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The First World War:

The Nature of the Fighting…

Useful websites: (encyclopaedia of World War One)

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The Schlieffen Plan in 1914:

German Strategic Reasons for the creation of the Schlieffen Plan:

In 1904 France and Britain signed the Entente Cordiale (friendly understanding). The aim of this
loose alliance was to encourage imperial co-operation. Negotiations also began to add Russia to
this alliance group in 1907. As a result of these moves the German Army began to fear the
possibility of a combined attack from France, Britain and Russia. And planned for such an
eventuality the result was the Schlieffen plan and its subsequent modification.

The Basic Plan objectives…

Alfred von Schlieffen, The German Army Chief, was given instructions to devise a plan that he
hoped would be able to defeat a joint attack by Britain France and Russia. In December 1905, he
began creating what later became known as the Schlieffen Plan. Schlieffen argued that if war broke
out it was vital that France was speedily defeated. If this happened he hoped that Britain and
Russia would be unwilling to carry on fighting. Schlieffen calculated that it would take Russia six
weeks to organize its large army for an attack on Germany. Therefore, it was vitally important to
beat France into defeat and surrender before Russia was ready to use all its forces. Schlieffen
worked out an elaborate system that would use the railways to mobilise his troops and get them
into the Western Theatre quickly. For Germany mobilisation meant War!

But The Plan would only work if the following assumptions were correct…

 Russia would take at least 6 weeks to mobilise.

 France would be readily defeated in 6 weeks.
 Belgium would not resist any German attack.
 Britain would remain neutral.

Schlieffen's plan involved using 90% of Germany's armed forces to attack France. Fearing the
French forts on the border with Germany, Schlieffen suggested a scythe-like attack through Belgium
and Luxembourg. By keeping close to the channel coast Schlieffen thought that Britain would be
kept out of the war and that Paris, the French capital, could then be captured. The rest of the
German Army would be sent to defensive positions in the east to stop the expected Russian attack.
The whole plan was a huge gamble as so much could go wrong. See map:

‘Scythe’ movement
of the German
army through
Paris captured Belgium. Britain
would then be kept
out from helping

French army
and captured
War over
in 6

Source A:

Once the War had broken out this cartoon was produced by Britain to demonstrate the
phases of the Schlieffen plan…

Historical note: The British were designated a support role along side the French whilst the
French Army engaged in the ill fated Plan XVII, the battles of the Frontiers proved to very
costly against a well armed German Army.

The failure of the Schlieffen Plan and the Origins of Stalemate :

When Helmuth von Moltke replaced Alfred von Schlieffen as the German Army Chief in 1906, he
modified the plan as he decided to use less troops than Schlieffen in the ‘right hook’. Moltke also
argued that Belgium's small army would be unable to stop German forces from quickly entering
France. This was a huge gamble as speed was the key factor. The gambles were to continue…

War broke out between the Germans and Austrians (Central Powers) on one side and
Britain, France and Russia (Allies) on the other. From the start things started to go
very wrong for German strategy…

On 2nd August 1914, the Schlieffen Plan was put into operation when the German Army invaded
Luxembourg and Belgium. However, the Germans were soon held up by the resistance of the
Belgian Army and were shocked by the Russian Army's quick attacks on East Prussia, instead of it
taking Russia 6 weeks to be ready it only took 10 days for initial mobilisation. The Germans were
also surprised by how quickly the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) reached France and Belgium.
The British inflicted a small but important defeat on the Germans at the town of Mons in Belgium on
23rd August. This defeat slowed the attack down, however the German Army was so huge that the
British had to withdraw through fear of encirclement. The Germans were cut down by the excellent
marksman ship of the British regular army, as their rifle fire that was so ‘rapid’ that the Germans
believed that the British all had machine guns.

Things get worse for Germany and the Schlieffen Plan…

On 3rd September, one month after the opening of the plan, Joseph Joffre, the Commander of the
French forces, ordered his men to retreat to a line along the River Seine and the River Marne.
These rivers were very deep and wide so they were in a good defensive position, the Germans
were being held up even further. Sir John French, commander of the British Expeditionary Force
agreed to join the French in attacking the German forces at what became known as the battle of
The Marne.
The French Army attacked the German Army at the River Marne on the morning of 6th September.
The German General, Alexander von Kluck used his entire force to meet the attack, opening a 35
mile gap between his own forces and the other German General, Karl von Bulow. The British army
and the French Army now advanced into the gap that had been created splitting the two German

For the next three days the German forces were unable to break through the Allied lines and meet
up. At one stage the French Army came close to breaking and were only reinforced by the use of
Paris taxis to rush 6,000 troops to the front line. On 9th September the Germans were forced to
retreat. The British and French forces were now able to cross the Marne. Five weeks into the plan
France was no closer to defeat.

