First World War
Battle of the Frontiers
Third Battle of Artois
Battle of the Somme
Légion d'honneur (Grand Cross)
Croix de guerre
Order of Leopold (Grand Cross)
Order of Ouissam Alaouite
Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Grand Cross)
Order of the White Eagle
Virtuti Militari (Grand Cross)
Order of St. George
Order of St. George (2nd Class)
Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath (Honorary Grand Cross)
Order of the Redeemer
Order of Merit
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Medal (US)
Marshal Ferdinand Jean Marie Foch (French
pronunciation: [fɔʃ]) (2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was
a French general and military theorist who served as the Supreme
Allied Commander during the First World War. An aggressive, even
reckless commander at the First Marne, Flanders, and Artois campaigns
of 1914-1916, Foch became the Allied
Commander-in-Chief in 1918 and
successfully coordinated the French, British, American, and Italian
efforts into a coherent whole, deftly handling his strategic
At the outbreak of war in August 1914, Foch's XX Corps participated in
the brief invasion of Germany before retiring in the face of a German
counter-attack and successfully blocking the Germans short of Nancy.
Ordered west to defend Paris, Foch's prestige soared as a result of
the victory at the Marne, for which he was widely credited as a chief
protagonist while commanding the French Ninth Army. He was then
promoted again to Assistant
Commander-in-Chief for the Northern Zone,
a role which evolved into command of Army Group North, and in which
role he was required to cooperate with the British forces at
the Somme. At the end of 1916, partly owing to the disappointing
results of the latter offensive and partly owing to wartime political
rivalries, Foch was transferred to Italy.
Foch was ultimately appointed "
Commander-in-Chief of the Allied
Armies" on 26 March 1918 following being the
Western Front with title Généralissime in 1918. He played a decisive
role in halting a renewed German advance on
Paris in the Second Battle
of the Marne, after which he was promoted to Marshal of France.
Addington says, "to a large extent the final Allied strategy which won
the war on land in Western Europe in 1918 was Foch's alone."
On 11 November 1918 Foch accepted the German request for an armistice.
Foch advocated peace terms that would make Germany unable to pose a
threat to France ever again. Foch considered the
Treaty of Versailles
too lenient on Germany and as the
Treaty was being signed on 28 June
1919, he declared: "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty
years". His words proved prophetic: the Second World War started
twenty years and 64 days later.
1 Early life
3 World War I
Paris Peace Conference
6 Post-war career and legacy
8 Honors and awards
8.2 Foreign decorations
9 Quotations attributed to Foch
10 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Foch's birthplace in Tarbes
Ferdinand Foch was born at
Tarbes in the
Hautes-Pyrénées region. His
Germanic first name reflects the ancestry of his father, a civil
Comminges whose lineage traces to the
Alsace region in
the 18th century. He attended school at Tarbes,
Rodez and the Jesuit
College at Saint-Étienne. His brother became a Jesuit priest, which
may have hindered Foch's rise in the
French Army since the Republican
government of France was anti-clerical.
Franco-Prussian War broke out in 1870, the 19 year-old Foch
enlisted in the French 4th Infantry Regiment, which did not take part
in combat. He remained in the army after the war. In 1871, he entered
the École Polytechnique, choosing the school of artillery. In 1873,
he received his commission as an artillery officer and served as a
lieutenant in the 24th
Artillery Regiment in Tarbes, despite not
having had time to complete his course due to the shortage of junior
officers. In 1876, he attended the cavalry school of Saumur to train
as a mounted artillery officer. On 30 September 1878 he became a
captain and arrived in
Paris on 24 September 1879 as an assistant in
the Central Personnel Service Depot of the artillery.
In 1885 Foch undertook a course at the Ecole Supérieur de Guerre
where he was later an instructor from 1895 to 1901. He was promoted
Colonel in 1898, and colonel in 1903. As a colonel he
became regimental commander of the 35th
Artillery Regiment (35e R.A)
at Vannes. An extremely short man, Foch was known for his physical
strength and his sharp mind who always maintained a highly dignified
bearing. Foch was a quiet man, known for saying little and when he
did speak, it was a volley of words accompanied by much gesturing of
his hands that required some knowledge of him to understand
properly. One of Foch's favorite phrases was "Pas de protocole!" as
Foch preferred to be approachable by all officers and whose only
rigidity was always taking his meals at noon and at 7:30; otherwise
Foch would work all sorts of irregular hours from dawn until well into
In 1907 Foch was promoted to Général de Brigade, and in the same
year he assumed command of the French War College. He held this
position until 1911, the year in which he was appointed Général de
Division. Foch influenced
Joseph Joffre (Chief of General
Staff, 28 July 1911 – 12 December 1916) when he drafted the French
plan of campaign (Plan XVII) in 1913. In 1913 he took command of XX
Corps at Nancy, and he had held this appointment for exactly one year
when he led XX Corps into battle in August 1914.
