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Foch, Ferdinand


Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


Extract

(1851–1929), French general of world war i , often hailed as the chief architect of final victory over Germany. Born into a bourgeois and deeply Catholic family, the young Foch was profoundly affected by the franco-prussian war , which led him to suspend his education at a Jesuit college in Metz and volunteer for the army. He subsequently became a professional soldier, and his skills were recognized by an appointment to the École de Guerre, and by advancement to the rank of general in 1909. More skeptical about all-out offensive than is sometimes suggested, he played a key role in the Battle of the marne in September 1914, helping to block the initial German advance. He further served at the somme in 1916, and took the blame for French reverses. In 1918 he was appointed Chief of the General Staff and Allied supreme commander, in which capacity he helped stop the German spring offensive of that year through the second Battle of the Marne. Frequently clashing with Pershing and pétain , Foch possessed the derring-do and strategic sense to press home Allied advantages in autumn 1918. Promoted to marshal at the end of the war, he played an advisory role in the paris peace settlement of 1919, and in the 1920s argued for maintaining close ties with Britain. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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