Significance of the Plan’s failure…

The Schlieffen Plan had not succeeded, the Germans had had only one plan to win the war and
their hopes of a swift and decisive victory had been frustrated. However, the German Army had not
been beaten and its successful retreat and the building of trenches between the North Sea to the
Swiss Frontier ended all hope of a short war.

The French had been committed to following Plan XVII, which had also proved to be a costly failure
in the area of Alsace and Lorraine- known as the ‘Battles of the Frontiers’.

What next? Not Over by Christmas…

Once it became clear that the Schlieffen Plan had failed all sides looked at what to do next. On the
outbreak of the War many had been confident that the war would be short and their own side would
win. There had been a popular belief that the War would be “over by Christmas”. However by the
September of 1914 the only plan to win the War (Schlieffen) had failed. There were to be 4 more
war time Christmases. The failure of the plan meant that the war would last a long time.

In an attempt to regain the initiative and keep open a mobile war each side tried to outflank (go
around the side) of the other in what was given the confusing name of the ‘race to the sea’, which it
wasn’t. In November 1914 the British were again attacked in huge numbers at Ypres (1st Battle) by
the Germans and desperate fighting occurred, Ypres was regarded as the key to the channel
defences, also politically it was the only part of Belgium not occupied by the Germans.

The Western Front of WWI was fought mainly from defensive positions. They were not pre-built
fortresses or border defenses. The boundary between the two sides emerged from a series of
battles in September and October 1914. It was a Race to the Sea.

The Schlieffen Plan Fails

The war began using one of the most well-known plans in military history – the Schlieffen Plan. The
Germans expected to march boldly and decisively into France, swing around the formations
defending the country, and catch many troops between German armies.

The Schlieffen plan rapidly ran into difficulties. Once separated from Germany’s efficient railway
network, the troops could not advance as quickly as expected. They became weary from marching
and fighting.

The enemy had also put up a better fight than they expected, so the Germans were not able to
mobilize as in the original plan.

In early September 1914, only a month into the war, Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke had to admit
that his strategy – an adaptation of Count Alfred von Schlieffen’s original plan – was failing. He
pulled German troops back north to the River Aisne.

It had two main effects. One was that it committed Germany to an extended war on two fronts
instead of the swift series of victories the nation’s planners had hoped. Secondly, Moltke was
replaced for his failure; General Erich von Falkenhayn took his place as Chief of Staff.

The First Battle of the Aisne

The Allies saw an opportunity in the German failure. Until then, they had been fighting a defensive
war. Maybe it was time to strike back.

The French Commander-in-Chief, Marshal Joseph Joffre, was keen to outflank the Germans. Their
swift advance followed by retreat had left the German right flank exposed. If the Allies could get
around it, they could inflict the crushing defeat the Germans had aimed for.

The Allies tried to do just that during the First Battle of the Aisne, fought in mid-September. French
and British troops crossed the River Aisne and attacked the Germans. A shortage of heavy
weapons hampered their attack. They were unable to push the Germans back and begin to outflank
their forces.

With neither side able to shift the other, the fighting on the Aisne turned into a bloody stalemate.
Soldiers on both sides began digging trenches, setting the tone for the rest of the war.

German trenches on the Aisne, circa 1914.

Fighting North

The fighting on the Aisne was only the first in a series of flanking maneuvers. Over the following
month, both sides tried to get around each other’s flanks. They moved more troops north then
attacked east or west, hoping to break through and encircle their opponents. Both sides were
thwarted in their aims.

Fierce fighting took place in Picardy between September 22 and 26 and in Artois from the 27 th until
October 10. From there, both sides continued further north into Flanders, where they fought a series
of bloody battles. The result was not a breakthrough. It was a stalemate.

The Allies were trying to move east, and the Germans were trying to move west. The result was that
both armies moved north, following an almost straight line from the Aisne to the coast and the
Straits of Dover. It was this retrospective appearance of a rush north that earned the fighting its
label of the Race to the Sea.

