Butte de Chalmont contains one of the most striking monuments on the Western Front. The Second Battle of the Marne had commenced on the 15th July 1918 and after three weeks of heavy fighting involving French, American, British and Italian divisions the Germans were defeated and the initiative passed into the hands of the Allies. Dedicated to the victory at the Second Battle of the Marne the extraordinary work of monumental sculpture, inaugurated by President Lebrun in 1935, commemorates the thousands who died in the battles of 1918. The sculptor Paul Landowski, (who is perhaps best known for being the leading sculptor of the statue of Christ overlooking Rio de Janeiro) working with the architect Jean Taillens, was chosen to create it in 1927. Close to the road is a single female figure, 8 metres high, holding a shield, who represents LA FRANCE. Beyond, above a flight of steps, is a group of eight figures: Les Fantomes. Seven are portraits of named soldiers (one an airman); the eighth, rising into the sky, is a naked young man, symbolising the sacrifice of those called to defend France.
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