By September of 1914, the war had taken a decided turn against the Entente. The French armies were in general retreat; their allies the Russians had been defeated at Tanenburg, and so no relief could be expected from there; and the British had not sent enough forces to turn the tide. With Paris within days of falling, the French government fled to Marseilles, leaving General Gallieni to defend the city. The German General Von Kluck was fast approaching the Marne. If his armies crossed the river, then Paris would fall, and France not long after. The situation seemed hopeless- until the French spotted a vital gap in the German lines- a gap that could be exploited, that could turn the tables against Von Kluck's armies, and send them fleeing.
Desperate for help, Joffre, the overall commander of the French forces, begged Sir John French, of the British army, to send his troops to reinforce the French line ... in vain. French refused; Joffre was throwing away the lives of thousands of his own men, he said, and for what? The British troops, already weakened at Mons, would not fight at the Marne.
With little option, the French plunged into battle at the Marne, and were utterly defeated. Ferdinand Foch's Ninth Army stayed behind as a rearguard as the French retreated behind Paris; the last message received from him was a telegram; "The center has collapsed, the right wing is retreating; situation excellent; am going on attack." Shortly after, he was killed, and his army wiped out, nearly to the man.
The French, their armies in tatters, their capital lost, half their territory in German hands, were suddenly set upon from the south as the Italians, seeing the German victories, changed their minds and threw in their hats with the Central Powers, invading and taking Nice.
On September 16th, 1914, the French surrendered to Germany.
(More to Follow, ladies n gents. Stay tuned. Ayy Lmao.)