Two days after the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk was signed, Germany, Bulgaria and Austria signed a peace treaty with Romania. The Treaty of Buftea forced Romania to hand the province of Dobrudja to Bulgaria, but gave Bessarabia from Russia to Romania.
As soon as the treaties of Brest-Litovsk and Buftea were signed, the Germans began their preparations for a mighty offensive in the West. Hundreds of railway trains steamed east to carry the vast German armies from Russia to France.
The German army was now in the hands of two men: General Paul von Hindenburg and General Erich von Ludendorff. Of the two, Hindenburg was the more senior, but Ludendorff was the logistics genius. He alone knew how to move and supply the large armies of Germany.
In July 1917, Ludendorff had calculated the relative strengths in manpower, supplies and money of the various countries involved in the war.
Ludendorff estimated that by spring 1919 neither France, Germany nor Austria would be able to continue fighting. Britain, he thought, would be able to continue only at sea, while Turkey would be exhausted but would not be under serious attack.
Only the United States of America, Ludendorff thought, would be stronger in 1919 than in 1917. America would by then have mobilised an army of over 2 million men and would be using her great wealth to manufacture huge supplies of modern weapons.
Ludendorff believed that if Germany had not beaten Britain and France by the autumn of 1918, she would lose the war.
American forces would prove to be decisive in 1919. They would win the war and impose a peace on Europe drawn up in America.
Ludendorff believed that the British might continue the war alone if France were defeated, but that France would not fight on if Britain were knocked out.
Ludendorff decided he had to defeat the British. He drew up his plans accordingly.
from 1000 FACTS ON WORLD WAR I by Rupert Matthews
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