End of Beginning at the Battle of the Marne AKA Miracle of the Marne

End of Beginning at the Battle of the Marne AKA Miracle of the Marne

Photo story (Clockwise from top): (1) In 1914, French troops positioned in a ditch during WWI (2) One of the Taxi cabs of Marne (3) 600 taxicabs volunteered in rushing reserved troops to the front in the Battle of Marne in 1914

The Battle of the Marne is also known as Miracle of Marne. Allied forces became victorious against the German Army at the first Battle of Marne in 1914. Concerning the Second Battle of El Alamein, Winston Churchill in his famous 1942 speech in London said that it was perhaps ‘the end of the beginning’. The term implies that nowhere near the end yet. So was the case at the Battle of the Marne at WWI. The telegraph.co.uk reports.

A series of victories were the results of the first month’s German push in Belgium and France during WWI. German forces were only a few days’ advance from Paris at the beginning of September, 1914. French governor General Joseph Simon Gallieni even ordered to place explosive charges to be laid under Eiffel Tower. Abandoning the capital city to the hands of fate, the French Government was preparing a scuttle to Bordeaux as part of an ongoing vacillation.

British Expeditionary force Commander Field marshal Sir John French was dejected and anxious about pulling his 70,000 men from the front line as the Allied collaboration had virtually fallen apart. The positions seemed hopeless as the five German armies that had just overpowered Belgium continued to press hard trough France. Yet only between the span of a week, 5th to 12th September, 1914, the tides were turned around as the Germans were hard on their heels in retreat with the Allies.

It would be remembered as the Miracle of Marne and as an intervention by a Francophile God to save the nation. A strong French and British defense and German blunders ensured the Allied victory and destruction of the six-week long German dreams. It also paralyzed the state of the bloody war. German Kaiser Wilhelm II was optimistic about the war and on 4th September 1914, he told his ministers that their troops were just 30 miles from Paris and were besieging Reims, France.

The German plan was to outfox and encircle the Allies before totally annihilating them.  By mobilizing his troops to go after retreating French fifth army, German First Army General Alexander Von Kluck was precariously straying from the plot. His blunder of exposing his right flank left a 30 mile gap between his men the German Second Army. Taking this opportunity French Commander in Chief Joseph Joffre maneuvered his troops into a suitable position on the Marne and fully exploited the situation with fierce counter attacks.

The French had 39 divisions and the British had 6 divisions in the week long battle while the Germans had 27 divisions. But the strength of the German forces was significantly higher with 1,485,000 soldiers against the 1,071,000 allied soldiers. This first battle of Marne saw over half a million casualties. The French had 250,000 casualties including 80,000 dead; British had 13,000 casualties including 1,700 dead while the Germans suffered 220,000 casualties. Germans lost their Grip of the battle and on 9th September positioned themselves along the river Aisne digging trenches which was a new strategy in the battle. The war then went on and on. The battle of Marne is best remembered for the union of French people and their army when 600 taxicabs volunteered in rushing reserved troops to the front.


Mohammad Rafi Saad

Mohammad Rafi Saad is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE