February 4, 1917 - Germans Retreat to the Strongly Fortified Hindenburg Line
Pictured - A picture taken by Canadian forces facing the Hindenburg line. The Germans reduced the length of their defenses by twenty-five miles, freeing up troops and falling back to extensively prepared positions.
While America prepared for war across the Atlantic, the Germans revealed their new strategy for 1917 on the Western Front. On February 4, in a brilliant defensive move, the German army in the West withdrew from its positions to a new, intensively fortified position which they called the Siegfried Line. The Entente named it the HIndenburg line, after the German chief of staff.
Hindenburg had his soldiers leave the kinks and salients that had been created during the battles of 1916. This shortened the German line by 25 miles, freeing up thirteen divisions for service in reserve. The new German front was located several miles behind the old one, ceding a bit of useless ground to the Allies but positioned their men on strong new positions specifically chosen for the defense. Rolls and rolls of barbed wire covered the fronts of the trenches, while concrete pillboxes and deep dug-outs secured the new positions. Second and third defensive lines guarded the first front of trenches.
For weeks Allied troops had heard explosions, sawing, and digging behind the German front, and know they knew why. Between the Hindenburg line and the old front, the Germans had systematically devastated the area. Sawn-down trees blocked roads, orchards were uprooted, and every farm and building burnt to the ground. The few still standing had been booby-trapped. The Bapaume town hall blew up when French deputies went inside to investigate, and several members of a British divisional staff met the same fate. Allied soldiers marveled at the extent of damage done. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria had objected to the scorched earth tactics, but Hindenburg overruled him.
“I really want to do a film in another language. My dad’s from Germany, so it’d be really cool to do a film in German. I’m not quite fluent, but I can get there. And my accent’s pretty good. I wouldn’t feel too out of my element.“
Kirsten Dunst (*April 30 1982) is a German-American actress, singer, and model. She was born in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA, to Inez (née Rupprecht) and Klaus Dunst. Her father, a native German from Hamburg, worked as a medical services executive; her mother was an artist and gallery owner born in New Jersey but also of German and Swedish descent. Dunst affirmed her German citizenship in 2011 and now holds passports as a dual citizen of the USA and Germany. Her films include New York Stories, Interview with the Vampire, Little Women, Jumanji, Wag the Dog, The Virgin Suicides,Drop Dead Gorgeous, Crazy/Beautiful, the Spider-Mantrilogy, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Elizabethtown, Marie Antoinette, How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, and Melancholia.