- Two-front war
militaryterminology, a two-front war is one in which fighting takes place on two geographically separate fronts. It is usually executed by two or more separate forces simultaneously or nearly simultaneously, in the hope that their opponent will be forced to split their fighting force to deal with both threats, therefore reducing their odds of success.
One of the earliest examples of a two-front war occurred in the third century B.C. when the
Roman Republicfought the First Macedonian Warcontemporaneously with the Second Punic Waragainst Carthage.
Napoleonic Wars, France repeatedly fought on multiple fronts. For example, France fought the Spanish and British in the Peninsular Warwhile fighting the Russian Empireat the same time during the French invasion of Russia.
The British were simultaneously at war with
Franceand the United Statesduring the War of 1812.
World War I
World War I, Germanyunder Kaiser Wilhem IIfought a two-front war against French, British, Belgian, and (later) American forces on the Western Frontwhile simultaneously fighting the Russians on the Eastern Front, until the Bolshevik Revolutionof 1917 took Russia out of the war. Germany had foreseen such a scenario, and developed the Schlieffen Planin order to counteract being surrounded by its enemies.Fact|date=November 2007 Under the Schlieffen Plan, German forces would invade France via Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands (the idea to go through the Netherlands was abandoned because of the country's neutrality), quickly capturing Parisand forcing France to sue for peace. The Germans would then turn their attention to Russiain the east before the Tsarcould mobilize his massive forces. Due to several factors however, the Germans failed to achieve the plan's aims.
World War II
Perhaps the most famous example of a two-front war was the European theatre during
World War II, when Hitler's Nazi Germanyhad to deal with the Western Allies on the west and the Soviet Unionto the east. The Nazis were unable to repel either of the two front's advances and eventually lost the war. While there were other contributing factors, such as the insufficiency of the Wehrmachtfor a long war, and the abandonment of blitzkrieg tactics due to fuel shortages and a rising need to defend territory, the two-front war was an important factor in deciding when the German military would be forced to surrender.
The Allies, especially the
United States, also fought a two-front war, splitting their forces between the European theatre against Nazi Germanyand the Pacific Waragainst Japan. It should be noted that the Axis Powershad the opportunity to force the Soviet Union into a two-front war by means of a Japanese attack on the Pacific Coast of the Soviet Union, but the Japanese declined to do so, having signed the Soviet-Japanese Neutrality Pact. Soviet military operations against Japan began on August 9, 1945 with Operation August Storm.
1948 Israeli-Arab War, the Israelis fought the Egyptians to the south and the Jordanians and Syria in the east and north. Israel again fought two-front wars in the Six-Day Warof 1967 and the Yom Kippur Warof 1973.
A major rationale for the American
600-ship Navyplan in the 1980's was to threaten the Soviet Union with a two-front war (in Europe and the Pacific Ocean) in the event of hostilities.Fact|date=November 2007
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