How Did Geography Affect World War I

Geographical features of different parts of the world directly affected the events and the military strategies on the battlefields during the World War I, namely, the African campaign and the Pacific campaign.

The African campaign included battles between Germany, which was defending its recently acquired colonies, from one side, and troops of Britain, France and Belgium, from the other side; it encompassed the three campaigns: the East African campaign (modern Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda), the South-West African campaign (modern-day Namibia) and the West African campaign (modern Togo, Cameroon and parts of Ghana). The desert sandy landscapes and the dry climate of those regions of Africa dictated the nature of military operations: limited numbers of infantry soldiers, relatively small number of technical equipment, rapid battle actions.

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The war for the German colonies situated in China and East Asia (specifically, German New Guinea, German Samoa and a number of Pacific islands like Marshall, Mariana and Caroline) was, obviously, defined by the vast territories of the ocean and its distance from the European states. The naval operations performed by the large fleets were comparatively lengthy in time. However, tactics differed in case with fighting for island territories from those employed in case with inland objects, such as the siege of Tsingtao in China. In order to increase chances for success in the exhausting conditions, torpedo boats were used, and the military vessels themselves were quite big to carry a maximum number of soldiers without causing harm to the maneuvering ability of the ships.

In the European battles, the following geographical factors made a difference: the mountain systems of the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Balkans, and the river systems, such as the Danube, the Rhine, the Elbe, the Oder and the Loire, shaped the circumstances in which the war was to be led.

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