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Student Question: Germany and FWW

Guest Tristan Barkwell

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What was the most influencial battle to the Germans in World War I? Would it be the 2nd Battle of the Marne?

It depends on what you mean by influential.

(1) If you mean what battle influenced the tactics of the war I would say the First Battle of the Marne. The most important consequence of the Battle of the Marne was that the French and British forces were able to prevent the German plan for a swift and decisive victory. However, the German Army was not beaten and its successful retreat ended all hope of a short war.


(2) Some historians have argued that the Battle of the Somme was the turning point in the war. Duff Cooper, for example, argues that Germany was never able to replace the men lost during this offensive and justified Haig’s war of "attrition" (killing Germans until the German army was worn down and exhausted).


(3) Others would argue that it was the Second Battle of the Marne that was the most important in the defeat of the German Army. It is estimated that the German Army suffered an estimated 168,000 casualties and and marked the last real attempt by the Central Powers to win the war.


(4) American historians might well claim that the Meuse-Argonne offensive in 1918 was the crucial campaign. It is argued that with the Allies being able to call upon the US Army the Germans realized that they could no longer win the war.


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