Several of the posts up to this point have dealt with the Battle of the Frontiers indirectly. Mons, Liege, Nery, Argonne , etc. . . . all of these conflicts could be broadly lumped together into what historians have called the Battle of the Frontiers. To describe it generally: The Battle of the Frontiers encompassed everything in the early days of the War on the Western Front outside of the Germans’ direct drive on Paris.

Another reason for lumping so many conflicts into the larger name “Frontiers” rests in the nature of the larger battle: basically, everyone was on the offensive in a very fluid war front. This stands in stark contrast to the later stalemate of trench warfare.

So here’s what happened: both the French and the Germans hoped to overwhelm and quickly conquer each other. Defensive warfare, however, was at this time supreme, so whoever had a moderate amount of defenders athwart their opponent’s line of advance would prove victorious. Thus, the French failed because the Germans anticipated their advance on the Franco-German border. The Germans succeeded, therefore, because the French failed to foresee the German invasion of France from the North, through Belgium.

Though both the French and the British were out of position to resist the German southwestern advance into France, they nevertheless managed to execute several delaying actions against the Germans. In the consequent Battle of the Marne, the accumulation of these delays represented one of the major factors in the battle’s outcome.



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