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The first year of war (1914) an uncertain result for both the belligerent forces.

The Western Front – At the beginning of the war, Germany had great success and it believed to defeat France in a few days before England went to war; after having defeated France, Germany would have employed its forces against Russia that needed some months to mobilise. In order to implement that plan, the German Military Commander believed that it was necessary to invade Belgium because from Brussels to Paris the territory was flat and easy to cross. Moreover Belgium was a neutral State, guaranteed by international treaties, and Germany infringed brutally its neutrality (in that occasion the German Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg claimed that the treaties were scraps of papers); in spite of the heroic resistance of the Belgian Army and population, the German troops occupied the main cities in a few days (Liege, Namur, etc.) as well as the capital.

The German Army clashed with the Anglo-Franco-Belgian Army in the great Battle of Charleroi (21st-23rd August) that ended with the defeat of the Allied Forces, while some German patrols arrived to Compiègne, 70 km from Paris.

The French General Joffre assaulted the German enemy in the battle of the Marne (5th-12th September) because its right flank was uncovered; in the meantime the General Gallieni, defender of Paris, assaulted the German right flank, threatening its encirclement. The German General Von Klück left the Marne area and entrenched behind the Aisne line.

Since then, on the western front, the war of movement became a long war of position. After the failed attempt at occupying quickly Paris, the German General Staff intended to arrive at Calais in order to cut off communications between England and France; it faced the allied forces in the bloody Battle of Flanders (17th October – 12th November) that had an uncertain end. The German forces succeeded in conquering Antwerp (9th October) and extending their occupation along the Belgian coast; but the Belgian forces, with the Anglo-French units, defended themselves in the area from Ypres to Nieuport and they impeded the enemy from reaching its objective. Also in that region the war of movement became a war of position.

The Eastern Front – Also on the Eastern Front the conflicts did not occur as Germany hoped. The Russian Army headed by the Grand Duke Nicola had penetrated in the territory before the Country stopped the mobilisation in the eastern Prussia (in August) and in the Austrian Galicia (August - September), by occupying Lvov and moving forward the Carpathians.

As consequence, Germany was forced to recall a General on leave, the Field Marshal Hindenburg, who succeeded in Tannenberg (23rd – 30th August) and on the Masuri Lakes (7th – 13th September) forcing the Russian Army to leave most of the territory of the eastern Prussia.

On the contrary, the Austrian-German counteroffensive did not suc​ceed in Galicia where the Russian Army, after having defeated again the enemy at Lvov (8th-13th​ September), occupied the Bucovina region and arrived to the Carpathians by threatening to invade Hungary. In the meanwhile Turkey went to war with the Triple Alliance; Japan, that was allied with England, began the hostility against the German domains in the Far East.​​