Quartermaster General Erich Ludendorff, de facto commander of the Imperial German army, issued this terse statement on August 4, 1918:
Foch’s plan was undoubtedly to cut off the entire arc of our front south of the Aisne by a breakthrough on the flank. But with the proved leadership of our Seventh and Ninth Armies that was quite impossible.
We figured with an attack on July 18th and were prepared for it. The enemy experienced very heavy losses, and the Americans and African auxiliary troops, which we do not underestimate, suffered severely.
By the afternoon of the 19th we already were fully masters of the situation and shall remain so. We left the abandoned ground to the enemy according to our regular plan.
“Gain of ground” and “Marne” are only catchwords without importance for the issue of the war.
We are now, as before, confident.
Privately Ludendorff knew that the initiative on the Western Front had passed from the Germans to the Allies. What the Allies would do with that initiative would soon be revealed to Ludendorff.