The Western Front. In November, 1914, Moltke was relieved of his duties as supreme commander and in December was replaced by General Erich von Falkenhayn. Falkenhayn's strategy was to go on the defensive in the West and commit all available resources to the East in an effort to defeat Russia and Serbia. Then, Falkenhayn calculated, he would be able to deploy all of Germany's forces in the West for decisive action against Britain and France.

The British and French tried to thwart the German plan by staging a series of offensives on the Western Front. These actions cost an appalling number of lives but accomplished nothing of military value.