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'Miracle' of the Marne: the WWI battle that changed history

A picture of a post card released by the Historial de Péronne, Museum of WW1, shows French soldiers digging a trench during the First Battle of the MarneAt the start of September 1914, after just one month of war in Europe, the German army were at the gates of Paris. The Germans took the town of Senlis, 60 kilometres (35 miles) from Paris, on September 1. The French, by contrast, were in full retreat, and Paris swirled with fearful gossip and rumours of looming German troops. General Joseph Joffre, commander-in-chief of the army, and war minister Alexandre Millerand wanted to declare Paris an “open city” — essentially abandoning all defences in the capital.

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