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Western Front (World War I)
The Western Front line for most of World War I extended from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier, behind which most of Belgium, all of Luxembourg, and a few important industrial regions of France remained under German control.
The Western Front of World War I was defined in 1914 when, after fighting each other to a standstill, the opposing forces tried to outflank each other and quickly extended their trench systems from the English Channel to the Swiss frontier. For years, both sides were stalled at their positions along the front line and fought each other continuously from the same parallel trench networks. Each side tried to break through the Western Front but could not amass enough strength to do so, until 1916 when the front began to move eastward. Finally, in April 1917, the Canadian Corps, joined by the British 5th Infantry Division, managed to break through the German lines at Vimy Ridge. In the same month the United States entered the war, eventually providing crucial reinforcements against Germany in the following year.
After defeating the Russians on the Eastern Front, the German Empire redirected units for a wave of offensives in the west beginning in March, 1918. Despite initial tactical victories, a series of Allied counter-offensives soon reversed the German advances and began to push back further east. The German army's manpower had been severely depleted after four years of war, and its economy and society were under great internal strain. After a string of military defeats in the autumn of 1918, the losing troops began to revolt. As the Allied forces broke the German lines at great cost, the German Imperial Monarchy collapsed and the two near-dictatorial commanders of the army Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff stepped aside. Battles were still raging when the German Revolution put a new government in power that quickly signed an armistice which stopped all fighting on the Western Front on November 11 1918.
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