Taxi To The Front – The First Battle of the Marne I THE GREAT WAR – Week 7

Taxi To The Front – The First Battle of the Marne I THE GREAT WAR – Week 7

The first five weeks of the war have seen
great offensives by Germany, Russia, and Austria-Hungary, larger than any military operations in history.
Hundred s of thousands of men have died, but today all of those offensives come to an end. I’m Indy Neidell; welcome to the Great War. At the beginning of the week, the French and
the British were re-grouping around Paris as the Germans advanced. The Germans were
also advancing in the east, hoping to push the Russians back to Russia,while further
south the it was the Russians advancing to push the Austrians back toward their empire. Two weeks ago, a Russian army had been absolutely
destroyed at the Battle of Tannenberg, and though the Germans had been trying to press
their advantage, there hadn’t been a major battle since then. That changed this week. On the morning of September 9th, the German
army, bolstered by troop arrivals from the front in France, attacked the Russians and
once again simply crushed them at the Masurian Lakes, and the Russian army only escaped complete
and total destruction by the remarkable speed of its retreat from the lakes, moving 40 kilometers
a day to leave the Germans far behind. These two battles, especially Tannenberg,
were truly historical victories, and they pushed all Russian troops off of German soil.
They also destroyed Russian numerical superiority over the Germans for the time being. Russia
would still have a strong presence just across the border, but the Germans were no longer
worried about being steamrolled by the endless Russians army. Here’s a little anecdote from the retreat-
some Russian soldiers were trying to take a statue of Bismarck from a town in East Prussia
to bring home, but their commander told them not to take it because he didn’t want there
to be an international incident. Now, the Russian people as a whole might have
been totally demoralized by the catastrophic defeats they had suffered against Germany,
had they not beaten Austria-Hungary nearly as badly in the Battle of Galicia, which also
ended September 11th. This was the group name for a series of battles
over several weeks during Austria’s offensive into Russian territory. These battles ended
with Russia taking 130,000 prisoners and inflicting 324,000 Austrian casualties. Yes, you heard
that right. See, the Austrian army under Chief of Staff
Conrad von Hotzendorf had attacked with a much smaller force than the Russians had,
and the failure was actually due more to Austrian incompetence than Russian brilliance. The
Austrian army was forced to retreat 160 kilometers toward the Carpathian Mountains. Conrad’s
failure and humiliation were now total, and remember, there were perhaps only one or two
people on earth who bear more responsibility for the beginning of World War One and all
the carnage that was to follow than Conrad von Hotzendorf. Another side note here: At
one point a bit down the road, Conrad confessed to his staff that if Archduke Franz Ferdinand
was still alive he would take the man responsible for such military disaster- Conrad himself-
out and have him shot. It was also this week that also saw the pact
of London, when France, Britain, and Russia agreed that none of them would make a separate
peace with Germany or Austria-Hungary. They would fight to the end. In the Western Front
it seemed like it might well be the end. The Germans had advanced toward Paris for two
weeks, and the final battle of that offensive was approaching. As the Germans neared Paris, though, the French
were finally gaining a bit of an advantage. In spite of their massive losses the past
three weeks, they had a newly recruited and formed army, while the exhausted Germans had
been advancing for 33 straight days. Also, the Germans had followed the retreating British
not to Paris, but just to the northeast, and south of the river Marne, over-extending their
supply lines and losing the chance to take Paris, which was the major goal of their battle
plan, The Schlieffen Plan. So it was south of the Marne that the British and French prepared
to do battle. The Battle of the Marne began on September
5th, 1914; a battle that the French and the British could absolutely not afford to lose.
Over two million troops were engaged in the battle. The French used the railways to constantly
take up new positions and outmaneuver the Germans. This might not have been such a big
problem if the Germans had better communications, but von Moltke, the German army Chief of Staff,
was at Koblenz, over 500 km away, and he practiced a system of de-centralization where his generals
often just did what they saw best. Moltke was also very high-strung, and by this point
he was talking to himself and writing letters to his wife where he would freak out about
the amount of blood spilled in the war and the feeling he must personally answer for
it. It’s pretty amazing when you realize that
the Germans got this far when their generals often had no idea what the others were doing.
During the entire battle of the Marne, Moltke and the German High Command issued no orders
at all, and the last two days didn’t even receive any. The Germans had two armies here, and the western
one under General von Bulow had been forced to make a new north-south line facing Paris
to defend against French advances, right? Von Bulow moved troops from his left to his
right to counter attack, but this counter attack opened up a gap between von Bulow and
the eastern army under von Kluck, and standing before that gap was the British Expeditionary
Force, who cautiously advanced. Von Bulow’s army was now cut off from von Kluck’s with
communications almost non-existent. This is where the taxi legends come in. As the French surged and the Germans reinforced,
the French General Joseph Gallieni, did something that he quoted as “at least out of the ordinary”,
and indeed it was something nobody had ever done before. Gallieni requisitioned all the
Paris taxicabs to shuttle reserves 50 kilometers from the city to the front. The automobile
was still in its infancy, but this was over 400 cars, a huge amount for the time, and
most of the soldiers had never had the luxury of riding in an automobile.Two things
though- the actual impact of this on the battle was quite modest, and the taxi drivers were
paid; their meters were running the whole time. On September 8th, the battle, and you could
argue, the whole war, and even the whole 20th century hung in balance. Attack and counterattack,
all across the line, and it was simply a question of who would crack first. It was a night attack on the 8th, when the
French captured Marchai-en-Brie that really turned the tide. When von Bulow fought back,
the gap between his army and von Kluck’s grew to nearly 30 km, he was outnumbered,
the British were now well into the gap, and in the wee hours, von Bulow gave the order
to retreat. At 9:02 AM on September 9th, 1914, the German forces began to withdraw. On September 9th, the Germans were driven
back across the Marne and on the 13th across the Aisne, a total retreat of 100 kilometers.
It was there on a ridge that the German troops dug in, and we see now one of the unsung military
advances of the war, the spade, in action. The Germans used it; the French did not, so
the Germans could dig in: not so the French. There’s no telling how many thousands of
Frenchmen were lost to the German advance because of such a simple tool. A man in a
hole is impossible for artillery to spot, and can’t be shot by a rifle, and hand grenades
would require close contact. For many Frenchmen, though, using such a defense was a dishonorable
means of conducting a battle. They would soon learn that honor had no a place in modern
warfare. That modern warfare had now cost close to one million lives in only five weeks,
and during the first few months of the war, an average of over 15,000 lives were lost
every day. On September 14th, a shattered Moltke was
removed from the German command. He had in the end found the casualties unbearable, and
looking at the few orders he issued the last two weeks of his command, you can see him
slowly falling to pieces, but it’s hard to have sympathy for him; no man on earth,
not even Conrad, had done more to bring about the war than Moltke, but he proved incapable
of commanding his nation’s armies. Three great offensives were over this week,
and much of the pattern was set for the rest of the war. I’m going to end today’s episode
with a quote from the historian Martin Gilbert to tell you how “Denied their triumphal entry into Paris,
the German army would go on fighting on the Western Front for another four years, as hopeful
of victory in August 1918 as they had been in August 1914. But the hopes of a month earlier
of being able to defeat France in a knockout blow and then turn all their military strength
against Russia had been dashed. The war of rapid victories had become a strategy of the
past, and a dream for the future. Germany was going to have to fight simultaneously,
and with constant danger, in both east and west. France was going to have to fight on
French soil. Russia was going to have to regain land in the west and Austria to regain land
in the east. Christmas was still three and a half months away, but every warring state
was going to have to search for new strategies, and even new allies.” If you have any questions about this week
in the Great War or if you want to submit some of your ideas, just leave them in the
comments and we will get back to you. An important update for our mobile viewers: You can find
all our useful links right below this video.

