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necessitating the crossing of Belgium, the center Ypres region an attack in which massed artillery entering at Sedan, and crossing Luxemburg, and and poison ^as played a conspicuous role. The the left wing enterins at Nancy. The right wing British, suffenng from lack of artillery ammunition, was delayed longer tnan had been anticipated in had to shorten their line by three miles on 3 May. the German plans by the resistance of the fortress In June the French made progress in the coimtry of Liege and after its fall on 7 August, by the north of Arras and west of Lens. About a quarter resistance of the Belgian field army, supplemented of a million men were employed along a front by a small French force. Its advance through of twenty miles, the assault being preened by a Belffium was steady, however, Brussels being occu- concentrated artillery fire which flattened the whole pied on 20 August. The invasion of France along countiyside. The highway between Arras and the Franco-Belgian border from Lille to Maubeuge Bethune was cleared; more prisoners and guns were was immediately attempted, and with complete taken than on any other occasion since the battle success, the French army which had been re-en- of Mame, but the French lost heavily. As the forced by the vanguard of the British expeditionary months went on, the resources of the Allies steadily force falling back hastily toward the second line augmented. Large stores of munitions arrived from of defense, the inferior British forces on the left America and the reorganized English factories, being in constant danger of envelopment. Mean- By the end of September, Sir John French had a while the German army of the center, encountering million men under his command. On 25 Septem- no resistance in its progress through Luxemburg, ber, 1915, after the German positions had been and defeating the inferior French forces which op- heavily bombarded for some days, a vigorous offen- posed it, was now in contact on its right with the sive was set in motion. The British, penetrated advancing right wing, while its left was attempting the German lines to a distance of 4000 yards and to thrust itself between the retreating Ftench army captured several strong positions, including Loos and Paris. Menaced thus on both flanks, the allied and Hill 70. The Frencn made substantial gains armies retreated in such haste as to make im- in Artois and in Champagne pushed the enemy practicable a firm stand on the second line of de- back two miles.
fense. On 29 August that line was passed by the General Joffre, commander of all the armies in Germans. Paris was now put under martial law France, was promoted on 2 December to the and every preparation was made for an extended supreme command of all the French armies ex- siege, the government retiring to Bordeaux. South cepting those in the colonies and in North Africa, of the Mame the allied forces halted, and for the This step was taken in accordance with the plans first time in the war gave vigorous battle to the of the Anglo-French War Council, which met in invaders over the entire front, eventually com- Paris on 27 March, and not only made plans for pelling the falling back beyond the Mame of the a concerted general Summer offensive, but also re- cntire German line, pursued by the allied forces, solved to establish the stringency of the blockade. On 13 September the Germans halted and en- The Entente Powers' Economic Conference on 14 trenched tnemselves on their ri^t on the line of June, formulated a program which increased the hills running from Soissons to Kheims. Suddenly, severity of the economic measures against the Cen- in the closing days of September the city of Ant- tral Powers during the war but a&> indicated a werp fell, the major portions of the Belgian army determination to continue the struggle after the escaping to the west where they were re-enforced conclusion of peace by establishing an economic by the allied armies. The battle lines of both bloc of the Entente Powers. General de Curi^res armies liow extended to the coast, flanking opera- de Castlenau, able commander of the French armies tions were at an end, and the conflict along the of the center, was appointed* chief commander of whole line assumed the character of a field siege, the General Staff.
The Germans still persisted in the offensive, how- The winter of 1916 witnessed no major operations ever, particularly along the Yser River and canal, on the western front. Spasmodic local events ad- southwest of Ostend, with the alleged object oi vanced the German line at Hooge (Belgium), at forcing the allied lines beyond Calais, which could Vimy (Artois), at Frise (on the Somme), and on then be used as a base for naval and military the Butte-de-Tahure (in Champagne). In com- attacks on the British Islands. pensation the French won tne La Courtine
In the south the French had in the beginning entrenchment in Champagne and the peak of Hart- of the war attempted a vigorous counter invasion, mannsweilerkopf in Alsace. This desiiltory fighting which was for a time successful, Alsace and Ger- occupied the interval between the cession of the man Lorraine being entered and Saarburg and allied offensive in September, 1915, to the begin- Muelhausen occupied. The attack was, however, ning of the terrific German assault on Verdun, quickly repulsed by the German forces. Following 21 February, 1916. Eight German army corps, un- the battle of the Mame, the German forces began der the general command of the Crown Prince, and an attack on the whole southern barrier of forts, enormous quantities of heavy artillery were con- known as the Verdun-Toul barrier, and met with centrated against the secondary fortifications seven varying success. The German offensive was aban- or eight miles north of Verdun. Then suddenly doned early in December, 1914. The French gov- on 19-20 February a bombardment of unprece- emment which had removed to Bordeaux in 3 Sep- dented intensity announced the beginning of the tember, 1914, returned to Paris in December. The greatest battle in the war. On 21 February, \mder next four months witnessed a series of frontal at- cover of incessant artillery fire, German infantry tacks, the success of which varied. Deadlock in irresistible masses was hurled against the de- continued through the summer. For some reason molished fortifications. The French line yielded; the long heralded Spring drive did not occur in within a week the commanding hill-fort of Douau- 1915, which seemed remarkable because of the mont (4 miles from Verdun) had succumbed to numerical superiority of the Allies (the Germans headlong infantry and pulverizing artillery attacks, having transferred forces to the eastem front) and During the second week, the French line east of because of the relief which a successful forward Verdun was crushed back to the strong line of movement would have brought to the hard-pressed the heights of the Meuse and a savage struggle was Russians. The Germans, indteed, took the initiative waged m the outskirts of Vaux village. Then the at the close of April. They directed against the storm center shifted to the west bank of the