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looks you see sadness these days. The other day on the train a
woman sat counting the fingers on her hand. One, two, three, four,
five she said, then began the counting again. She repeated herself
over and over. Some of us riding the car couldn't help but to start
smiling at her. Her husband then spoke in a soft voice. Ladies and
gentlemen, please don't laugh at my wife. She has lost all five of
her sons in battle defending our fine nation. Now she is gone in
the head and I am taking her to the asylum.
The Nations Involved in
Between the Wars
Declaration of War
Kaiser Wilhelm II
Wilfred Owen, "Gas"
World War One Battles
Letters from the Front
A Special Christmas Story
Music from World War One
Long Way To Tipperary
Pack Up Your Troubles
World War One, The Marne
At the end of August
1914, the three armies of the German invasion's northern
wing were sweeping south towards Paris. The French 5th
and 6th Armies and the British Expeditionary Force (BEF)
were in retreat. General Alexander von Kluck, commander
of the German Ist Army, was ordered to encircle Paris
from the east. Expecting the German army to capture
Paris, the French government departed for Bordeaux.
About 500,000 French civilians also left Paris by the
Joseph Joffre, the Commander-in-Chief of the French
forces, ordered his men to retreat to a line along the
River Seine, south-east of Paris and over 60km south of
the Marne. Joffre planned to attack the German Ist Army
on 6th September and decided to replace General Charles
Lanrezac, the commander of the 5th Army, with the more
aggressive, General Franchet D'Esperey. The commander of
the BEF, Sir John French, agreed to join the attack on
the German forces.
General Michel Maunoury and the French 6th Army attacked
the German Ist Army on the morning of 6th September.
General von Kluck wheeled his entire force to meet the
attack, opening a 50km gap between his own forces and
the German 2nd Army led by General Karl von Bulow. The
British forces and the French 5th now advanced into the
gap that had been created splitting the two German
For the next three days the German forces were unable to
break through the Allied lines. At one stage the French
6th Army came close to defeat and were only saved by the
use of Paris taxis to rush 6,000 reserve troops to the
front line. On 9th September General Helmuth von Moltke,
the German Commander in Chief, ordered General Karl von
Bulow and General Alexander von Kluck to retreat. The
British and French forces were now able to cross the
Marne. Despite encountering little opposition, the
advance was slow and the armies covered less than twelve
miles on that first day. This enabled Kluck's Ist Army
to reunite with Bulow's forces at the River Aisne.
By the evening of 10th September, the Battle of the
Marne was over. During the battle, the French had around
250,000 casualties. Although the Germans never published
the figures, it is believed that Geman losses were
similar to those of France. The British Expeditionary
Force lost 12,733 men during the battle.
The most important consequence of the Battle of the
Marne was that the French and British forces were able
to prevent the German plan for a swift and decisive
victory. However, the German Army was not beaten and its
successful retreat ended all hope of a short war.
World History Project