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"The Turn of the Tide": The Great Retreat of the Germans at the Battle of the Marne

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” As your lordships are aware,” said Lord Kitchener in his speech in the House of Lords on the 7th, “the tide has now turned, and for some days past we have received the gratifying intelligence of the forced retirement of the German armies.” The great retreat began on September 7. ” The Germans on this day,” ran the official statement issued by the Press Bureau, ” commenced to retire towards the north-east. This was the first time that these troops had turned back since their attack on Mons a fortnight before, and, from reports received, the order to retreat when so close to Paris was a bitter disappointment. From letters found on the dead there is no doubt that there was a general impression amongst the enemy’s troops that they were about to enter Paris.” Near the foreground in the drawing, it will be seen, is the village of Mondement, where, as illustrated elsewhere inthis Number, the ancient chateau of that name was the scene of a fierce conflict, being captured and recaptured no fewer than four times.

The importance of the position was well brought out in a description of this part of the battlefield given by a correspondent of the ” Times.” “To the east it [the chateau] looks down into a great declivity’… with the marshes of Saint Gond, cleverly concealed by Nature, at the bottom. Further on are the dry, treeless coteanu of Epernay, Rheims, and Champagne generally, the heights of the Argonne standing out boldly in the distance. To the west are the rich agricultural plains which reach to the walls of Paris…The possession of the ridge of Mondement was vital to either an attacking or defending army.”

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