The département of the Marne was greatly impacted by the First World War

The battles of the Marne
On the 4th of September 1914, the German army reached Reims and threatened the capital. A month later, in Jonchery-sur-Vesle, near Reims, the first aerial combat of the war took place, during which a French biplane shot down a German biplane.
The Marne would give its name to two battles. In September 1914, the First Battle of the Marne ended with a French victory. But very rapidly, the fighting became entrenched. Manoeuvre warfare was replaced by attrition warfare. On both sides, combatants hunkered down in trenches, leaving only for sporadic, bloody assaults. This unbroken 700 km front line left a scar along the length of the Marne, which remains visible to this day. The Second Battle of the Marne took place in July 1918, with a decisive breakthrough for the Allies, which signalled the beginning of the end for the invader. 

A heavy price to pay
The département of the Marne was among those that suffered the greatest damage. The town of Reims, 80% of which was razed to the ground, and its martyr cathedral, remain a powerful symbol of the suffering endured. 

A book to discover: Traces de la Guerre 14-18 dans la Marne
Michel Jolyot
176 pages
Aerial views of military cemeteries, as well as ground views of French, German, British, Russian, Italian and Polish burial grounds, ruins of destroyed villages, the renovation of the trenches of La Main de Massiges (the Hand of Massiges), bunkers and observation posts, artillery batteries, military hospitals and camps which remain, often hidden in woods, monuments to the dead, memorial stained glass and other poignant testimonies of that which was to be the war to end all wars.