The Allied situation at the beginning of 1918 was grim. The major Allied offensives of 1917 had failed. Russia had collapsed, and Italy was on the verge of collapse. The German U-boat campaign still threatened the maritime supply route from the United States. Many months would pass before American soldiers could bolster depleted Allied manpower. Both Britain and France were on the defensive.
The Central Powers had also been unsuccessful. They were being stifle by the Allied naval blockade. Austria was at the end of its resources; Turkey and Bulgaria were weakened; the burden of the war fell more and more heavily on Germany. A virtual military dictatorship had been established in Germany and exercised authority over the subservient governments of Austria, Bulgaria, and Turkey.