Belgian soldiers in 1914. Photo: Garitan – CC BY-SA 3.0.

The Fall of Antwerp

The effect of the Race to the Sea was the formation of defensive lines facing each other across
northern France and the western tip of Belgium. The lines were completed, and the race brought to
a halt by another piece of fighting – the attack on Antwerp.

From the start of the war, the Belgian government had intended to use the city of Antwerp as its last
bastion. Surrounded by strong concrete fortifications, they thought they could hold out until their
allies arrived.

They had not counted on the power of German artillery. After beating all the other Belgian defenses,
the Germans laid siege to Antwerp on August 28. The arrival of British forces was not enough to
save the Belgian city. In early October, the defenders withdrew. The city surrendered on the 10 th.

The troops withdrawing from Belgium formed the final part of the line from the Aisne Valley to the
English Channel. They took up defensive positions between Boesinghe and Nieuport, using the
Yser Canal. It put them in line with the Allied troops advancing north. The forces joined up,
completing the Race to the Sea.

Belgian guns in action during the defense of Antwerp.

Last Attacks

The Germans were not ready to give up on their flanking plan. During the second half of October,
two important actions took place.

One was the formation of the Ypres salient. That territory, around 20 miles from the coast, was held
by Allied forces despite the presence of Germans to the north and south. It was defined by the
indecisive fighting in October. Although no-one knew it at the time, it was also the site of some of the
heaviest fighting later in the war.

Meanwhile, the Germans launched an attack which became the Battle of the Yser. They tried to
overrun the Allied defensive positions along the canal, breaking their enemy’s anchoring point
against the sea.

The Belgians responded by opening the sluice gates of their irrigation systems, flooding the low-
lying area. The region east of the Yser line became impassable to troops.

Digging In

The Race to the Sea was over. Each side now held a complete defensive line from the Swiss border
to the sea. There could be no flanking maneuvers.

The war of movement was over. The war of attrition was about to begin

By the Christmas of 1914 the British and French on one side and Germans on the other were
exhausted and winter was coming. By December 1914 the British had suffered 90% casualties. In
an attempt to hold on to what they had gained each side began to dig trenches. These trench lines
were to be protected by barbed wire, machine guns and huge guns called artillery, which fired
enormous shells, which exploded on impact. The trenches were to stretch for the entire length of the
Western Front. Over time the trench defences became more sophisticated and were ‘defended in

Attrition (synopsis)…

The war was to be prolonged as now the world’s most powerful industrialised nations were
converting their economies for the successful prosecution of the war. In 1914 Britain did not have
the necessary tools for a continental conflict on the scale it found itself in. Britain therefore had to
adapt to this new industrialised warfare. Britain’s army was good but small, too small! The Western
Front was clearly the decisive theatre so Britain would have to respond accordingly. Mass
mobilisation and expansion of the armed forces, training and equipping would take time; also the
economy would have to be reorganised to harness the nation’s resources to sustain such a long

After the defensive battles of 1914-5 Britain was able to begin limited offensive operations at Loos in
September 1915 but was not able to engage in a major offensive until the Somme in the summer of
1916. The French were providing most of the strategy and resources against an immensely
powerful German Army (an army so powerful that it could withstand the British onslaught on the
Somme whilst carrying its own major offensive against the French at Verdun).

Over the fist 25 months of the War Britain was able to catch up with regards to mass warfare and by
1917 was able to take over from the French as the main fighting force. After the Somme the BEF
learned valuable lessons, which were acted upon in 1917 (exemplified in S.S 143) when the British
engaged the German Army in over 7 of the 12 months (Arras, Messines, Bullecourt, Ypres,

The wearing out fight or attrition strategy was long winded and very costly in men and material but
was telling, the German Army was weakened which was important as the French had experienced
mutinies in the spring of 1917 rendering it incapable of offensive action until 1918. The Germans
retreated after the Somme to the Hindenburg Line (March 1917) as a means of shortening their
lines to save material and men. The Hindenburg Line was designed to withstand massive assault
but was breeched in November 1917 and September 1918, on both occasions by the BEF. The
Hindenburg Line was to be the ultimate expression of attritional warfare, the Germans were not
drawn out of their positions until the March 1918 Offensive, when again the British (and French)
were pressurised by massive German assaults, however this precipitated the end as once in the

open with 4 years of irreplaceable attritional losses the Germans weakened and were beaten in the
mobile warfare that followed albeit at considerable cost. (See BEF performance indicators…)

BEF Overview…

In the early part of the 20th century, the British Army was a very small professional body of
volunteer regular soldiers. After the Boer War in 1902, the British War Minister, Richard
Haldane, created the British Expeditionary Force (BEF), in case it was necessary to take part
in a European war.

