Ferdinand Foch
Overview
 
Ferdinand Foch GCB, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, DSO (2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 soldier, war hero, military theorist, and writer credited with possessing "the most original and subtle mind in the French army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

" in the early 20th century. He served as general in the French army during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and was made Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 in its final year: 1918. Shortly after the start of the Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

, Germany's final attempt to win the war, Foch was chosen as supreme commander of the Allied armies
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

, a position that he held until 11 November 1918, when he accepted the German request for an armistice.
Quotations

Les avions sont des jouets intéressants mais n'ont aucune utilité militaire

Airplanes are interesting toys, but of no military value.

One does simply what one can in order to apply what one knows.

The Principles of War (1913)

The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.

As quoted in The 32d Infantry Division in World War II (1956) by Harold Whittle Blakeley, p. 3

I am conscious of having served England as I served my own country.

As engraved on the statue of Ferdinand Foch on Grosvenor Square, London.

This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years.

Said after the Treaty of Versailles|Treaty of Versailles, as quoted in Memoires (1963) by Paul Reynaud, vol. 2, p. 457

None but a coward dares to boast that he has never known fear.

As quoted in Encarta Book of Quotations (2000) by Bill Swainson and Anne H. Soukhanov, p. 338

In tactics, action is the governing rule of war.

p. 79

To inform, and, therefore to reconnoitre, this is the first and constant duty of the advanced guard.

p. 83

Encyclopedia
Ferdinand Foch GCB, OM
Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

, DSO (2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was a French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 soldier, war hero, military theorist, and writer credited with possessing "the most original and subtle mind in the French army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

" in the early 20th century. He served as general in the French army during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and was made Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

 in its final year: 1918. Shortly after the start of the Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

, Germany's final attempt to win the war, Foch was chosen as supreme commander of the Allied armies
Allies of World War I
The Entente Powers were the countries at war with the Central Powers during World War I. The members of the Triple Entente were the United Kingdom, France, and the Russian Empire; Italy entered the war on their side in 1915...

, a position that he held until 11 November 1918, when he accepted the German request for an armistice. In 1923 he was made Marshal of Poland.

He advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to pose a threat to France ever again. His words after the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

, "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years" would prove prophetic; World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 started twenty years and sixty five days later.

Early life

Foch was born in Tarbes
Tarbes
Tarbes is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France.It is part of the historical region of Gascony. It is the second largest metropolitan area of Midi-Pyrénées, with 110,000 inhabitants....

, Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées
Hautes-Pyrénées is a department in southwestern France. It is part of the Midi-Pyrénées region.-History:...

 as the son of a civil servant from Comminges
Comminges
The Comminges is an ancient region of southern France in the foothills of the Pyrenees, corresponding closely to the arrondissement of Saint-Gaudens in the department of Haute-Garonne...

. He attended school in Tarbes, Rodez
Rodez
Rodez is a town and commune in southern France, in the Aveyron department, of which it is the capital. Its inhabitants are called Ruthénois.-History:Existing from at least the 5th century BC, Rodez was founded by the Celts...

, and the Jesuit
Society of Jesus
The Society of Jesus is a Catholic male religious order that follows the teachings of the Catholic Church. The members are called Jesuits, and are also known colloquially as "God's Army" and as "The Company," these being references to founder Ignatius of Loyola's military background and a...

 College in St. Etienne. His brother was later a Jesuit and this may initially have hindered Foch's rise through the ranks of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

 (since the Republican government of France was anti-clerical).

Foch enlisted in the French 4th
4th Marine Infantry Regiment
The 4th Marine Infantry Regiment was a French marine regiment, as part of the troupes de marine within the French Army. Its motto was "J'y suis j'y reste" . It and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Marine Infantry Regiments are the oldest marine units in the French Army...

 Infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 Regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

, in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, and decided to stay in the army after the war. In 1871, Foch entered the École Polytechnique
École Polytechnique
The École Polytechnique is a state-run institution of higher education and research in Palaiseau, Essonne, France, near Paris. Polytechnique is renowned for its four year undergraduate/graduate Master's program...

and received his commission as a Lieutenant
Lieutenant
A lieutenant is a junior commissioned officer in many nations' armed forces. Typically, the rank of lieutenant in naval usage, while still a junior officer rank, is senior to the army rank...

 in the 24th Artillery
Artillery
Originally applied to any group of infantry primarily armed with projectile weapons, artillery has over time become limited in meaning to refer only to those engines of war that operate by projection of munitions far beyond the range of effect of personal weapons...

 Regiment, in 1873, despite not having the time to complete his course due to the shortage of junior officers. He rose through the ranks, eventually reaching the rank of Captain before entering the Staff College in 1885. In 1895, he was to return to the College as an instructor and it is for his work here that he was later acclaimed as "the most original military thinker of his generation". Turning to history for inspiration, Foch became known for his critical analyses of the Franco-Prussian and Napoleonic
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 campaigns and of their relevance to the pursuit of military operations in the new century. His re-examination of France's painful defeat in 1870 was among the first of its kind.

In his career as instructor Foch created renewed interest in French military history
Military history of France
The military history of France encompasses an immense panorama of conflicts and struggles extending for more than 2,000 years across areas including modern France, greater Europe, and European territorial possessions overseas....

, inspired confidence in a new class of French officers, and brought about "the intellectual and moral regeneration of the French Army". His thinking on military doctrine was shaped by the Clausewitzian
Carl von Clausewitz
Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz was a Prussian soldier and German military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war...

 philosophy, then uncommon in France, that "the will to conquer is the first condition of victory." Collections of his lectures, which reintroduced the concept of the offensive to French military theory, were published in the volumes "Des Principes de la Guerre" ("On the Principles of War") in 1903, and "De la Conduite de la Guerre" ("On the Conduct of War") in 1904. Sadly, while Foch advised "qualification and discernment" in military strategy and cautioned that "recklessness in attack could lead to prohibitive losses and ultimate failure," his concepts, distorted and misunderstood by contemporaries, became associated with the extreme offensive doctrines (l'offensive à outrance) of his successors. The cult of the offensive
Cult of the offensive
Cult of the offensive refers to a strategic military dilemma, where leaders believe that offensive advantages are so great that a defending force would have no hope of repelling the attack; consequently, all states choose to attack...

 came to dominate military circles; that Foch's books were cited in the development of Plan XVII
Plan XVII
Plan XVII was the name of a "scheme of mobilization and concentration" that was adopted by the French General Staff in 1913, to be put into effect by the French Army in the event of war between France and Germany but was not ‘a prescribed narrative for the campaign’ or battle...

, the disastrous offensive that brought France close to ruin in 1914, proved particularly damaging to his reputation.

Foch continued his initially slow rise through the ranks, being promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1898. Thereafter, his career accelerated and he returned to command in 1901, when he was posted to a regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

. He was promoted to become a Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 in 1903, then Brigadier
Brigadier
Brigadier is a senior military rank, the meaning of which is somewhat different in different military services. The brigadier rank is generally superior to the rank of colonel, and subordinate to major general....

 General (Général de Brigade) in 1907, returning to the Staff College as Commandant from 1907–1911. In 1911 he was promoted Major General
Major General
Major general or major-general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. A major general is a high-ranking officer, normally subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general...

 (Général de Division) and then Lieutenant General (Général de corps d’Armée) in 1913, taking command of XXe Corps at Nancy.

Foch and World War I

On the outbreak of the war, Foch was in command of XX Corps, part of the Second Army of General de Castelnau
Noël Édouard, vicomte de Curières de Castelnau
Noël Marie Joseph Édouard, Vicomte de Curières de Castelnau was a French general in World War I, one of the leading proponents of the philosophy of attaque à outrance that dominated French military thinking in the early part of the war.Born in Gascony to a family with a long history of military...