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “Taxi To The Front – The First Battle of the Marne I THE GREAT WAR – Week 7

  1. 4:56 that's not General Helmuth von Moltke Jr. That's his uncle, Helmuth von Moltke Sr. and much more capable officer. Moltke Sr. is flanked by Kaiser Wilhelm I (grandfather of Kaiser Wilhelm II) on his left and Otto von Bismark on his right.

  2. Moltke botched up the Schlieffen Plan which was supposed to have Germany's Western Army's sleeve brush across the Channel coastline of France thus encircling Paris. Moltke held whole divisions back to contend with the "Russian threat" on the eastern front. The Battle of the Marne may have saved Paris from German takeover thus being a victory for the French and British it really wasn't a victory more like stalemate. The French and the British were unable to drive the Germans out of France and Belgium and this war would now be a long and terrible one and would change the course of history. When it was over, von Moltke said to the Kaiser: "Your Majesty, we have lost the war." And he was right, but it would take another four years for that to happen. The Kaiser would replace von Moltke with a new German Army supreme commander, General Erich von Falkenhayn, mastermind of the Battle of Verdun in 1916. the bloodiest battle of World War I. The Germans lost that battle too and it eventually led to Falkenhayn's dismissal. But it did bleed France white.

  3. Note that the German's style of command: decentralised, and subordinate generals simply do what they think is best, was probably their reason for tactical and operational success. This style of command is called a General Staff style. The idea is you select a set of reasonably brilliant chaps then educate in such a way that in general, most of them will look at the same situation in the same and react similar to one another. This means the units have high initiatives and can act much quicker than any other army that relies on central control.

