The beginning of 1918 brings a feeling of uncertainty. Germany remains solidly dug in on the Western Front, but four years of British naval blockade are beginning to take its toll. German industrial capacity is down to almost 50% of it's pre-war levels, and starvation is becoming widespread - the British are denounced by some in the United States for the inhumanity of their strategy, but by now this is total war in it's purest form, and the civilian is as much a target as the soldier. By the end of the war three quarters of a million German civilians will have died of starvation as a result.

The US joined the war in 1917, and by 1918 a million Americans are serving in the AEF under General Pershing, but as of January 1918 are still ill equipped for fighting in the intense conditions of the Western Front. The French are desperate for the Americans to get engaged as soon as possible, and provide them with excellent French 75mm guns. On the other hand, Russia, soundly beaten, is now in the throes of communist revolution, and has effectively bowed out of the war altogether.

General Erich Ludendorff begins to move soldiers from the East to the West, intent on striking before the Americans can begin contributing in a significant way…

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