VI. The World Wars and the Interwar Period, 1914–1945 > Military Summary
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
Military Summary
The Western Front, 1914–1915
1914
Aug. 4
 
The Germans crossed into Belgium. Armies one and two were obliged to pass through a narrow strip between the Netherlands and the Ardennes, heavily guarded by the fortifications of Liège. The Germans got past the forts in a night attack (Aug. 5–6), which were then reduced by heavy artillery (Aug. 6–17). The Belgians fell back on Brussels and then Antwerp, destroying the bridges on the Meuse.  1
 
Aug. 20
 
Gen. Kluck entered Brussels after the battle of Tirlement (Aug. 18–19).  2
 
Aug. 14–15
 
Battle of the Frontiers (Lorraine). The French invasion was checked almost at once and the French armies driven out of Lorraine with heavy losses. The third and fourth armies were also driven back from Luxembourg. Germans captured Namur (Aug. 25), Longwy (Aug. 27), Malmédy (Aug. 30), Soissons (Sept. 1), Laon (Sept. 2), Rheims (Sept. 3), and Maubeuge (Sept. 7).  3
 
Aug. 23
 
Battle of Mons. First contact between Germans and British. The latter were obliged to fall back with the French fifth army. Further delaying action fought by the British (Gen. Horace Smith-Dorrien) at Le Cateau (Aug. 26).  4
 
Sept. 5–12
 
Battle of the Marne. The opposing armies tried to outflank each other (battle of the Ourcq). Strongly urged by Gen. Joseph Gallieni (military governor of Paris), Joffre (commander in chief of the French armies) decided to order a general counteroffensive (Sept. 5) in the hope of breaking in on the right and rear of Bülow's second army. Sept. 6–9, no decision. Kluck's efforts to outflank the French increased the gap between the German first and second armies, but the British and French failed to take full advantage of this. On Sept. 9, Kluck and Bülow began to fall back (oral instruction of Col. Hentsch, from German headquarters). The whole German line began to withdraw west of Verdun. The British and French advanced cautiously.  5
 
Sept. 15–Oct. 10
 
All efforts to dislodge the Germans from north of the Aisne River ended in failure: battle of the Aisne (Sept. 15–18), battle of Picardy (Sept. 22–26), battle of Artois (Sept. 27–Oct. 10).  6
 
Sept. 22–25
 
Repeated German assaults at Verdun. Germans captured St. Mihiel.  7
 
Oct. 1–9
 
Germans forced the Belgian army and a small British force to evacuate Antwerp.  8
 
Oct. 10–Nov. 10
 
The Race for the Sea. The Germans captured Ghent (Oct. 11), Bruges (Oct. 14), and Ostend (Oct. 15), but failed to reach the Channel ports as the Belgians flooded the district of the Yser (battle of the Yser, Oct. 18–Nov. 30). The Germans also captured Lille (Oct. 12), but failed to take Ypres (first battle of Ypres, Oct. 30–Nov. 24).  9
 
 
 
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.

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