Wednesday, January 21, 2015

January 21st, 1915

- Sir John French visits Ferdinand Foch and Joseph Joffre at the latter's headquarters today to discuss strategy on the Western Front.  The commander of the BEF pushes his plan for a British advance along the Channel coast, which would benefit from naval support and would clear potential German naval bases at Zeebrugge and Ostend.  Joffre, however, continues to insist that he needs the BEF to take over more of the line at Ypres to facilitate further offensives, and French relents, promising to relieve first the French IX Corps and subsequently XX Corps as reinforcements arrive from Britain.

- In Germany the impasse between Falkenhayn and his critics is resolved today in conference with the Kaiser.  Though Bethmann-Hollweg and others are unable to force the Chief of Staff's resignation, Falkenhayn is convinced to give up the position of War Minister, which he has held since before the outbreak of the war.  Further, in the face of Hindenburg's threatened resignation Falkenhayn has no choice but to acquiesce in Ludendorff's return to OberOst as Chief of Staff.  Finally, the arguments of Hindenburg and Ludendorff regarding the deployment of the new reserve corps are accepted, and it is agreed that they will be deployed to the Eastern Front.  Falkenhayn accepts the decisions with 'a heavy heart', as he later writes, believing that the commitment of the reserves to the East will be insufficient to win a decisive victory while major offensive operations on the Western Front would not be possible for the time being.

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