National Monument of the Marne Victory, Mondement
Gros plan du monument. Photo association Mondement 1914
The imposing, national Monument of the Marne victory rises up between the castle and the Mondement church. After the Second World war, this 33 Meter high monument was inaugurated on September 1951, in order to remember the first Marne battle, which took place from September 5th to September 12th 1914.
To all the armies... When the fate of a country depends on a battle, it is important to remember to never look back; all the efforts have to be used to attack and force back the enemy. A troop that can't move forward anymore must stay put and defend his position at all costs, even if this means dieing for it, rather then moving back. At the present circumstances failure can't be tolerated. Joffre's general order of September 6th 1914
In early September 1914, neither army has achieved the objectives organised for the war that started a month earlier. The Germans hadn't seized Paris, nor surrounded and annihilated the French army. The French on their side, under Joffre's command, didn't manage to push back the enemy. The battle of borders was lost and since August 24th, the hungry, thirsty and exhausted soldiers continued to move back, pursued by the Germans. It is to these men that Joffre ordered on September 6th 1914, the most extraordinary volte-face of our military history: "to get killed on the spot, rather than move back". From September 5th to September 12th, on a front of 3000Km, from Senlis to Verdun, two million men fought against each other. The Germans had been pushed back and then pursued. These fights, which Joffre named "La Marne" proved to be a real success. During this battle, Mondement constituted a strategic location, in the device used by the commander-in-chief Joffre, facing the German invasion threatening Paris. Since, the castle dominating the "Marais de Saint-Gond", blocked the way southwards, towards the capital. During the evening of September 9th 1914, the soldiers of the 77th Infantry Regiment of Cholet and the Zouave of the Moroccan Division, in seizing the Castle of Mondement, stopped the German progression.
Thus it is in Mondement, situated in the north east of Sézanne in the Marne, that the national Memorial of the Marne Victory was established in order to commemorate the so-called Battle of Marne of September 1914. Decided by the Parliament, the Monument, whose construction was entrusted to Paul Bigot was set up. The work started in 1931 and carried on until 1938. The official inauguration, which was organised on September 1939 and which couldn't take place, because of the war declaration, took only place in September 1951. The monument is made up of a monolith, a sort of gigantic stone, measuring 35,5 m height, supported by an internal metallic reinforcement. Its concrete has a pink colour, due to its aggregates coming from Moselle. Its foundations are embedded 22m in the ground. At the food of this monolith the effigies of the different Generals, who commanded an army during the 1st Marne Battle, are sculptured. From left to right it is possible to recognize Sarrail, de Langle de Carry, Foch, Joffre, the soldier of the Marne, Franchet d'Esperey, French, Maunoury, Galliéni. Above this sculpture two texts are engraved; the first celebrates the heroism of the fighters. The second the generals order of September 6th 1914 signed by Joffre.
The first Sunday of September, the commemorative ceremony of the 1st Marne victory, with the participation of foreign delegation, the presence of defence attaché representing the belligerent countries and veterans, remembers the European dimension of the confrontation. The inhabitants of Mondement each year take part of this commemoration. On September 5th 2004, year of the 90th anniversary of the first Marne battle, the ceremony, will be of an exceptional nature.
The museum : Created in 1996 by the "Mondement association 1914", the History Museum of Mondement is set up in the former school of the village. It is devoted to the first Marne battle. This is not a military museum, but more a historical museum, which reminds the combats; and shows various objects and documents, generally donated by the descendents of the soldiers, who once fought heroically in this location. The guided tours of the site and the History Museum of Mondement are organized in groups and by reservation during the entire year. For further information contact the tourist office of Sézanne and its region on the 03.26.80.51.43. Fax : 03.26.80.54.13. The individual visits take place every Sunday from June to September, from 3:00p.m to 6:00p.m.
Contacts : Mr. Claude DOMENICHINI President of the Mondement association 1914 6, chemin des Carrouges 51120 GAYE Phone/Fax : 03.26.81.84.38 e-mail ::Mondement1914@voila.fr