. On 14 August the corps advanced towards the Sarrebourg
Sarrebourg
Sarrebourg is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France. It lies in on the upper course of the river Sarre.It should not be confused with Saarburg in Germany....

-Morhange
Morhange
Morhange is a commune in the Moselle department in Lorraine in north-eastern France....

 line, taking heavy casualties in the Battle of the Frontiers
Battle of the Frontiers
The Battle of the Frontiers was a series of battles fought along the eastern frontier of France and in southern Belgium shortly after the outbreak of World War I. The battles represented a collision between the military strategies of the French Plan XVII and the German Schlieffen Plan...

. The defeat of XV Corps to its right forced Foch into retreat. Foch acquitted himself well, covering the withdrawal to Nancy and the Charmes Gap, before launching a counter-attack that prevented the Germans from crossing the Meurthe
Meurthe
Meurthe is a former département of France. Its préfecture was Nancy. It ceased to exist following the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by Germany in 1871.-General characteristics:...

.

He was then selected to command the newly formed Ninth Army, which he was to command during the First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
The Battle of the Marne was a First World War battle fought between 5 and 12 September 1914. It resulted in an Allied victory against the German Army under Chief of Staff Helmuth von Moltke the Younger. The battle effectively ended the month long German offensive that opened the war and had...

 and the Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea
The Race to the Sea is a name given to the period early in the First World War when the two sides were still engaged in mobile warfare on the Western Front. With the German advance stalled at the First Battle of the Marne, the opponents continually attempted to outflank each other through...

. With his Chief of Staff Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand was a French military commander in World War I and World War II.Weygand initially fought against the Germans during the invasion of France in 1940, but then surrendered to and collaborated with the Germans as part of the Vichy France regime.-Early years:Weygand was born in Brussels...

, Foch managed to do this while the whole French Army was in full retreat. Only a week after taking command of 9th Army, he was forced to fight a series of defensive actions to prevent a German breakthrough. It was then that he spoke the famous words: "Hard pressed on my right. My center is yielding. Impossible to maneuver. Situation excellent. I attack." His counter-attack
Counter-Attack
Counter-Attack is a 1945 war film starring Paul Muni and Marguerite Chapman as two Russians trapped in a collapsed building with seven enemy German soldiers during World War II...

 was an implementation of the theories he had developed during his staff college days, and succeeded in stopping the German advance. Foch received further reinforcements from the Fifth Army and, following another attack on his forces, counter-attacked again on the Marne. The Germans dug in before eventually retreating. On 12 September Foch regained Marne at Châlons
Châlons-en-Champagne
Châlons-en-Champagne is a city in France. It is the capital of both the department of Marne and the region of Champagne-Ardenne, despite being only a quarter the size of the city of Reims....

 and liberated the city. The people of Châlons greeted as a hero the man widely believed to have been instrumental in stopping the great retreat
Great Retreat
The Great Retreat, also known as the Retreat from Mons, is the name given to the long, fighting retreat by Allied forces to the River Marne, on the Western Front early in World War I, after their holding action against the Imperial German Armies at the Battle of Mons on 23 August 1914...

 and stabilising the Allied position. Receiving thanks from the Bishop of Châlons, Foch piously replied, "non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam." (Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, Psalm 115:1)

Foch's successes gained him a further promotion, on 4 October, when he was appointed assistant Commander-in-Chief with responsibility for co-ordinating the activities of the northern French armies, and liaising with the British forces. This was a key appointment as the so-called "Race to the Sea" was then in progress. Joffre had also wanted to nominate Foch as his successor "in case of accident", to make sure the job would not be given to Galliéni, but the French government would not agree to this. When the Germans attacked on 13 October, they narrowly failed to break through the British
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and French lines. They tried again at the end of the month during the First Battle of Ypres
First Battle of Ypres
The First Battle of Ypres, also called the First Battle of Flanders , was a First World War battle fought for the strategic town of Ypres in western Belgium...

