The Black Day of the German Army (August 8, 1918) - History Key

The Black Day of the German Army (August 8, 1918)

This day in history is remembered as the first day of the Hundred Days Offensive that ultimately led to the end of the First World War. During the offensive, the Allies launched several attacks against the Central Powers on the Western Front between August 8, 1918 and November 11, 1918. Also, the first day of the Hundred Days was opened by the Battle of Amiens.

Battle of Amiens. German prisoners arriving at a temporary POW camp near Amiens, 9
Battle of Amiens. German prisoners arriving at a temporary POW camp near Amiens, 9 © Image Source: longlongtrail.co.uk

The Allies had a great success in the first day of the Battle of Amiens. They advanced over 11 km on the front. For the Germans the battle was a catastrophe because a large number of the troops started to surrender. Also the first day of the Battle of Amiens is known as “the black day of the German Army.”

It was a certain victory for the Allies. They launched the attack with 75,000 men, 500 tanks and about 2,000 planes, causing about 27,000 casualties. So, the German army started to lose their ambitions and their morale was rapidly disintegrating. Probably the Battle of Amiens was the fatal battle for the Germans, because after this specific battle, the Central Powers started to “collapse” day by day until the end of the war.

8 August 1918 by Will Longstaff, showing German prisoners of war being led towards Amiens 1941
8 August 1918 by Will Longstaff, showing German prisoners of war being led towards Amiens 1941 © Image Source: Wikipedia

“We stand at the turning point of the war: what I expected first for the autumn, the necessity to go over to the defensive, is already on us, and in addition all the gains which we made in the spring—such as they were—have been lost again.” Prince Rupprecht, Crown Prince of Bavaria

Because the Allies at Amiens reached their limits, they began thinking to end the war. But it couldn’t end until Germany was fully “immobilized”. Therefore, the Hundred Days offensive took place in order to force the Germans to capitulate. Most of the Germans continued to fight until the final months of the war, despite the fact that some Germans have deserted and refused new orders.

Map depicting the advance of the Allied line
Map depicting the advance of the Allied line © The Department of History /Image Source: Wikipedia

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