France had been sudden, and the Germans had been forced to give way under the desperation and courage of the French troops.
Once before, in the earlier days of the war, the French had reached Metz and Strasbourg, but had been hurled back by overwhelming numbers of the enemy and forced to retreat well into France. Then the German line in Alsace and Lorraine had been weakened to hurl denser masses of Germans upon the British and Belgians in the north.
The French had not been slow to take advantage of this weakening of the southern army of the Kaiser, and, immediately bringing great pressure to bear, had cleared French territory of the invader in the south.
But the French commander did not stop with this. Alsace and Lorraine, French soil until after the Franco-Prussian war, when it had been awarded to Prussia as the spoils of war, must be recaptured. The French pressed on and the Germans gave way before them.
Meantime, in the Soissons region the French also had been making progress; but the Kaiser,
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