A century ago the fighting in the fields of the Marne close to Paris was in full swing. Nearly two and a half million British, French and German soldiers, with Colonial troops from the far flung corners of the French Empire, were locked in combat in what would be one of the most decisive battles of 1914 and arguably of the whole war. Historian Dan Snow has just released this excellent video summary of the battle.
There are dozens of small battlefield cemeteries and memorials located across the battlefield but at Mondemont is the huge and imposing Marne Memorial in the form of a massive totem. Part of this memorial features the Allied commanders of the battle which gives a fascinating insight into the French view of the battle: as seen in the above image. ‘Papa’ Joffre looms large with an arm around a French soldier, and to his left are his generals in the battle including a depiction of British commander Sir John French. This dramatic over-sizing of Joffre was imagined but was an obvious affectation used to indicate (rightly) his importance of bringing an Allied victory on the Marne in September 1914.
The memorial is one of the most difficult to photograph as these images show.