Colonel Foch in his uniform of the 35th Artillery
Regiment in 1903.
Foch was later acclaimed as "the most original military thinker of his
generation". He became known for his critical analyses of the
Franco-Prussian and Napoleonic campaigns and of their relevance to
military operations in the new twentieth Century. His re-examination
of France's defeat in 1870 was amongst the first of its kind. At the
College, Foch was a professor of military history, strategy and
general tactics while becoming the French theorist on offensive
During his time as an instructor Foch created renewed interest in
French military history, 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 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. 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
came to dominate military circles, and Foch's reputation was damaged
when his books were cited in the development of the disastrous
offensive that brought France close to ruin in August 1914.
Foch was seen as a master of the Napoleonic school of military
thought, but he was the only one of the
Military College Commandants
(Maillard, Langlois, Bonnal) still serving. Their doctrines had been
challenged, not only by the German school, but also since about 1911
by a new French school inspired by
General Loiseau de Grandmaison,
which criticised them as lacking in vigour and offensive spirit, and
contributing to needless dispersion of force. The
French Army fought
under the new doctrines, but they failed in the first battles of
August 1914, and it remained to be seen whether the Napoleonic
doctrine would hold its own, would give way to doctrines evolved
during the war, or would incorporate the new moral and technical
elements into a new outward form within which the spirit of Napoleon
remained unaltered. The war gave an ambiguous answer to these
questions, which remains a source of controversy amongst experts.
World War I
On the outbreak of World War I, Foch was in command of XX Corps, part
of the Second Army of
General de Castelnau. On 14 August the Corps
advanced towards the Sarrebourg–
Morhange line, taking heavy
casualties in the Battle of the Frontiers. The defeat of the 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 River
Foch was then selected to command the newly formed Ninth Army during
First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne with
Maxime Weygand as his Chief of
Staff. Only a week after taking command, with the whole
French Army in
full retreat, he was forced to fight a series of defensive actions to
prevent a German breakthrough. During the advance at the marshes at
St.-Gond he is said to have declared: "My centre is yielding. My right
is retreating. Situation excellent. I am attacking." These words
were seen as a symbol both of Foch's leadership and of French
determination to resist the invader at any cost, although there is
little evidence that the signal was sent. Accordingly, on October
4, 1914, Ferdinand was made the Assistant
Commander-in-Chief of the
Northern Zone under Joseph Joffre.
Foch's counterattack 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 the Marne at Châlons and liberated the
city. The people of Châlons greeted as a hero the man widely believed
to have been instrumental in stopping the retreat and stabilising the
Allied position. Receiving thanks from the Bishop of Châlons
(Joseph-Marie Tissier), 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).
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
Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea was
then in progress.
General Joseph Joffre,
of the French Army, had also wanted to nominate Foch as his successor
"in case of accident", to make sure the job would not be given to
Joseph Gallieni, but the French Government would not agree to this.
When the Germans attacked on 13 October, they narrowly failed to break
through the British and French lines. They tried again at the end of
the month during the First Battle of Ypres, this time suffering
terrible casualties. Foch had again succeeded in coordinating a
defense and winning against the odds.
Field Marshal Sir John French, C-in-C of the British Expeditionary
Force (BEF) had described Foch in August 1914 to J. E. B. Seely, a
liaison officer, as "the sort of man with whom I know I can get on"
and later in February 1915 described him to Lord Selbourne as "the
best general in the world". By contrast,
Robertson, another British officer, thought that Foch was "rather a
flat-catcher, a mere professor, and very talkative" (28 September
On 2 December 1914, King George V appointed him an Honorary Knight
Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
General Foch in 1916
In 1915, his responsibilities by now crystallised in command of the
Northern Army Group, he conducted the Artois Offensive and, in 1916,
the French effort at 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 Joffre and sent to command Allied units on the
Italian front; Joffre was himself sacked days later.