By August 1914, Britain had only 247,432 regular troops. About 120,000 of these were in the
British Expeditionary Force and the rest were stationed abroad. The German Army was at
least ten times the size of the British Army.
Lord Kitchener was appointed war minister on the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.
He immediately began a recruiting campaign for volunteer soldiers. At first this was very
successful with an average of 33,000 men joining every day. This created serious equipment
and training problems and until 1916 the British Army remained short of guns, ammunition
and uniforms. Britain was not able to take a major part in the fighting on the Western Front
until the Somme in1916. these problems were solved once the economy adjusted to the
rigours of ‘total war’.

By January 1916 over 2.6 million men had volunteered for the British Army. The military
leaders insisted that more men were needed and the BEF expanded massively eventually
conscription was introduced which is all the more remarkable as it was introduced by a
Liberal Government.

BEF War Record and Performance Indicators…

 By 1918 the British Army was approx 5 Million Men strong (250,000 in 1914)
 After 1917 the British replaced the French Army as the main weapon against the

 After the failure of the German Offensive the Germans were attacked every day for
‘100 days’ by the British army- the greatest series of battles in our country’s history.

 Fighting tactics and technology improved under the Leadership of Sir Douglas Haig
this is exemplified by S.S143.

 Technology was developed and deployed effectively in “all arms battles”.

 Logistical issues were solved ensuring a ready and effective supply of materials.

 The ‘New Armies’ were trained and battle hardened supplemented by a conscript

 In 1914 the BEF was only 6 Divisions strong by 1918 it was over 60 strong, including
‘crack’ Australian, New Zealand and Canadian Divisions.

Case study of the Machine Gun Corps1915-18:

After August 8th 1918 the British army was involved in 9 Major battles the results are
shown below:

NB. A divisionis a unit of fighting men. German and British divisions were roughly equal in size
approx 10,000 fighting men.

Battle of… Outcome…

Amiens 15 British divisions defeated 20 German Divisions

Bapaume 23 British divisions defeated 35 German Divisions

Arras 7 British divisions defeated 13 German Divisions

Epehy 14 British divisions defeated 15 German Divisions

Cambrai 38 British divisions defeated 45 German Divisions

*Ypres 9 British divisions defeated 5 German Divisions

*Courtai 7 British divisions defeated 6 German Divisions

Selle 26 British divisions defeated 31 German Divisions

Mauberge 26 British divisions defeated 32 German Divisions

The British outnumbered the Germans on only 2 of the 9 occasions.

Historical/ Evaluative Point: The cost to the British Nation was massive and has been argued
that it was too high. The British Army had 1.6 million men wounded during the First World
War. Approximately 662,000 were killed and another 140,000 were recorded as missing,
presumed dead.

Evaluation: You will need to cast your own judgement about whether the cost was worth it!

Source B: A trench position

Source C: Barbed wire. Some belts of barbed wire were 100 metres thick by 1918
especially on the Hindenburg line.

Source E: During the War the

following raised armies of enormous
Source D: A hidden machine gun
position. The gun was capable of firing
France& Britain: 16 Million men.
600 rounds per minute
Germany & Austria: 17 Million

Source G: Artillery such as

Source F: All sides had large artillery
capable of firing huge explosiveBig Bertha cratered the ground
shells. This example was calledthat
“bigthe soldiers were supposed
to fight over. When it rained the
Bertha”. trenches were impossible to
fight over.
Look at the damage to the ground in

Source H: Gas was used

against soldiers to break up
effective attacks. Soldiers
had to wear gas masks or
breathe in poisonous fumes
such as chlorine or
Phosgene. Later blister
gases were used such as 12
‘mustard gas’.
A synergy of problems…

How do these sources combine to show that the war was going to last a long time
and that it would be difficult for any side to win?

Also factor in: huge armies, logistical problems, training needs of soldiers,
communication under battle conditions?

A Synergy of solutions…

Why was 1918 the Year of Victory?

