Russia's withdrawal from the war, confirmed in
of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918, heralded a renewed German
offensive on the Western Front. Its initial success during the spring
of 1918 forced the Entente into desperate defensive measures. These
included the appointment of General
Foch as commander-in-chief of the Allied armies on the Western
Front, and there was even talk of extending conscription to Ireland.
It seemed that the Allies' best hope was to withstand the German
onslaught and await the protracted entry of American forces into
However, after the failure of the last great German push in mid-July
1918, the tide rapidly turned in the Allies' favour. Thanks to major
tactical, command, organisational and technological improvements
in the British and French armies, and the presence of nearly one
million American troops now available in France, the Germans were
pushed back towards their own defensive marker, the Hindenburg
Line. The Battle of Amiens
(8-11 August), in which the German army lost 27,000 men killed or
captured, heralded a new, more mobile war on the Western Front.
The alliance of the Central Powers now collapsed on all fronts.
In the autumn of 1918, as Bulgaria, Turkey, Austria and Germany
sued for peace with the victorious Allies, thoughts turned from
fighting the war to ending it.