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Current time:0:00Total duration:7:18

Video transcript

ever since the franco-prussian war in 1870 to 1871 the Germans recognized that there were likely to face another worth France that was a war that allowed Germany to unify the humiliated France they were able to capture some very valuable territory from France in particular Alsace and Lorraine which is very mineral rich and so the Germans were plotting to well what are we going to do if we get into another war with them at the same time once France and Russia had this alliance Germany fully recognized that they if there is a war with France it's likely to not be just with France it's likely to be a two-front war on the western front it'll be a war it'll be they'll be in conflict with France and on the Eastern Front they'll be in conflict with Russia and so to deal with this eventualities this is all the scheming that Germany did in the decades going up to World War one they came up with the Schlieffen Plan and I'm sure I'm mispronouncing it's life in sleep in sleep in sleep sleep in or Schlieffen Plan named for Alfred von Schlieffen he was chief of the German empires general staff from 1891 to 1905 and it was based on how do you deal with the two-front war and the general ideas here were that Russia Russia had a large and almost inexhaustible army but because it was so large it would take a long time for it to mobilize a long time to mobilize and the Germans are actually able to approximate it correctly because this is how long it did take the Russians to mobilize at the beginning of World War World War one they estimated that it would take them about six weeks so the Schlieffen or sleepin plan called for enough German troops on the Eastern Front initially in order to keep the Russians at bay but then the main fighting force of the Germans while the Russians are mobilizing is to go after France and try to essentially knock France out of commission so that they're not facing a two-front war anymore and then have those troops go back to fight against the Russians and the way that they wanted to do it is by rolling through Belgium in kind of a wheel like pattern like this and the reason why they want to do this wheel like pattern is that they correctly predicted that the French were very eager to get this territory right over here and French actually had a plan they call it plan 17 for going after Alsace and Lorraine it was an offensive plan and the view is if the French army is going in that direction if the German army rolls through Belgium and is able to get them from the rear they could put the French army out of commission so in early August 1914 the Germans once they declared war on France and on Russia the Germans tried to put the Schlieffen plan into action and they frankly almost succeeded so through April through August and early September the Germans were able to essentially roll through Belgium were able to roll through Belgium and keep the combined mainly French forces but there was also some assistance from British to keep them on their heels and this happened all the way until early September when they get near the Marne or a little bit past the Marne River in France and it was here that the for that the 6th French army so and when we talk about armies we're talking about huge numbers of troops the the 6th French army had over two hundred thousand troops in it when we're talking about the Battle of the Marne which I'm about to talk to we're talking about a the First Battle of the Marne we're talking about bat a battle that involves two million troops so these are these are battles that are occurring on an epic scale just each of these armies this army or this one right or the even the the German armies we're talking about hundreds tens of tens to hundreds of thousands of troops in general an army characterized you're talking about over 50,000 60,000 troops so what happens as you go to early September especially September 5th 1914 the 6th French army recognizer recognizes a mistake that the first German army made by trying to roll around like this they exposed their right flank so right over here would be the right flank of the German army and just is a most mammals our flanks are kind of our our weak spot at that area between your ribs and your hips the same thing is true for armies the front of the army tends to be where have the strongest forces and then you have your supply routes going back so if you can outflank an army and that's why a lot of military strategy is designed around you can hit an army in it's weaker points so by September 5th the first German army recognized this but it was too late by September 6th they were at in battle they were they were essentially being confronted by the 6th French army and by essentially turning to meet them by turning to meet them they created an opening between them and the 2nd German army and that that opening was able the the French and the British were able to take advantage of that to essentially put the Germans on their heels after a month of advancing and so right over here you have the various you have the various you have the various French armies and they were assisted by the British Expeditionary the British Expeditionary Force and so from the Battle of the Marne which was essentially most most historians would say between September 6th or September 5th September 6 and September 12 they were able to put the Germans on the retreat the Germans recruited past the end River and then once you get into November and the end of the year of 1914 in a sense the Germans essentially entrenched themselves and literally they were literally building deep trenches in in northern France and a little bit of western belgium and what i have right over here let me see if i can draw what i have right over here what the boundaries are eventually happened after the the Germans suffered essentially their first big defeat they had to have to retreat and they had to literally reach wrench and this is what the borders would then be like and they were and and these were literally trenches getting dug here and these borders up you know this first stage of the wars was hugely dynamic you had armies moving fairly rapidly over a period of weeks and months but then once the Germans retrenched you have roughly this position being static for the next three years and the famous trench warfare of the Western Front that you might have seen movies on and I want to emphasize this was a big deal the First Battle of the Marne sometimes it's called the miracle of the Marne if that if the if the French with British help were not able to push the Germans back they might have accomplished a sleep implant and actually maybe he would have won World War one or at least been able to win the Western Front fairly quickly and then been able to deal with the Russians a little bit better but because of the miracle at the Marne which was hugely bloody we're talking about 500,000 casualties on both sides we're talking a hundred to two hundred thousand dead on both sides but because of that that was able to hold off the Germans but it got the Western Front in this kind of ugly three-year long trench warfare