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Foch, Ferdinand

A Dictionary of Contemporary World History

Jan Palmowski

Foch, Ferdinand 

(b. 2 Oct. 1851, d. 20 Mar. 1929).

French marshal After fighting in the Franco‐Prussian War (1870–1), he joined the General Staff as an artillery specialist. In World War I, he led the 9th French Army in the Battle of the Marne (1914), and distinguished himself in the military planning of the Battle of the Somme (1916). In 1917, he became Chief of Staff to the French Commander‐in‐Chief, Pétain, and in 1918 he was appointed Supreme Commander of all Allied forces on the Western Front. After the war he took part in the negotiations of the Versailles Treaty, but heavily criticized what he considered to be Clemenceau's leniency towards the Germans, and even advocated the breakup of Germany to undo the country's unification of 1871. He also criticized Clemenceau's failure to impose a French military occupation of the Rhineland up to the Ruhr. He is the only French person to have been created an honorary field‐marshal by the British army and to be commemorated by a statue in London.

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