; this time suffering terrible casualties. Foch had again succeeded in co-ordinating a defence and winning against the odds. On 2 December 1914, King George V of the United Kingdom appointed him an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath. In 1915, his responsibilities by now crystallised into command of the Northern Army Group, he conducted the Artois Offensive
Third Battle of Artois
The Third Battle of Artois was on the Western Front of World War I, is also known as the Loos-Artois Offensive, including the major British offensive, known as the Battle of Loos....

, and, in 1916, the French part of the Battle of the Somme. He was strongly criticised for his tactics and the heavy casualties that were suffered by the Allied armies during these battles, and in December 1916 was removed from command, by General Joffre
Joseph Joffre
Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre OM was a French general during World War I. He is most known for regrouping the retreating allied armies to defeat the Germans at the strategically decisive First Battle of the Marne in 1914. His popularity led to his nickname Papa Joffre.-Biography:Joffre was born in...

, and sent to command in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

; Joffre was himself sacked days later.

Just a few months later, after the failure of General Nivelle
Robert Nivelle
Robert Georges Nivelle was a French artillery officer who served in the Boxer Rebellion, and the First World War. In May 1916, he was given command of the French Third Army in the Battle of Verdun, leading counter-offensives that rolled back the German forces in late 1916...

, General Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

 was appointed Chief of the General Staff; Foch hoped to succeed Pétain in command of Army Group Centre, but this job was instead given to General Fayolle. The following month General Pétain
Philippe Pétain
Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain , generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain , was a French general who reached the distinction of Marshal of France, and was later Chief of State of Vichy France , from 1940 to 1944...

 was appointed Commander-in-Chief in place of Nivelle, and Foch was recalled and promoted to Chief of the General Staff.

On 26 March 1918, at the Doullens Conference
Doullens conference
The Doullens Conference was held in Doullens, France on March 26, 1918 between French and British military leaders. The purpose of the conference was to better coordinate the British and French military operations on the Western Front.- Cause :...

, Foch was given the job of co-ordinating the activities of the Allied armies, forming a common reserve and using these divisions to guard the junction of the French and British armies and to plug the potentially fatal gap that would have followed a German breakthrough in the British Fifth Army sector. At a later conference he was give the title Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies with the title of Généralissime
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

("supreme General") . Despite being surprised by the German offensive on the Chemin des Dames
Chemin des Dames
In France, the Chemin des Dames is part of the D18 and runs east and west in the département of Aisne, between in the west, the Route Nationale 2, and in the east, the D1044 at Corbeny. It is some thirty kilometres long and runs along a ridge between the valleys of the rivers Aisne and Ailette...

, the Allied armies under Foch's command ultimately held the advance of the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 forces during the great Spring Offensive
Spring Offensive
The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht , also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during World War I, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914...

 of 1918 and at the Second Battle of Marne in July 1918. The celebrated phrase, "I will fight in front of Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, I will fight in Paris, I will fight behind Paris," attributed both to Foch and Clemenceau
Georges Clemenceau
Georges Benjamin Clemenceau was a French statesman, physician and journalist. He served as the Prime Minister of France from 1906 to 1909, and again from 1917 to 1920. For nearly the final year of World War I he led France, and was one of the major voices behind the Treaty of Versailles at the...

, illustrated the Généralissime's resolve to keep the Allied armies intact, even at the risk of losing the capital. On 6 August 1918, Foch was made Marshal of France
Marshal of France
The Marshal of France is a military distinction in contemporary France, not a military rank. It is granted to generals for exceptional achievements...

.

Along with the British commander Field Marshal Haig
Douglas Haig
Douglas Haig, 1st Earl Haig was a British soldier and senior commander during World War I.Douglas Haig may also refer to:* Club Atlético Douglas Haig, a football club from Argentina* Douglas Haig , American actor...

