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The First Battle of the Marne
• The German army quickly advanced through northern France
and after only one month of fighting were barely 25 miles from
Paris. The French, however, would not give up.
The Battle
• The French launched a
counterattack along the
Marne River east of Paris on
September 7, 1914.
• This battle became known as
the First Battle of the Marne.
• 2 million men fought on a
battle-front that stretched
125 miles.
• After five days and 250,000
deaths, the French had rallied
and pushed the Germans
back some 40 miles.
The Aftermath
• The French paid a heavy
price, as countless redcoated French troops had
fallen in the battle.
• Despite the loss of life, it
helped the Allies by giving
Russia more time to
mobilize for war.
• Once Russia mobilized,
Germany had to pull some
of its troops out of France
and send them to fight
Russia on the Eastern
Front, which stretched
from the Black Sea to the
Baltic Sea.
The Second Battle of Ypres involved
four battles around Ypres. The first
of these four battles began on 22
April 1915 as a surprise offensive
by the German 4th Army on the
Allied front line.
This attack saw the first use of a new
German weapon on the Western
Front: poisonous gas. A breeze
moving towards French troops
carried the deadly gas. It had a
devastating effect on the French
and the German infantry made a
significant advance into Allied
During the next four weeks the Allied
Forces of Belgium, France and
Britain fought to hold off the
successful German advance and to
regain the ground that had been
lost north of Ypres. The fourth
battle ended on 25 May 1915.
The Allies had planned to launch a joint
French and British assault in the
region of the Somme. The target date
was the middle of 1916. However, in
February the Allied plan was upset
when the Germans began an assault
on the fortress-ringed city of Verdun.
The belief was that Verdun was
essential to the French that France
would fight to the death. On February
21, the German artillery barrage began
and, for the next several months both
sides unleashed soldiers and shells at
each By Christmas, when the battle
finally ended, 800,000 men had lost
their lives.
One hundred and twenty-five miles
northwest of Verdun, the British and
French armies joined at the Somme
river. A French-British offensive was
planned here for 1916 to relieve
pressure on the French at Verdun.
Verdun, at beginning of Battle
French troops awaiting order to advance
Verdun, 1916
Before and after-Verdon
Before and After
During this horrendous
fighting, the French
sent frantic appeals to
Sir Douglas Haig, the
new British
commander, to hasten
the Somme offensive
and to take the
pressure off Verdun.
Crater at beginning of Somme caused by 27 tons of explosive
Left: These are typical battlefield scenes.
Right: This photograph is a before and after look at Menin Road,
located at Ypres. The top picture was taken in 1914, and the
bottom was taken in 1918 after the "Battle of Ypres".
Photos: Courtesy Queen’s University Archives
Approximately 620,000 Canadians served
in the Canadian Expeditionary Force,
including 425,000 who served
overseas; more than 60,000 were
killed and 172,000 wounded, an
enormous number for a small nation.
Canadian military cemeteries
overseas, carefully maintained by the
Commonwealth War Graves
Commission, graphically convey the
scale of this loss.
Canada was still a colony in 1914, but
battlefield successes stimulated a
desire among Canadians for greater
national autonomy and international
recognition. In 1919, Canada signed
the Treaty of Versailles, which
formally ended the war, and joined the
newly-created League of Nations as a
member state in its own right. Canada
had come of age.
Russian army moved into
Eastern Germany on
August 30, 1914
• Defeated
 Much
more mobile
more than the West
• But loss of life still very
• 1915: 2.5 million
Russians killed,
captured, or wounded
 Germany
and Austria
Hungary joined by
Bulgaria in Sept. 1915
• Attacked and
eliminated Serbia from
The Gallipoli Disaster, 1915
Battlefield Detectives
T. E. Lawrence
& the “Arab Revolt”, 1916-18
Liaison officer to join
the Great Arab Revolt,
led by Prince Feisal. He
took money and guns
and helped keep the
Revolt alive.
 Arab’s won even
Turkish soldiers of the
Ottoman Empire were
more technologically
The Tsar with General Brusilov
Brusilv Offense
•As a counter to the Battle of
Verdun. France persuaded
Russia to launch a dual-wing
•20,000 German losses
•70-100,000 Russian losses
•Lowered an already
hampered Russian morale.
Famine across Russia as
resources were being sent to
the war effort.
•However weakened the
Central Powers and
destroyed Austria-Hungary.
•Unable to cope with loss
of life and funds.
Fighting in Africa
British Sikh
Mountain Gunners
Black Soldiers in the
German Schutztruppen
[German E. Africa]
Fighting in Africa
3rd British Battalion, Nigerian Brigade
Fighting in Salonika, Greece
•In Greece, the situation was rather
complicated. The prime
minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, argued
that Greece should enter the war on the
side of the Triple Entente. King
Constantine, whose wife was German,
insisted that Greece should stay neutral
and avoid entering the war, something
that would help the Central Powers.
French colonial marine infantry
Cochin, China - 1916
•On 11th June 1917 Constantine
abdicated and left the country. The
throne was taken by his son Alexander,
who agreed to work with
Venizelos. Eleftherios Venizelos,
returned to Athens to form a
government and on 29th June 1917,
declared war against the Central
Powers. By July 1918 the Greek
Army had 250,000 men fighting
in Macedonia.