In a vey real sense the beginning of the end of the First World War began one hundred years ago today; it was on August 8, 1918 that Supreme Allied Commander Ferdinand Foch began the counteroffensive that was itself a response to Ludendorff’s own Spring Offensive. This was hardly just a French military campaign; the British, Canadians, and Australians were also integral to the fighting against the Germans. The Americans played a supporting role as well. I saw on the news today that Prince William and others were on hand to mark the occasion. The Amiens Offensive lasted one week. The Allies suffered about 60,000 casualties and the Germans about 27,000 in addition to having almost 30,000 taken prisoner.
We are getting into the stage of the Great War centennial where events are going to move extremely quickly between now and the anniversary of the Armistice. Historians eventually called the period from August 8 to November 11 the Hundred Days Offensive. It was hard, full on fighting from here to the end. The Hundred Days Offensive was an extraordinary human drama. Men on all sides would be pushed to the limit, and the ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors who tried to put them back together faced extraordinary challenges. Every day had its own individual tragedies, multiplied thousands fold.
No one knew at the time when or how it would all end, but August 8, 1918 proved a crucial turning point in the Great War.
(image by Lieutenant John Warwick Brooke; Courtesy Imperial War Museum)