Monday, June 16, 2014

03 The Battle of the Marne

I continue my quick journey through some key events of the First World War.

The German commanders concentrated their forces in the west and invaded France by marching through Belgium. Efforts by the French and their British allies to attack or even to stand and fight against the German onslaught were of no avail, and so the allied forces fell back. As the German army romped on, their victory looked in sight.

But the German armies overreached themselves and became separated from each other. At the Battle of the Marne, the allies counterattacked, hoping to surround and destroy the two armies on the German right flank. They failed in this, but the German advance was blocked. The Germans withdrew to the Aisne river and began to dig defensive trenches.

The fighting in France had not yet stalemated, but Germany's best chance of winning a decisive victory in 1914 was gone. Instead of a short victorious war of movement, they now looked doomed to fight a long war against enemies with far more resources to throw into the fray. Germany had lost the war, but it would be four more years before it realised this.

The Marne saw the bloodiest fighting of the war. 500,000 men were killed or wounded in little over a week's fighting, split evenly between both sides.

1 comment:

Gerald said...

War is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.

Your article is very well done, a good read.