The impact of New Technology…

Case Study A: the Tank:

The British invented Tanks to breakthrough powerful German trench positions. At first
they were poorly used and broke down too easily but over time…

Although the performance of the first tanks had proved disappointing in battle, the British
Colonel John Fuller, chief of staff of the Tank Corps, remained convinced that these machines
could win the war. After the Battle of the Somme, Fuller persuaded Sir Douglas Haig,
Commander of the British Army, to order another 1,000 tanks.

The British had only 60 tanks in service by the spring of 1917 but that was nowhere nearly
enough. Improvements were made and the new Mark ‘IV’ tank was strong enough to
withstand the recently developed German anti-tank rifles. The Mark ‘IV’s were used at the
Battle of Messines in June 1917 but those used at 3rd Ypres later that year tended to get
stuck in the mud before they reached the German lines. Other problems encountered during
this period included, poor visibility, noxious fumes and high temperatures inside the tank. Th
first major Tank success was at Cambai in November 1917.

At the autumn of 1917 a lighter tank called the Mark ‘A’ was ready to be used on the Western
Front. Nicknamed the ‘Whippet’, it was much faster than previous tanks.

The Mark ‘V’ tank also became available in July 1918. It contained a new Ricardo engine that
had been specially designed for the tank. These tanks also had new transmission and better
gears. To help the tank tackle the wide trenches of the Hindenburg Line, ‘cribs’ were carried.
This was a braced cylindrical framework which when dropped in the trench acted as a kind of
stepping stone.

At the battle of Amiens in 1918 Colonel John Fuller managed to persuade General Henry
Rawlinson to use 342 Mark ‘V’ and 72 Whippet tanks, followed by soldiers and supported by
over 1,000 aircraft. The strategy worked and the Allies managed to breakthrough the German
frontline. The tanks had at last proved their worth in battle. This was the beginning of the ‘all
arms’ offensive.

Tanks did not win the Great War but they did provide a tactical advantage if used effectively in
sufficient numbers. Case study Cambrai 1917 and Amiens 1918.

Mark ‘V’ Tank

and crib.

Case Study B; Aircraft:

In 1914 both sides had small airforces with flimsy and unreliable aircraft but by 1918…

Military aviation in Britain began in 1878. At first progress was slow and by 1912 Britain only
had eleven qualified pilots compared to 263 in the French Army Air Service.

Great Britain founded the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in May 1912. And by the end of 1912 the
RFC had one squadron of airships and three of aircraft. Each squadron had twelve machines.
This was far too small an airforce to fight a World War.

By May 1915, the Royal Flying Corps had 166 aircraft. Therefore the vast majority of the
operations on the Western Front were carried out by the French Airforce, which had 1,150
aircraft available.

In August 1915 Hugh Trenchard became the new RFC field commander. Trenchard took a
much more aggressive approach and insisted on non-stop offensive patrols over enemy lines.
British casualties were high, and by 1916, an average of two-aircrew crew were lost every
day. It became even worse the following year, and in the spring of 1917 the RFC were losing
nearly fifty aircraft a week (Bloody April).

By the time the Battle of the Somme started in July 1916 the RFC had a total strength of
twenty-seven squadrons (421 aircraft). The squadrons were organised into four brigades,
each of which worked with one of the British armies. The RFC was beginning to be well
organised and used properly.

It was only with the arrival of improved fighter planes such as the Bristol Fighter and SE5 that
losses began to decline. Britain also developed new bombers such as the Handley Page. By
the end of 1917 the British had established their superiority over the German Airforce.

Eventually, in January 1918, Trenchard was appointed chief of staff to the Royal Air Force
(this replaced the RFC) with the promise of being able to create a mass bombing fleet of
aircraft. By the end of the war the RAF operated 4,000 combat aircraft and employed 114,000
people. This huge expansion of its power from 1914 made the RAF into a formidable fighting
unit. Combined with the use of Tanks and effective artillery/ Infantry cooperation (‘all arms
offensive’), 1918 was to be the year of Victory.

Case Study C; Artillery (effective use of…):

‘Tipping the balance’: The Role of The USA…

At the beginning of the 20th century the United States was arguably the most powerful
country in the world. The world leader in coal and steel production, the USA was also a major
producer of raw materials. The most important of these being wheat, cotton and oil, which
accounted for more than a third of all the USA's exports. With a population of over 100 million
people the USA had the potential to decide the outcome of the First World War. However, in
1914, the USA would not join in the War on any one’s side.

