World Facts

What Was the First Battle of Marne?

The First Battle of Marne was one of the first battles to take place in the First World War.

The First Battle of Marne

The First Battle of Marne was one of the first few battles of the World War I. Right after the German invasion of Belgium in August 1914, German forces advanced towards the Marne river valley at the northeastern border of France. A battle took place from the 6th to the 12th of September, 1914. At first, the French forces retreated, which gave the Germans the ability to advance around fifty miles further into France. It did not take much time for the German army to get closer to Paris, the capital city of France. It was a swift attack on France; although the French army retreated at first, soon, they came forward to defend their motherland with the help of the British army. This initiative resulted in a victory for the Allied forces against Germany and after one week of heavy fighting, the Germans faced defeat against French and British forces.

The Battle of the Frontiers

This battle, also known as "the miracle of the Marne," is a part of a series of battles and confrontations with German forces known as the Battle of the Frontiers. The Germans faced defeat in their offensive, but it led to a lengthy war between Germany and the Allied forces that lasted for around three years. Throughout these three years, this front remained the main battleground of World War I, which turned Belgium, Luxembourg, and northeastern France into a war zone. In the events of World War I, this zone is also remembered as the Western Front.

The German offense was so swift that it made the Allied forces retreat from various fronts of the Battle of Frontiers. With France's Plan XVII in ruins, France attacked with full force under the command of General Joseph Joffre and General Michael Joseph Maunoury and fought a great battle along the banks of River Marne. The French Fifth and Sixth army, with the help of British Expeditionary Force, shook the German forces. Germany’s first and second army was left confused and made critical mistakes in their attack plan.

A Well-Planned Counter-Attack

The French forces made a well-planned counter-attack that forced the German army to change their war strategies on the western front. This made the Germans make mistakes that resulted in their defeat. The Germans Schlieffen Plan to defeat the French and Allied forces and capture a major part of eastern France failed badly. The Germans faced heavy losses in the First Battle of Marne; they were not only forced to retreat around a hundred kilometers but also lost a large number of arms and ammunition.

Casualties and Aftermath

The First Battle of Marne was won by the French in less than ten days, but it led to two main events of World War I: the First Battle of Aisne that lasted between the 12th and 15th of September, 1914, and Race to the Sea that lasted between 17th September and 19th of October, 1914.

The First Battle of Marne ended with around 500,000 casualties from both sides. The French and British forces lost around 100,000 men, while more than 150,000 men got injured. Germans, on the other hand, are also estimated to face around 250,000 casualties.

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