What Was the Significance of the Second Battle of the Marne?

significance-second-battle-marne Credit: Interim Archives/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The Second Battle of the Marne was the last major German offensive on the Western Front of World War I. The Allied victory is considered the turning point of the war. It marked the beginning of the counter-offensive which culminated in Germany's surrender three months later.

The battle took place from July 15 to Aug. 5, 1918. German general Erich Ludendorff believed that Germany could win the war with one final push on France. His plan was to make a diversionary attack along the Marne river to draw out the British Expeditionary Force and split the French Army in two.

The British and French were reinforced with soldiers from the United States, which had entered the war in 1917. Several American military units established enduring legends for their service in the battle: the Third Infantry Division earned the nickname "The Rock of the Marne," and the Marines were given the nickname "Devil Dogs" by the Germans for their valor at Belleau Wood.

After the German failure to break through the Allied lines, the Allies began a counter-offensive on July 18 and continued through Aug. 5. For the next three months, the exhausted Germans were gradually pushed back through the gains they had made since the war began. They surrendered in November of 1918.