    The downside is, while their tactical and operational capabilities are excellent, German armed forces, in both WW, were not that great at strategic level of war. If we can point to just one thing, it is the subordination of logistics and resource to operations: operations come first, logistics support operation. Realistically, it's the other way around: in order to not get defeated, you better plan your operation within the resource you have. As a result of this way of thinking, when the Germans win, they win spectacularly; a smaller, more agile force defeating a larger, but clumsy opponent. But when they lose, they lose because they are ground down by a larger, clumsy, but move ponderously like a glacier, steamrolling Germans under it.

  4. Ironic.
    The General who wanted a war, was broken by war.
    War is not fun, chivarous, or honerable.
    It's basically a murderous, painful, bloody, and cruel meat grinder.
    War should only be an absolute final solution, or done due to being attacked.

  5. 5:30 WRONG! von Kluck and the German 1st Army were the westernmost of the German armies. von Bulow and the 2nd Army were further east. And the "Battle of the Marne" was five separate and uncoordinated battles, none of which were particularly near the Marne River, that stretched from Paris to Verdun. but the title"La Bataille Paris-Verdun" sounds more like a bicycle race than a battle, so they called it the Battle of the Marne. ( John Mosier, Verdun, 2013)

  6. On my second watching of all. Have been watching via social media since the beginning, but its such a fantastic series, I'm in again; Thanks Indi, unbiased and informative, love your enthusiasm, too.

  7. But why didn't the Germans, French and British decide to make peace with each other after the Battle of the Marne? That part I don't understand.

  8. how refreshing to watch an American relating events of WWII without claiming that America won it and everyone else was inept

  9. Ah, as usual the over-dramatization of the Marne. The Germans were overextending in the weeks prior to the engagement, that is why they had to abandon the idea of flanking Paris. They simply didn't have the manpower anymore to pursue offensives over the entire front.

    IMO, the only mistake the Germans made was thinking they could make it to Paris in a knock-out blow. The whole offensive was too grandiose to work. Once the individual German armies began to loose cohesion with their neighbors and offer the Allies counter-attacking opportunities…the Germans withdrew to the eminently defensible ridges north of the Aisne and created the situation which would allow them to defeat Russia by attrition while simultaneously fighting in the west.

  10. About french reluctant to dig trenches. Was it because they believed they will fight the same battle as they did against Prussia some 40 years ago and this time they expect vicotry. ? or did they still clinge to the concepts in the musket era?

  11. "He didn't want there to be an international incident." Except, you know, the world engulfing blood and gore filled hell scape of the war that was going on at the time…

  12. At 4:17 in the video shows french troops with bundles of sticks on their backpacks. Any clue what why they were doing this? It doesn't look like camouflage.

  13. Whenever he speaks of Russians fighting Austrians in Galicia, one can't help but imagine Russians fighting Austrians in the middle of Spain.

  14. You haven't said anything about Serbian offensive into Austro Hungary that took place at this week (6. – 13. September). Since you have covered a lots of minor skirmishes you shouldn't skip this one out.

  15. After the first batlle of the Marne German actually lost the war.
    Every chance at a quick and decisive victory was GONE.

  16. At least, you didn’t talk that the 5th french army went in the gap with British expeditionary army. And you dont even talk about the french artillery in this battle with the 75 mm guns who were very efficient against the germans, destroying their lines…

  17. Why does this presenter insists on telling us who he is every episode? Is this somehow relevant to the information imparted?


  18. This wasn't the first massive use of motorisation for the troops, French already used bus at a bataillon scale.

  19. "…Pact of London, where France, Britain and Russia agreed that none of them would make a separate peace with Germany or Austria-Hungary…"

    And we all know how that turned out….

  20. (I know I'm late to the party, being as this video is almost 4 years old). I wonder how many lives were lost in battle due to "honor" and "romanticism".

  21. Wait a second.. So commendering a statue could cause a international incident. Then what about this war I hear of is that not a international incident?

  22. I just found this channel yesterday….I feel like an american….the war is almost done and I need to catch up to be there at then end

  23. Do you have articles for your videos? I propose if you like, it would be nice to have it in written form as well. Or your own website, perhaps? Thank you.

  24. Just starting my melee through the entire Great War series! I should finish just as the series concludes in November!

  25. “Do not take the Bismarck statue, as it could cause an “international incident,” during, you know, WW1!” Lmao!

  26. Please do world war two after December fighting went on in the east after the armistice was signed .because I am can't wait the 20 od years to have my channel

  27. The only problem I have with this episode is portraying von Moltke as one of the biggest reasons for war without explaining why. It confused me. I'd have to re-watch previous episodes but I don't think his political contribution was mentioned much (unlike Conrad's). If it was, then it would have been proper to remind us. If it wasn't then you should have elaborated.

