The last desperate attempts to force a decision in the West ended after the “Race to the Sea” with even more losses and bloodshed, and all belligerents prepared for the next attempts in spring. Nevertheless the Western front was to be in a deadlock for the next four years, with only minimal gains despite the combined efforts of three of the most industrialised countries of that age. Especially France and Britain committed nearly all of their resources into useless offensives which ought to bring the final breakthrough and the return to mobile warfare.
For Germany the situation was to become worse. Exactly what had been foreseen as the ruin of Germany in case of a war, two-front-war and war of attrition, had happened, and now Germany struggled in vain in its attempts to find a way out of the Allied encirclement. The British fleet successfully strangulated the trade of the Middle Powers, and although it took several years the final collapse of Germany is a result of the tightening grasp of the Blockade and the lack of resources. The Germans seem to have hoped that the “good start” they got by occupying the heavy-industrialised northern France would eventually enable them to wear the French down in this war of attrition. And they nearly succeeded. What finally bought the German defeat was the addition of the vast American resources to the allied pool. The Germans, still thinking as well political as geostrategical in the terms of the Europe-centered Nineteenth century, had not recognised the new power and fatally underestimated their possibilities.