While the British lost more ships and men in the battle, the German fleet was very heavily damaged and had to spend most of the rest of the war in its own ports – effectively giving the British control of the seas.

WWI The Great War 1916

  • John Anderson

  • Jeff Hodges

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