, Foch planned the Grand Offensive, opening on 26 September 1918, which led to the defeat of Germany. After the war, he claimed to have defeated Germany by smoking his pipe. Foch accepted the German cessation of hostilities
Armistice with Germany (Compiègne)
The armistice between the Allies and Germany was an agreement that ended the fighting in the First World War. It was signed in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest on 11 November 1918 and marked a victory for the Allies and a complete defeat for Germany, although not technically a surrender...

 in November, after which he refused to shake the hand of the German signatory. On the day of the armistice, he was elected to the Académie des Sciences. Ten days later, he was unanimously elected to the Académie française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

. On 30 November 1918, he was awarded the highest Portuguese decoration the Order of the Tower and Sword
Order of the Tower and Sword
The Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit is a Portuguese order of knighthood and the pinnacle of the Portuguese honours system. It was created by King Afonso V in 1459....

, 1st class (Grand Cross).

Paris Peace Conference

In January 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference
Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The Paris Peace Conference was the meeting of the Allied victors following the end of World War I to set the peace terms for the defeated Central Powers following the armistices of 1918. It took place in Paris in 1919 and involved diplomats from more than 32 countries and nationalities...

 Foch presented a memorandum
Memorandum
A memorandum is from the Latin verbal phrase memorandum est, the gerundive form of the verb memoro, "to mention, call to mind, recount, relate", which means "It must be remembered ..."...

 to the Allied plenipotentiaries in which he stated:
In a subsequent memorandum, Foch argued that the Allies should take full advantage of their victory by permanently weakening German power in order to prevent her from threatening France again:
However the British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

 David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC was a British Liberal politician and statesman...

 and the American President Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 objected to the detachment of the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 from Germany, but agreed to Allied military occupation for fifteen years, which Foch thought insufficient to protect France.

Foch considered the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 to be "a capitulation, a treason
Treason
In law, treason is the crime that covers some of the more extreme acts against one's sovereign or nation. Historically, treason also covered the murder of specific social superiors, such as the murder of a husband by his wife. Treason against the king was known as high treason and treason against a...

" because he believed that only permanent occupation of the Rhineland would grant France sufficient security against a revival of German aggression. As the treaty
Treaty
A treaty is an express agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an agreement, protocol, covenant, convention or exchange of letters, among other terms...

 was being signed Foch said: "This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years".

Post-war career

Foch was made a British Field Marshal in 1919, and, for his advice during the Polish-Bolshevik War of 1920, as well as his pressure on Germany during the Great Poland Uprising, he was awarded with the title of Marshal of Poland
Marshal of Poland
Marshal of Poland is the highest rank in the Polish Army. It has been granted to only six officers. At present, this rank is equivalent to a Field Marshal or General of the Army in other NATO armies.-History:...

 in 1923.

On 1 November 1921 Foch was in Kansas City
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri and is the anchor city of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area, the second largest metropolitan area in Missouri. It encompasses in parts of Jackson, Clay, Cass, and Platte counties...

 to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Liberty Memorial
Liberty Memorial
The Liberty Memorial, located in Kansas City, Missouri, USA, is a memorial to the fallen soldiers of World War I and houses the The National World War I Museum, as designated by the United States Congress in 2004.. Groundbreaking commenced November 1, 1921, and the city held a site dedication...

 that was being constructed there. Also present that day were Lieutenant General Baron Jacques of Belgium, Admiral David Beatty
David Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty
Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty, 1st Earl Beatty, GCB, OM, GCVO, DSO was an admiral in the Royal Navy...

 of Great Britain, General Armando Diaz
Armando Diaz
Armando Diaz, 1st Duca della Vittoria was an Italian general and a Marshal of Italy.Born in Naples, Diaz began his military career as a student at the Military Academy of Turin, where he became an artillery officer. He was a colonel commanding the 93rd infantry during the Italo-Turkish War, and...

 of Italy and General John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing, GCB , was a general officer in the United States Army who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I...

 of the United States. One of the main speakers was Vice President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr. was the 30th President of the United States . A Republican lawyer from Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of that state...

 of the United States. In 1935 bas-reliefs of Foch, Jacques, Diaz and Pershing by sculptor Walker Hancock
Walker Hancock
Walker Kirtland Hancock was a 20th-century American sculptor and teacher. He created notable monumental sculptures, including the Pennsylvania Railroad World War II Memorial at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...

 were added to the memorial.

