Throughout the course of the First World War (1914 – 1918), the Battle of the Frontiers was the most crucial and significant battle of the Western Front in Europe. The conflicts in August of 1914 – known as the Battle of the Frontiers, were deemed to be the most significant battles in the duration of the First World War. The introduction of Britain was an important addition to the significance of these battles, as countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada were brought into war. The Treaty of London was broken by Germany leading to an end of diplomatic relations between them and other countries. Lastly, a vast number of casualties (approximately 500,000) resulted from these battles. Overall, the Battle of the frontiers were the most important collection of battles during the “Great War” and impacted the course and outcome of World War One and changed the fabric of Europe into the 20th century.
The First Battle of the Frontiers was known as the Battle of Mulhouse and initiated on the 7th of August, 1914. The battle lasted for a duration of roughly two days and was the outcome of France’s strategy – (called plan XVII) to reclaim the provinces of Alsace (and later Lorraine) after the Franco-Prussian war in the year of 1870 where they were defeated by Germany. The French army under General Bonneau, progressed towards the city of Mulhouse – (in Alsace close to the Swiss border), and initiated their first assault. The Germans were soon aware of this and commenced a counteroffensive attack by orders of their governor general by the name of Josias von Heeringen. This overpowered the French which at first attempted to fight back nonetheless, retreated shortly afterwards and failed in their plan to capture Alsace. The Last Battle of the frontiers commenced on the 23rd of August, 1914 and was known as the Battle of the Mons. It was the first encounter between the British and German armies and both sides faced heavy casualties. Ultimately, Britain withdrew from battle as their French allies had been defeated resulting in victory for Germany.
The Battle of the Frontiers brought along many nations from all over the globe to fight against the Central Powers. The main reason of why so many non-European countries were involved throughout the duration of these battles was the involvement of Britain. Germany had declared war against France, Russia and Belgium therefore violating the treaty signed in 1839. Germany itself was a signatory of the Treaty of London, however after being denied access to cross through Belgium to French borders, they went retaliated. Due to this occurrence, Britain engaged in battle, ensuing the rest of the British Empire to be involved. Other battles of World War One involved mainly two countries, for example a battle at the Eastern Front – the Battle of Tannenberg was fought between German and Russian forces, from the 26th to 30th of August. Battle of the Frontiers on the other hand, was a global battle involving both European and non-European nations. Countries including Canada, New Zealand, India, Australia, and Africa submitted large quantities of their army forces at Britain’s aid.
War between France and Germany was inevitable, nonetheless the rest of the Allies and Central Powers were dragged into battle along with the two countries. Belgium was forced to join the Allied powers due to Germany’s invasion. Britain then sent an ultimatum to Berlin, Germany demanding them to discontinue their assault on Belgium, however it was declined, and consequently Germany and the British Empire were not on good terms and later faced in combat. On the other hand, the British, Belgians and other allied powers, improved their diplomatic relations by assisting one another to fight against the Central Powers. Overall, the relations between some countries were modified leading to many outbreaks of conflict and assemblies of nations. This is another reason proving that the Battle of the Frontiers had such a high impact during the Great War.
Several outcomes took place due to the Battle of the Frontiers and many of them affected countries worldwide. The involvement of the British Empire as mentioned previously was one of the larger outcomes of these battles. An additional impact took place in Belgium, which was once unbiased, but later united with the Allied Powers due to Germany invading their nation without granted permission. The French parliamentary records alone stated that since the 5th of August to the 5th of September (1914), 329,000 French soldiers were killed, injured or missing in action and roughly 27,000 of those passed away during the Battle Ardennes and Charleroi. Therefore, these outcomes impacted the lives of countless soldiers and their families while also causing Belgium to pick sides and the British Empire to be involved.
Overall, the Battle of the Frontiers were the most important battles in the duration of World War One as they had various impacts and outcomes on nations worldwide. These include the involvement of Britain, which led to other non-European countries of the British Empire to be associated in the later battles in aid of Britain. Germany violated many diplomatic relations with other nations causing more outbreaks of conflict and end of former treaties. From 5th of August to 5th of September, 329,000 French soldiers alone died, had injuries, or were missing during the war. Lastly, Belgium was forced to join the Allied powers as its neutrality was disrupted because of German invaders.
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