VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > B. World War I, 1914–1918 > 7. The Western Front, 1916–1917 > 1917, Feb. 23–April 5
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
1917, Feb. 23–April 5
 
The Germans abandoned Bapaume, Péronne, Roye, Noyon, and Chauny.  1
Though this move on the part of the Germans dislocated the French plans, Nivelle was still optimistic. The new cabinet of Alexandre Ribot (succeeded Briand, March 20) and Paul Painlevé (minister of war) brought pressure upon him to give up the plan but yielded when Nivelle threatened to resign.  2
 
April 9–May 4
 
BATTLE OF ARRAS. Despite some advances, a breakthrough eluded Allied forces.  3
 
April 16–20
 
SECOND BATTLE OF THE AISNE and THIRD BATTLE OF CHAMPAGNE. Heavy losses for the French with only minor territorial gain spread discontent. Mutiny became widespread, affecting 16 corps (May–June).  4
 
May 16
 
Nivelle was dismissed and replaced by Pétain, who did what he could to redress the grievances of the troops and wisely decided to stand on the defensive until American reinforcements could make themselves felt. At the same time the government proceeded with the greatest rigor against socialist and pacifist agitators. Twenty-three leaders were executed.  5
The collapse of the Nivelle offensive gave Haig greater freedom to act. In view of the great destructiveness of the submarines, based on the Belgian coast, Haig was more determined than ever to start an offensive in Flanders and to roll up the German right flank. The French command was not enthusiastic about the plan, and pointed out that it could cooperate only to the extent of launching lesser attacks on the Verdun and Champagne fronts.  6
 
July 31–Nov. 10
 
THIRD BATTLE OF YPRES (Passchendaele). Despite the opposition of Lloyd George and the skepticism of some of his subordinates, Haig proceeded hopefully to the main offensive. No breakthrough was effected, costing the British about 400,000 men. The British forces were almost as demoralized by this operation as the French were by the Nivelle offensive. (See Operations in the West, 1918)  7
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

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