Page:EB1922 - Volume 31.djvu/897

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MARKHAM—MARNE, BATTLE OF THE

she became a Companion of Honour, and in 1918 unsuccessfully contested the Mansfield division of Notts, as a Liberal. In 1919 she became a member of the Industrial Court, and in 1920 was appointed a J.P. She married in 1915 Maj. James Carruthers, A.A.G. to the British army of the Rhine. Her published works include South Africa Past and Present (1900); The New Era in South Africa (1904); The South African Scene (1913) and A Woman’s Watch on the Rhine (1921).


MARKHAM, SIR CLEMENTS ROBERT (1830–1916), English geographer (see 17.734), died in London Jan. 30 1916 of shock following an accidental fire. The principal work of his later years was connected with the two Antarctic expeditions under Capt. R. F. Scott, for whom he entertained a warm personal affection, suffering a grievous blow at his loss. Markham’s long-standing interest in South American geography, history and affairs led to his election as president of the International Congress of Americanists in 1912. An important history of Arctic and Antarctic exploration by Markham was completed posthumously by Dr. F. H. H. Guillemard and published in 1921 under the title of The Lands of Silence.

A Life, written by his cousin, Adml. Sir A. H. Markham, was published in 1917.

MARLOWE, JULIA (1870–), American actress (see 17.744), first appeared in London in 1907 in Hauptmann’s The Sunken Bell, following this by successful interpretations of Shakespearean heroines. In 1909 she played Cleopatra at the opening of the New Theatre, New York, with E. H. Sothern, afterwards touring with him in Shakespearean plays and appearing again in New York in 1910 as Lady Macbeth.


MARNE, BATTLE OF THE.—Under this name is included the connected series of actions fought in Sept. 1914 in the area between Paris and Verdun, when the French and British armies, which had been in full retreat from the frontier, turned at bay and inflicted defeat on the Germans, driving them to the Aisne.

To understand the claim of the battle of the Marne to be regarded as a decisive battle of the world, something more than a mere tactical narrative is necessary. The circumstances in which it was fought must be first considered. Tactically, indeed, the result was somewhat of a disappointment. No part of the German host was annihilated, or even immobilized for any length of time; the number both of trophies and prisoners was inconsiderable; the Germans broke off the fight at their own time; no great strategic pursuit such as had succeeded Jena took place; and the Germans were enabled to retire, if not unscathed, at any rate in fair order. Strategically, however, the battle was of immense import. It marked for the Allies the definite turn of the tide of defeat, while for the Germans it signified no less the collapse of the plan with which they had entered the war and on which their Great General Staff had been prepared to hazard the fate of the empire.

In spite of the victories which had marked their entry into France, the situation of the Germans by the end of Aug. 1914 was not without anxiety. The principle underlying their plan of operations had been that France was to be brought to her knees within six weeks; but when two-thirds of this period had expired the French and British armies were still keeping their opponents at arm’s length. The German plan had laid down that if the French were to form a great defensive flank resting on Paris the capital was to be turned by forces pushed W. and S. of it; Ersatz divisions were to be dropped for the investment; and the five field armies pivoting on Thionville were to force the whole of the Allied forces against the Swiss frontier. An operation of such a nature, involving the handling of immense masses of men, demanded, however, a supreme direction of the highest order accompanied by most detailed instructions for the frontage of each army so that the general alignment might be preserved and overlapping prevented. These essentials were not forthcoming. Supreme Headquarters were for a time over 100 m. in rear of the German right wing, and the only means of communication were wireless telegraphy—which worked incredibly slowly—and the transmission of orders by officers in motorcars. The inevitable result of indifferent communication was that on the German right the absence of unity of control soon showed itself to a serious extent. Further, the ever-lengthening lines of communication were adding to the supply and transport difficulties of the invaders, and slowly but surely sapping their strength. Maubeuge, too, still held out, and the retention of this fortress by the French denied to the invaders the use of a valuable line of railway. The inevitable wastage involved by a rapid advance in trying weather had made itself felt, and the cavalry horses were in serious need of rest. Nor was there any depth in the advance. From the I. Army two corps had been left in Belgium to mask Antwerp; while from the II. Army the VII. Reserve Corps was immobilized by the siege of Maubeuge. Worse still, two corps had been sent off post-haste to E. Prussia, and of these one had been subtracted from the German right wing where every man was urgently required. Nor had the right wing been drained merely to find troops for Belgium and E. Prussia. Peremptory orders had been given to send off the Ersatz divisions and 70 heavy batteries—earmarked for the investment of Paris—to take part in an attack against the Grand Couronné de Nancy.

On Aug. 28, when German Supreme Headquarters directed that Gen. von Billow’s II. Army with the I. Cavalry Corps was to advance E. of the Oise on Paris, while the I. Army of Gen. von Kluck, moving down the opposite bank of that river, was to advance towards the Seine below the capital, it was brought home to the Germans that they had not sufficient troops to carry out their grandiose plan. They “had bitten off more than they could chew”; and the net result of the extension of their line was that the II. Army, in comparative isolation, found itself committed to an advance direct against the great fortress of Paris. So perturbed was Gen. von Bulow by his situation that when the French V. Army attacked him on Aug. 29 at the battle of Guise he sent out urgent appeals by wireless messages to the I. and III. Armies to close inwards to his aid. Gen. von Billow’s cries for assistance were destined to alter the whole course of the war, for Gen. von Kluck, apparently glad of an excuse to switch off from the elusive British army, during the evening of Aug. 30 telegraphed to Supreme Headquarters to say that his army had wheeled round towards the Oise and would advance on the 3ist by Compiègne and Noyon “to exploit the success of the II. Army.” This involved a definite movement S. and S.E. by both these armies; but during the night an answer came by wireless from Supreme Headquarters formally approving of this new operation. In a word, an advance by the right wing against Paris was now postponed, if not definitely written off. Trusting that the newly formed French VI. Army, which had fallen back on Paris, would be chained to the capital, and convinced that the British army was incapable of any action other than licking its wounds, the German General Staff now reduced the scope of their original plan and decreed that the new objective was to be the flank of the "main French forces" in front of the II. Army. Put briefly, while envelopment by the German right wing was still the end in view it was to be an envelopment not of all but of part of the Allied forces. Success was still hoped for; but the colossal Sedan originally aimed at was ruled out of court by the growing difficulties of the strategic situation.

As for the French, the month of Aug. had been marked by a succession of failures which might well have daunted a commander of less resolution than Gen. Joffre. The offensive of their I. and II. Armies S. of Metz had failed, and failed badly; and the failure had necessitated a modification of Gen. Joffre’s plan. A new offensive farther N. had begun on the 22nd, but here again failure had dogged the efforts of the French, for owing to misunderstanding and lack of coordination the whole movement collapsed, and the collapse had the effect of completely isolating the V. and British armies in the zone Mons-Charleroi. Even then the cup of failure had not been completely drained. Gen. Joffre’s fresh plan, of Aug. 25, of regrouping the Allied forces and strengthening the left wing with a new French army drawn from the E., so as to take the offensive from the general line Verdun-Laon-La Fère-Bray, could not be carried out. On