When the war broke out, few people had any idea what form the fighting at sea would take. The world's navies were dominated by technologies so new that they'd never been tested under fire. The British public expected a second Trafalgar - but within the first days of the war, German submarines turned the North Sea into a no-go area for Britain's great battleships.
The British responded with strategy of their own: a blockade of Europe to starve the enemy out. Germany took reprisals by launching submarine attacks against civilian ships, including the tragic loss of the Lusitania. Germany dodged the blockade by sending a cargo submarine all the way to America, to pick up essential war materials.
America acted as arsenal and banker to the warring nations but, though targeted by spies and saboteurs, was deeply reluctant to join in. The balance was finally tipped by top secret British code-breakers who deciphered the Zimmermann Telegram which revealed that Germany was encouraging Mexico to attack America. To the Allies' relief, America joined the First World War.
Category: Education, History
Tags: the first world war sinking lusitania zimmermann code germany telegram united states
Television has tended to look at the First World War through a veil of tears, seeing only a tragic waste of life in the mud of Flanders. This definitive series strips away ninety years of myopia to get back to the reality of the war.
This was a global conflict from the start, involving nations in every continent and people of all classes and races. Using fresh archive footage and specially shot material from authentic locations in 22 countries, the multi-layered series demolishes myths and answers key questions from the origins of the war to its bitter end.
Universally acclaimed as one of the finest documentary series ever made about the Great War. The First World War is a powerful, original and truly comprehensive account of the conflict. It places the war in truly Global military context as never before, exploring many of the little known campaigns, battles and actions as well as the better known conflict on the Western Front. The series combines previously unseen footage from newly accessible archives in Central and Eastern Europe with exclusive film of many of the battlefields as they are today, studies key participants and weaponry, and diary entries and letters home from soldiers, officers and commanders.
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