Just a few months later, after the failure of
General Robert Nivelle's
General Philippe Pétain, the hero of Verdun, 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 Pétain was appointed C-in-C in place of
Nivelle, and Foch was recalled and promoted to chief of the general
staff. Like Pétain, Foch favoured only limited attacks (he had told
General Sir Henry Wilson, another British Army officer,
that the planned Flanders offensive was "futile, fantastic &
dangerous") until the Americans, who had joined the war in April 1917,
were able to send large numbers of troops to France.
Outside of the Western Front, Foch opposed British Prime Minister
David Lloyd George's plans to send British and French troops to help
Italy take Trieste, but was open to the suggestion of sending heavy
guns. The Anglo-French leadership agreed in early September to
send 100 heavy guns to Italy, 50 of them from the French army on the
left of Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, C-in-C of the BEF, rather than
the 300 which Lloyd George wanted. As the guns reached Italy, Cadorna
called off his offensive (21 September).
Until the end of 1916 the French under Joffre had been the dominant
allied army; after 1917 this was no longer the case, due to the vast
number of casualties France's armies had suffered in the now three and
a half year old struggle with Germany.
Supreme War Council
Supreme War Council was formally established on 7 November 1917,
containing the Prime Minister and a Minister from each of the Western
Front powers (i.e., excluding Russia), to meet at least once a month.
Foch (along with Wilson and Italian general Cadorna) were appointed
military representatives, to whom the general staffs of each country
were to submit their plans. The French tried to have Foch as
representative to increase their control over the Western Front (by
contrast Cadorna was disgraced after the recent Battle of Caporetto
and Wilson, a personal friend of Foch, was deliberately appointed as a
rival to Field Marshal Robertson, the British Chief of the Imperial
General Staff, an ally of Haig's, who had recently lost 250,000 men at
the battle of
Ypres the same year.) Clemenceau was eventually
persuaded to appoint Foch's protégé Weygand instead, although many
already suspected that Foch would eventually become the Allied
Late in 1917 Foch would have liked to have seen Haig replaced as
C-in-C of the BEF by
General Herbert Plumer; however, Haig would
remain in command of the BEF for the remainder of the war.
Marshal of France
Marshal of France
Ferdinand Foch with baton.
In January 1918, in accordance with Lloyd George's wishes, an
executive board was set up to control the planned Allied General
Reserve, with Clemenceau's agreement being obtained by having Foch on
the board rather than Maxime Weygand. Pétain agreed to release only
eight French divisions and made a bilateral agreement with Haig, who
was reluctant to release any divisions at all, to assist one another.
The situation was worsened by Clemenceau's and Pétain's dislike of
Foch. At a
Supreme War Council
Supreme War Council meeting in London (14–15 March), with
a German offensive clearly imminent, Foch agreed under protest to
shelve the Allied Reserve for the time being.
On the evening of 24 March, after the German
Spring Offensive was
threatening to split apart the British and French forces, Foch
telegraphed Wilson (who by now had replaced Robertson as Chief of the
General Staff) "asking what [he] thought of situation &
we are of one mind that someone must catch a hold or we shall be
beaten". Wilson reached France the following lunchtime. Pétain had
sent a dozen divisions to plug the gap and it is unclear that a
committee would actually have acted any faster during the immediate
crisis. At the
Doullens Conference (26 March) and at Beauvais (3
April), Foch was given the job of coordinating 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 given the title Supreme Commander of the Allied Armies with the
title of Généralissime ("Supreme General"). In May 1918, in the
fifth session of the Supreme War Council, Foch was given authority
over the Italian Front.
Foch was surprised by the German offensive ("Bluecher") on the Chemin
des Dames (27 May). Foch believed it was a diversion to draw Allied
reserves away from Flanders. This was partly true, although the
planned German Flanders Offensive ("Hagen") never took place. The
Allied armies under Foch's command ultimately held the advance of the
German forces. The celebrated phrase, "I will fight in front of
Paris, I will fight in Paris, I will fight behind Paris", attributed
both to Foch and Clemenceau, illustrated the Généralissime's resolve
to keep the Allied armies intact, even at the risk of losing the
capital. The British
General Sir Henry Rawlinson, commanding the
British Fourth Army, commented after meeting Foch: "I am overjoyed at
his methods and far-sighted strategy. I was in close touch with him in
1916. He is a better man now than he was then, for his fiery
enthusiasm has been tempered by adversity." Rawlinson also noted
Foch's intense Frenchness: "He knew nothing of Britain. The
for him a river of life and death."
