Review Written May 31, 2019
The First Battle of the Marne, by Charles River Editors
This is a concise history of the First Battle of the Marne, September 6-14, 1914, one of the First World War's most important battles because the Allied victory not only saved the French Republic, but also virtually assured Germany's ultimate defeat. The book also details how the outcome of this battle brought about trench warfare, a defensive style of warfare, which would come to characterize the tactics employed by both sides for most of the Great War's duration. It is supplemented with pictures of important people, places, and events, and includes an comprehensive bibliography.
When World War I began in August 1914, all of the armies envisioned a war of movement that would lead to a quick victory. At the beginning, the emphasis for all sides was on attack. Little thought was given to defensive systems except by Belgium, which as a neutral nation relied on a massive system of forts to delay any invader long enough for guarantors such as the United Kingdom to come to their aid. On August 3 Germany declared war on Russia's ally, France, and a day later, at 5:00 a.m. August 4, 1914 the German armies invaded Belgium and moved quickly through the land driving the retreating French and British armies towards Paris. When the First Battle of the Marne began on September 5 the German's were within striking distance of Paris. The battle, which involved over 2 million German, French, and British Army soldiers spread out over a distance of 300 miles, was one of the largest battles ever fought in human history. Five German armies faced six French armies and the British Expeditionary Force at the Marne. As it turned out, the numerical advantage had swung in favor of the Allies, who had 56 divisions confronting 44 German divisions outside of Paris. Once engaged around the Marne River what began with forces making sweeping movements rapidly devolved into a bloody pitched battle that led to the construction of trenches after the Germans were forced to retreat, blocked from their intended capture of Paris and private victory over France. Within a couple of days the battle disintegrated into a war between the trench lines creating what was in effect, a futile static slaughterhouse whose terrible memory remains to the present day.
This book was professionally researched from numerous primary and secondary sources, written, and published by Charles River Editors. This publishing house has produced an extensive collection of thoroughly researched, concise, informative, and well written historical texts.This collection is focused on chronicling the lives of historically significant persons, events, nations, and peoples. I have read many of their offerings and found each volume well written, researched, informative and presented with an unbiased perspective.
This book delivers an interesting, straight forward account that is enjoyable to read and easy to comprehend. It is well researched and carefully documented for accuracy. The narrative is engaging and augmented throughout by contemporary accounts and documents that are informative and interesting. This book provides a balanced, factual narrative regarding the social, cultural, political, and economic conditions that led to the First World War and the various strategies and tactics of the beligrants. I was particularly interested in the authors discussion regarding the impact of new technology on the conduct of warfighting during the Great War and the details provided regarding the conduct of trench warfare. Readers that enjoy history in general, and in particular military history and warfare strategies and tactics will enjoy this book.