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
The FirstWorldWar in the Marne (1,2 Mo)