At the sixth session of the
Supreme War Council
Supreme War Council on 1 June Foch
complained that the BEF was still shrinking in size and infuriated
Lloyd George by implying that the British government was withholding
manpower. At a major Allied conference at Beauvais (7 June) Lord
Milner agreed with Clemenceau that Foch should have the power to order
all Allied troops as he saw fit, over the protests of Haig who argued
that it would reduce his power to safeguard the interests of the
The British were disappointed that Foch operated through his own staff
rather than through the Permanent
Military Representatives at
Versailles, and on 11 July 1918 British ministers resolved to remind
Foch that he was an Allied, and not a French, C-in-C. The Allies
(mainly French and the growing American forces) counterattacked at the
Second Battle of the Marne
Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918. On 6 August 1918, Foch was
made a Marshal of France. Along with the British commander, Field
Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, 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. An
unintended consequence of Foch's appointment was that he sheltered
Haig from British political interference.
Before the armistice and after the
Armistice of Villa Giusti
Armistice of Villa Giusti Foch
controlled all the operations against Germany including a planned
invasion from Italy into Bavaria. Foch accepted the German
cessation of hostilities in November from the German delegate,
On the day of the armistice, 11 November 1918, he was elected to the
Académie des Sciences. Ten days later, he was unanimously elected to
the Académie française. He received many honours and decorations
from Allied governments.
In the euphoria of victory Foch was regularly compared to Napoleon and
Julius Caesar. However, historians took a less sanguine view of Foch's
talents as commander, particularly as the idea took root that his
military doctrines had set the stage for the futile and costly
offensives of 1914 in which French armies suffered devastating losses.
Supporters and critics continue to debate Foch's strategy and
instincts as a commander, as well as his exact contributions to the
Marne "miracle": Foch's counter-attacks at the Marne generally failed,
but his sector resisted determined German attacks while holding the
pivot on which the neighbouring French and British forces depended in
rolling back the German line.
After the reading of the preamble of the November 1918 armistice, Foch
left the carriage, in a move that was perceived as humiliating by the
defeated Germans. In 1940, after the defeat of France by Germany early
in World War II, when France signed an armistice with Germany, Adolf
Hitler, in a calculated gesture of disdain to the French delegates –
left the carriage, as Foch had done in 1918.
Foch's pre-war contributions as military theorist and lecturer have
also been recognised, and he has been credited as "the most original
and subtle mind in the French Army" of the early 20th century.
Paris Peace Conference
In January 1919, at the
Paris Peace Conference Foch presented a
memorandum to the Allied plenipotentiaries in which he stated:
Rhine ought to be the Western military frontier of
the German countries. Henceforward Germany ought to be deprived of all
entrance and assembling ground, that is, of all territorial
sovereignty on the left bank of the river, that is, of all facilities
for invading quickly, as in 1914, Belgium, Luxembourg, for reaching
the coast of the
North Sea and threatening the United Kingdom, for
outflanking the natural defences of France, the Rhine, Meuse,
conquering the Northern Provinces and entering the Parisian area.
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:
What the people of Germany fear the most is a renewal of hostilities
since, this time, Germany would be the field of battle and the scene
of the consequent devastation. This makes it impossible for the yet
unstable German Government to reject any demand on our part if it is
clearly formulated. The Entente, in its present favourable military
situation, can obtain acceptance of any peace conditions it may put
forward provided that they are presented without much delay. All it
has to do is to decide what they shall be.
However, the British Prime Minister
David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George and the
Woodrow Wilson objected to the detachment of the
Rhineland from Germany so that the balance of power wouldn't be too in
favor of France, 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 to be "a capitulation, a
treason" because he believed that only permanent occupation of the
Rhineland would grant France sufficient security against a revival of
German aggression. As the treaty was being signed Foch said: "This
is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years".
Post-war career and legacy
Foch speaking to
Kazimierz Sosnkowski on the steps of the
Belweder Palace in
Warsaw (1923). Seen in the centre is Chief of State
Ferdinand Foch - Hôtel des Invalides
Foch was made a British Field Marshal in 1919, and, for his advice
Polish–Bolshevik War of 1920, as well as his pressure on
Germany during the Great Poland Uprising, he was awarded with the
Marshal of Poland
Marshal of Poland in 1923.
