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Interactive Timeline of the First World War
The 1st Battle of Marne - The First World War - September 1914
The 1st Battle of Marne. On the Western Front the Germans continued their push towards Paris. This was part of the Schlieffen Plan. It was expected that the German army would take Paris. And so the British and French troops retreated to positions south of the Seine and Marne rivers. Many Parisians left their homes, expecting defeat. On September 6th the French 6th Army launched a counter attack. The Germans maneuvered the First army to meet the advance, leaving a gap of 50 km between their First and second armies. British and French troops pushed into the gap and held off German counter attacks. Despite being at the brink of defeat for much of This battle, the French had managed to safe Paris. (Reinforcements were sent in taxi's from Paris. During This battle, such was the need for extra men on the front lines). The Germans, unable to make the final break through, retreated back to the River Aisne.
The first battle of the Aisne. Hoping to take advantage of the German retreat to the Aisne the Allies launched a series of offensives against German positions their on 13th September. The Germans however had dug in, creating a range of strong defenses. By the end of September it was realised that frontal attacks on the German defenses would lead to very high casualty figures and the assault drew to a close. Over 250,000 French soldiers perished trying to overcome the German forces, a similar number of German soldiers are thought to have been killed in This early battle. A stalemate had been reached and the French and British now had to consolidate their positions and dig in themselves. Thus began the horrors of Trench Warfare.
The BBC site offers an animated reconstruction of a trench.
Elsewhere on the Western Front a French attempt at driving through Lorraine failed. Troops were shifted to the north and a further attempt to break through, near the Somme River, was made. This too failed, another stalemate had been reached as the French dug in close to the town of Albert.
At home thousands of young men rushed to join the army. Listen to some of the reasons why by going to this BBC page dedicated to the volunteers.
Other Schoolshistory.org.uk resources about the First World War