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11-08-2015, 16:10


In 1916 belligerents on both sides of the battle lines launched massive offensives. They did so with greater resources than those available in 1914 or 1915. Their leaders' intentions were complex—some hoping for outright victory, some only looking to exhaust the enemy and to push him to negotiate a favorable peace—but none of those intentions were realized. The German offensive on the western front at Verdun failed to bleed the French army dry; the British advance on the Somme failed to produce the long-awaited breakthrough; the Brusilov offensive carried out by the Russian army bogged down in stalemate. In'outhem Europe, the Italian and Austro-Hungarian armies lunged at one another without result. Meanwhile, as the war's carnage reached unprecedented levels, the conflict continued to spread. In the Balkans, Rumania and Greece were drawn into the maelstrom. Rumania's lightning defeat at the hands of the Central Powers was a singular example of the war waged in a decisive way. Much of what the Allied powers did started out as a plan for combined offensive operations against Germany and Austria-Hungary, offensives designed to strike more or less simultaneously. The year's fighting, however, was shaped by the clash of intentions held by leaders on both sides.