VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > B. World War I, 1914–1918 > 17. Operations in the West, 1918 > 1918, March 21–April 5
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
1918, March 21–April 5
THE GREAT MARCH OFFENSIVE. In a few days the Germans drove the British line to a depth of 40 miles. The hasty and generous supply of reserves by the French helped to check the advance.  1
March 26
In the midst of the crisis a conference at Doullens named Gen. Ferdinand Foch to coordinate operations on the western front.  2
April 14
Foch named commander in chief of the Allied armies in France. In practice the national commanders (Haig, King Albert, Pershing) retained extensive control.  3
April 9–29
Battle of the Lys.  4
May 27–June 6
(THIRD) BATTLE OF THE AISNE. Taking the French by surprise, the Germans reached the Marne River, only 37 miles from Paris.  5
June 9–14
Battle of the Matz. Ludendorff, astounded at his own success, gave up the idea of an offensive in Flanders and undertook to join up the Soissons and Noyon salients by an attack toward Compiègne.  6
June 4
The American forces at Château-Thierry, collaborating with the French, managed to break the German advance. In this engagement the Americans first played a substantial role.  7
July 15–Aug. 7
(SECOND) BATTLE OF THE MARNE. The Allied counteroffensive was of importance because it frustrated Ludendorff's plan for a great attack in Flanders, and because it enabled Foch to take the initiative in the months to come.  8
After the second battle of the Marne the Allied forces, together with the Americans, gradually went over to a sustained offensive, consisting at first of a series of local attacks but later merging into a general movement.  9
The resulting blows, together with the news of the surrender of Bulgaria, shook the nerve of Gen. Ludendorff, who, in something of a panic, demanded (Sept. 29) that the government initiate armistice and peace negotiations while the army could still hold out.  10
Sept. 30
Hertling and his fellow ministers resigned.  11
Oct. 4
Prince Max of Baden, a Liberal, named chancellor and foreign minister, with support of the Center, Progressive, and Socialist Parties. On the same day the German and Austrian governments appealed to President Wilson for an armistice, accepting the Fourteen Points as a basis for peace. There followed an exchange of notes between Berlin and Washington extending over several weeks, Wilson demanding evacuation of occupied territories, insisting that the Allies could negotiate only with a democratic government, and so on. In the interval Ludendorff regained some of his composure and began to talk of resistance, renewal of the war in the spring, and so forth. The home situation, however, was bad and the democratic tide strong. The government (Oct. 27) accepted Ludendorff's resignation. He was succeeded as quartermaster-general by Gen. Wilhelm von Gröner.  12
During October the British continued to advance in the north. By that time the American troops also resumed the advance. The Germans began to withdraw rapidly, and by Nov. 10 the Americans were at Sedan. Foch was then planning still another thrust east of Metz and arranging for the mission of a force through Austria to attack Bavaria.  13
Oct. 28
Mutiny broke out in the German fleet at Kiel, the crews refusing to put to sea on a series of cruiser raids planned by Adm. Scheer. The mutiny spread rapidly to Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck and thence to the whole of northwestern Germany.  14
Nov. 7–8
Revolution broke out in Munich. The king abdicated. In Berlin the ministry convinced itself that the abdication of William II was imperative if the monarchy was to be preserved. The emperor, who was at Spa, resisted the suggestion, but Prince Max, feeling unable to wait, made the announcement.  15
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.