Foch died on 20 March 1929, and was interred in Les Invalides
Les Invalides
Les Invalides , officially known as L'Hôtel national des Invalides , is a complex of buildings in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, France, containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building's...

, next to Napoleon and many other famous French soldiers and officers.

A statue of Foch was set up at the Compiègne
Compiègne
Compiègne is a city in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune within the département of Oise.The city is located along the Oise River...

 Armistice site when the area was converted into a national memorial. This statue was the one item left undisturbed by the Germans following their defeat of France in June, 1940. Following the signing of France's surrender on 21 June, the Germans ravaged the area surrounding the railway car in which both the 1918 and 1940 surrenders had taken place. The statue was left standing, to view nothing but a wasteland. The Armistice site was restored by German POW labor following World War II, with its memorials and monuments either restored or reassembled.

A heavy cruiser
French cruiser Foch
The Foch was a French heavy cruiser of the Suffren class, that saw service in World War II. She was the first French warship named for the French Marshall Ferdinand Foch....

 and an aircraft carrier
Foch (R 99)
Foch was the second of the French Navy. She was the second warship named in honour of Marshal Ferdinand Foch, after a heavy cruiser commissioned in 1932, and scuttled in Toulon on 27 November 1942....

 were named in his honor, as well as an early district of Gdynia
Gdynia
Gdynia is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and an important seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea.Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together...

, Poland. The latter was, however, renamed by the communist
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

 government after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Nevertheless, one of the major avenues of the town of Bydgoszcz, located then in the Polish corridor
Polish Corridor
The Polish Corridor , also known as Danzig Corridor, Corridor to the Sea or Gdańsk Corridor, was a territory located in the region of Pomerelia , which provided the Second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic Sea, thus dividing the bulk of Germany from the province of East...

, holds his name as sign of gratitude for campaigning for an independent Poland. Avenue Foch
Avenue Foch
Avenue Foch is a street in Paris, France, named after Ferdinand Foch in 1929. It was previously named Avenue du Bois de Boulogne. It is one of the most prestigious streets in Paris, and one of the most expensive addresses in the world, home to many grand palaces, including ones belonging to the...

, a street in Paris, was named after him. Several other streets have been named in his honor in Lyon
Lyon
Lyon , is a city in east-central France in the Rhône-Alpes region, situated between Paris and Marseille. Lyon is located at from Paris, from Marseille, from Geneva, from Turin, and from Barcelona. The residents of the city are called Lyonnais....

, Kraków
Kraków
Kraków also Krakow, or Cracow , is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. Situated on the Vistula River in the Lesser Poland region, the city dates back to the 7th century. Kraków has traditionally been one of the leading centres of Polish academic, cultural, and artistic life...

, Chrzanów
Chrzanów
Chrzanów is a town in south Poland with 39,704 inhabitants . It is situated in the Lesser Poland Voivodeship and is the capital of Chrzanów County.- To 1809:...

, Grenoble
Grenoble
Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère...

, Quito
Quito
San Francisco de Quito, most often called Quito , is the capital city of Ecuador in northwestern South America. It is located in north-central Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mountains...

, Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, New Orleans, Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

, Wynnum, Cambridge
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

, Williston Park, Milltown
Milltown, New Jersey
Milltown is a Borough in Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough population was 6,893.Milltown was incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on January 29, 1889, from portions of North Brunswick Township, based on the...

 and Foch Road in Singapore. Fochville in South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 was also named in his honor. A statue of Foch stands near Victoria station in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Foch also has a grape cultivar
Marechal Foch
Marechal Foch , is an inter-specific hybrid red wine grape variety. It was named after the French marshal Ferdinand Foch , who played an important role in the negotiation of the armistice terms during the closing of the First World War. It was developed in Alsace, France by grape hybridizer...

 named after him.

France

  • Legion of Honour:
Knight - July 9, 1892;
Officer - July 11, 1908;
Commander - December 31, 1913;
Grand Officer - September 18, 1914;
Grand Cross - October 8, 1915.
  • Medaille Militaire
    Médaille militaire
    The Médaille militaire is a decoration of the French Republic which was first instituted in 1852.-History:The creator of the médaille was the emperor Napoléon III, who may have taken his inspiration in a medal issued by his father, Louis Bonaparte, King of Holland...

     - December 21, 1916.
  • Croix de Guerre 1914-1918
  • Commemorative Medal of War 1870-1871
  • Officer of Public Instruction.

Foreign decorations

  • Order of Merit
    Order of Merit
    The Order of Merit is a British dynastic order recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture...

     (United Kingdom)
  • Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
    Order of the Bath
    The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath...

     (United Kingdom)
  • Distinguished Service Order
    Distinguished Service Order
    The Distinguished Service Order is a military decoration of the United Kingdom, and formerly of other parts of the British Commonwealth and Empire, awarded for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.Instituted on 6 September...

     (United Kingdom)
  • Order of the White Eagle (Poland) (15 April 1923)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Virtuti Militari (15 April 1923, Poland)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco)
  • Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
    Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
    The Distinguished Service Medal is the highest non-valorous military and civilian decoration of the United States military which is issued for exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in either a senior government service position or as a senior officer of the United...

  • Order of Lāčplēsis
    Order of Lacplesis
    The Order of Lāčplēsis, the first and the highest Latvian military award, was established in 1919 on the initiative of the Commander of Latvian Army, during the Latvian War of Independence, Jānis Balodis. The Lāčplēsis Order is awarded in the first, second and third class. Initially, a holder of...

     3rd Class (Latvia)
  • Order of Saint George Second Class (Орден Святого Георгия, 1916, Russian Empire)


Foch received the title of Doctor honoris causa of the Jagiellonian University
Jagiellonian University
The Jagiellonian University was established in 1364 by Casimir III the Great in Kazimierz . It is the oldest university in Poland, the second oldest university in Central Europe and one of the oldest universities in the world....

 of Kraków in 1918.

Further reading

  • Doughty, Robert A. Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in the Great War (Harvard U.P. 2005)
  • Greenhalgh, Elizabeth. "Command in a Coalition War: Reassessing Marshal Ferdinand Foch" French History and Civilization. Papers from the George Rudé Seminar. Volume 2 (2009) pp 91–100 online
  • Neiberg, Michael S. Foch: Supreme Allied Commander in the Great War (Brassey’s Inc., 2003), short popular biography

See also

  • Army Manoeuvres of 1912
    Army Manoeuvres of 1912
    The Army Manoeuvres of 1912 was the last exercise of its kind conducted by the British army before the outbreak of the First World War. In the manoeuvres, Sir James Grierson decisively beat Douglas Haig, calling into question Haig's abilities as a field commander.J. E. B...

  • Foch Line
    Foch Line
    The Foch Line was a temporary demarcation line between Poland and Lithuania proposed by the Entente in the aftermath of World War I. The line was proposed by Marshal of France Ferdinand Foch and was accepted by the Conference of Ambassadors in 1919. With small adjustments the line formed the basis...

  • Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature
    Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature
    The Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages at the University of Oxford was founded in 1918. Basil Zaharoff, a Greek-born French arms trader and financier, gave £25,000 to the university to establish the chair and to support French studies in...

    , a chair at the University of Oxford established in Foch's honour in 1918

External links

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