  28. When they went to the cab company's, they asked if it was on the meter or a flat rate. The army replied, on the meter of. course. The taxi company odered their cabs to report to their filling station, then onto the front. Here's another. When isreal invaded Lebanon, during a full scale bombardedment, here came a green and white cab. Fare was 1200 dollars, beruit to damascus. We cab drivers will do anything for money .

  29. The taxi transport of massive troops happened in February 1916 !after colonel Driant stud in front thousands have artillery pieces in the Bois thes caures .
    He was predicting for months that de Germans where reinforcing near verdun for a breakthrough in half February the shelling began 9 millions shells fel on le Bois des caures and the reinforcement was on there way by taxi ,and Driant and his leftover of chasseurs had survived the shelling and after the shelling the German atacked.
    They fought for two days and lost terrain …father a fue days of battle the chasseurs of Driant reclaimed there position and due to bad whether and resistance of those chasseurs the advance was stopped just in time that the troops arrived in taxi

  30. But Driant was killed and most of the regiment was wiped out ,Driant had told Joffre that the Germans where preparing a attack on verdun but nobody believed him ,only a fue days before the attack a fue Germans deserted and tooled that a attack was eminent,they where transported to Paris ,than the taxi move took place ,the attack was stopped due to winter whether and that was just enough to buy time .
    That’s how the taxi transport took place .not before !

  31. Lets be real here, this series should teach us something. When the next world war comes, we dont know whats waiting for us. Our doctrines are largely based off of the second world war. But how many people had internet to organize partisans back then? Exactly. Imagine entire batallions of partisans showing up in a flashmob like manner, doing their damage, and dispersing before anyone realizes whats going on. And thats completely ignoring the other damage hackers could do. Like blacking out an entire city. And groups like anonymous are really dangerous there, and i dare say whatever side they pick would probably be happy to have em on their side. Try tracking an organisation with no leaders. No structure. One that has so little cohesion that the individiual hackers dont even know one another.

  32. I truly believe these videos should be watched in every history class around the world. Captivating, informative and taughtful. Essentially the opposite of my history-class experiences.

  33. According to Wikipedia in September 1914, Moltke was called to the Kaiser who had been told by Karl Max, Prince Lichnowsky, that the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey had offered French neutrality under guarantee of Great Britain. At this news, the Kaiser, seeing that a two-front war could be avoided, told Moltke to reverse the western front forces to the eastern one against Russia. Moltke refused.

  34. Muy interesante el trabajo, desde ya gracias, también , gracias al YouTube que lo está traduciendo al español latino
    Me suena, la "agrupación baret "del ejército francés , "la quinta" de jóvenes quinceañeros británicos sacrificados en Flandes, Tambien saber de conocidos escritores de la primera guerra mundial, como remarque, los hay ingleses pero son difíciles de encontrar,
    También sobre monumentos a los soldados que lucharon, en especial, parece que francés, una estatua de un joven en acción sin casco mirando ala acción , lo vi en Internet y no lo he podido encontrar de nuevo

  35. When did the Entente powers start issuing entrenching tools to their soldiers as opposed to the Central powers? Lindy says the spade is used @ 7:30 by Germans and that the French did not have spades. Were they issued to all troops in the German army or just more readily available? Also, why didn't the French have them?

  36. I was hoping you would mention the battle of bita paka, Australias first involvement in ww1 in German New Guinea.

  37. I am pretty sure the only reason why Moltke got his position was because of his victory in the franco Prussian war

  38. I love your videos. I can watch them for hours. Keep them coming please. You are very knowledgeable on this subject.

  39. Damn,stupid Austria-Hungary,bad supplies and sended troops to east from west, caused the failure in the Marne.

  40. I would like to see a new episode on who could retreat faster… the Russian army or the French army.

  41. 1:46 the commander of the Russian forces didn’t want and “international incident” did he forget the war was already ‘international ‘

  42. 1:46 the commander of the Russian forces didn’t want and “international incident” did he forget the war was already ‘international ‘

  43. It’s amazing how huge the casualties were even before the trenches were formed! I had no idea WW1 was so bloody in the first month!

  44. The French constantly died on their honor (referencing the spade/digging in). Look back 600 years to the Battles of Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt where the English slaughtered them with longbows. They constantly complained about how dishonorable the English were.

  45. I love this series and I wish a started whatching sooner. I know it's very late (like 3 years) but I have a question. On the 14th of September, during the First battle of the Ainse the BEF launched a attack under the cover of fog. When the fog lifted the BEF were fired apon by the Germans. Is anything else known about that attack. Thanks

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