Initial Interactions: The British Expeditionary Force in France (1914–1915)
In this chapter, Kempshall charts the experience of the British Expeditionary Force in France during the early months of the First World War. Through an examination of the Battles of Mons and the Marne, Kempshall highlights the military difficulties which faced the Entente alliance at the end of 1914. Using evidence from soldiers’ diaries, Kempshall shows how the British were unable to coordinate or communicate with the French and, as a result, were left isolated on the Western Front. Kempshall also indicates how differences in the notions of acceptable military presentation created a divide between British soldiers and the French, whom they believed to be unfit for duty. The chapter concludes with a retrospective on the battles of 1915, which reduced the British army in strength.