Although the USA had strong ties with Britain, Wilson the President of the USA was
concerned about the large number of people in the country who had been born in Germany
and Austria. Other influential political leaders argued strongly in favour of the USA
maintaining its isolationist policy.

Some people in the USA argued that the country should expand the size of its armed forces
in case of war. General Leonard Wood, the former US Army Chief of Staff, formed the
National Security League in December 1914. Wood and his organisation called for military
training and the introduction of conscription as a means of increasing the size of the US Army.
The USA did join the war eventually in 1917 and by 1918 the American armies and
inexhaustible supplies were arriving. This was a psychological blow to Germany and forced
the German High command into a desperate last gamble. The AEF (American Expeditionary
Force) was not in sufficient force France in 1918 but did play a part in the Autumnal battles,
which lead up to the Armistice in November 1918.

Historical point: The real value of the USA’s forces would have been realised if the war had
lasted into 1919.

The role of the Blockade in the defeat of Germany…

The Great War saw the introduction of starvation as a weapon of War. The Germans used
submarines (U-boats) in an attempt to starve Britain into submission. Britain used surface ships to
blockade German supplies- eventually one would be forced to give in but the process would be slow
and painful…

British naval ships spent the war patrolling the North Sea, intercepting and detaining thousands of
merchant ships thought to be harbouring cargo bound for German shores. The blockade worked
effectively. As a letter to the War Cabinet on 1 January 1917 stated, “very few supplies were
reaching Germany or its allies”.

Hunger Politics…

The blockade was partly responsible for the starving of Germany and the other Central Powers into
defeat in 1918. The German people often went hungry as a result of the blockade, this contributed to
an overall weariness of the war as food supplies dwindled and energy levels sapped.

Most historians maintain that the 'hunger blockade' contributed hugely to the outcome of the First
World War. By 1915, German imports had fallen by 55% from pre-war levels. Aside from causing
shortages in important raw materials such as coal and metals, the blockade cut off fertiliser supplies
that were vital to German agriculture and explosive manufacture.

Staple foodstuffs such as grain, potatoes, meat and dairy products became so scarce by the winter
of 1916 that many people lived on a diet of ersatz (substitute) products that ranged from so-called
'war bread' (Kriegsbrot) made from sawdust to coffee made from acorns The shortages caused
looting and food riots. The average daily diet of 1,000 calories was insufficient even for small
children. Disorders related to malnutrition - scurvy, tuberculosis and dysentery - were common by

Official statistics attributed nearly 763,000 wartime deaths in Germany to starvation caused by the
Allied blockade. This figure excluded the further 150,000 German victims of the 1918 influenza
pandemic, which inevitably caused suffering among those already weakened by malnutrition and
starvation related diseases.

“The Last throw of the dice”…The failure of The German offensive in 1918…

After Russia left the War in March 1918; following the two revolutions in 1917, the German Army no
longer had to fight a two front war. This allowed the German Army to move almost all of its troops to
the Western Front. The German High Command decided to launch one massive attack to win the
war. They selected General Ludendorff (a successful German general from the Eastern Front) to
lead the attack. In effect the Germans were restarting the Schlieffen Plan, they needed to win before
the USA could bring its massive power and army to the Western Front and the people at home were
further starved.

Ludendorff was given 200 divisions and massive artillery support for his offensive. On 21 March
1918, over 6000 guns pounded British trenches for five hours. Then, 70 German divisions went over
the top and attacked a mere five British divisions. The British soldiers broke and ran in the face of
the onslaught. The stalemate of trench fighting had been broken and the German army could
advance freely. It appeared that the Germans were going to win after all.
The Allies were forced to react, and did so by forming a joint command between the British and
French armies under a Supreme Allied Commander- Marshall Foch (French). This move facilitated
the French and British armies to act as one army rather that two separate ones. This further allowed
them to make an effective counter attack on the German offensive. The German Army was able to
drive to the outskirts of Paris (as they had done in 1914), but there the offensive ran out of steam.
The plan had failed, the Americans were now arriving in large numbers and the British and French
were ready to attack back…

HISTORICAL POINT: The now fully unified Allied forces of the British, French and the recently
arrived American Army, slowly pushed the exhausted Germans back.