First World War CentennialFirst World War Centennial

Spring Offensive

freed up 33 divisions for fighting on the Western Front. The Germans decided to go on the offensive in the spring of 1918. The first operation, Operation Michael, was quite successful, resulting in the front lines being moved about 60 miles west, within shelling distance of the city of Paris. One of the Allied weaknesses was their divided command, so they responded by appointing French General Ferdinand Foch as coordinator of Allied operations in France (and later as commander-in-chief of all Allied forces), which allowed the Allies to better resist further German advances. The German advances turned out to be primarily Pyrrhic victories; the Germans failed to capture vital possessions and now possessed many vulnerable, poorly-defended salients. They had also lost many men. With large numbers of American troops arriving in France daily, the Germans had put themselves in a position where they were extremely vulnerable to a decisive counter-attack.