While the fighting was raging in Belgium, the German army was not planning to lunch an offensive against France on the Alsace borders. Since the beginning of the war, a plan made by French head quarters was about to be executed. 19,000 men were gathered under the command of General Louis Bonneau, an Alsatian with 46 years of military service behind him.
These thousands of men had been picked from various other regiments and units such as artillery, cavalry and of course infantry. Their objectives were to capture the city of Mulhouse and establish a front-line between this city and the village of Thann.
The assault started on the 7th of August 1914 and is a success. The French losses are only 100 deaths, including a few officers, but the Germans fled the towns and villages around Mulhouse, marching with flowers and music. With the darkness of the night invading the surroundings, the last Germans fled, leaving tons of equipment and ammunition. Mulhouse would be taken on the morrow by the French.
On the same day, the 7th of August, the president of the council of ministers, René Viviani, proclaimed a long and enthusiast declaration to French women and French youth :
Stand up French woman, young children, daughters and sons of our homeland ! Replace on the fields of work those who are on the fields of battle.
Prepare yourself to show them tomorrow the cultivated land, the stored harvests and the sown fields!
In these dark hours there is no small labour.
Everything that serves the country is grand.
Stand up ! Take action ! To work !
In the name of the government of the Republic, in the name of the nation standing as a whole behind it, I call on your bravery and the children, whose age only and not their courage robes them of combat.
I demand that you maintain the activities in the countryside, to finish last year’s harvests and prepare those for next year. You could not give our homeland a greater favour.
It is not for you but for Her* that I speak to your heart.
We need to preserve our subsistence, the provisions of the urban population and more so, the supply of those who defend the frontier, the independence of the Country, Civilization and Right!
Declaration of the French Government.
* Her : the Homeland