On 1 November 1921 Foch was in Kansas City, Missouri, to take part in
the groundbreaking ceremony for the
Liberty Memorial that was being
constructed there. Also present that day were
Jacques of Belgium, Admiral David Beatty of Great Britain, General
Armando Diaz of Italy and
John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing of the United
States. One of the main speakers was Vice President
Calvin Coolidge of
the United States. In 1935 bas-reliefs of Foch, Jacques, Diaz and
Pershing by sculptor
Walker Hancock were added to the memorial.
Foch made a 3000-mile circuit through the U.S. midwest and industrial
cities such as Pittsburgh PA, then on to Washington, D.C., which
included Ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for what was then
called Armistice Day. During the tour he received numerous honorary
degrees from American Universities.
Foch died on 20 March 1929, and was interred in Les Invalides, next to
Napoleon and other famous French soldiers and officers.
A statue of Foch was set up at the
Compiègne 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 prisoner-of-war labour following the Second World
War, with its memorials and monuments either restored or reassembled.
6 August 1918: Marshal of France
19 July 1919 : Field Marshal of Great-Britain
25 March 1921: Honorary
Colonel (the first) of the Royal 22nd Regiment
of the Canadian Army
13 April 1923: Marshal of Poland
Honors and awards
The aircraft carrier Foch (R99) was named in his honor.
A heavy cruiser and an aircraft carrier were named in his honor. An
early district of Gdynia, Poland was also named "Foch" after the
Marshal, but was renamed by the communist government after the Second
World War. Nevertheless, one of the major avenues of the town of
Bydgoszcz, located then in the Polish corridor, holds Foch's name as
sign of gratitude for his campaigning for an independent Poland.
Avenue Foch, a street in Paris, was named after him. Several other
streets have been named in his honor in Melbourne, Ypres, Lyon,
Kraków, Chrzanów, Grenoble, Quito, Beirut, New Orleans, Wynnum,
Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mineola, New York, Queens, New York,
Shanghai (now part of Yan'a Road) and Singapore (Foch Road).
A city quarter in the former French sector of Berlin is called Cité
Foch in his honor. This is where French garrison soldiers were housed
while Berlin was divided.
South Africa was also named in
his honour. A statue of Foch stands near Victoria railway station in
London. He is the only Frenchman ever to be made an honorary
field-marshal by the British. A statue of Foch stands on the
Bapaume-Peronne road, near the village of Bouchavesnes, at the point
where Messimy's chasseurs broke through on 12 September 1916. General
Debeney spoke at the statue's unveiling in 1926, praising Foch's
operational concepts of 1918. Foch also has a grape cultivar named
after him. In the Belgian city of Leuven, one of the central squares
was named after him after the First World War, but it was renamed in
Mount Foch in
Alberta is also named after him.
Legion of Honour:
Knight – 9 July 1892;
Officer – 11 July 1908;
Commander – 31 December 1913;
Grand Officer – 18 September 1914;
Grand Cross – 8 October 1915.
Médaille militaire – 21 December 1916.
Croix de guerre 1914-1918
Commemorative medal of the 1870–1871 War
Officer of Public Instruction.
The statue of Foch in Victoria, London
Order of Merit
Order of Merit (United Kingdom)
Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the
Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath (United Kingdom)
Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order (United Kingdom)
Order of the White Eagle (Poland)
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
Order of Polonia Restituta (Poland)
Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold (Belgium)
Grand Cross of the
Order of Ouissam Alaouite
Order of Ouissam Alaouite (Morocco)
Distinguished Service Medal (United States)
Grand Cross of the
Order of the Redeemer (Greece)
Order of Lāčplēsis
Order of Lāčplēsis 3rd Class (Latvia)
Order of Saint George
Order of Saint George Second Class (Орден Святого
Георгия, 1916, Russian Empire)
Knights Grand Commander (First Class) of the Order of Rama
(Senangapati, 16 November 1918, Thailand)
Foch received the title of
Doctor honoris causa
Doctor honoris causa of the Jagiellonian
Kraków in 1918.
Quotations attributed to Foch
" Aucun, sauf un lâche ose se vanter qu'il n'a jamais connu la peur.
English Translation: None but a coward dares to boast that he has
never known fear.
" Ne me dites pas que ce problème est difficile. S'il n'était pas
difficile, ce ne serait pas un problème."
English Translation: Don't tell me that this problem is difficult. If
it wasn't difficult, it wouldn't be a problem.
" Il n'y a pas d'homme cultivé ; il n'y a que des hommes qui se
English Translation: There is no man that is cultivated; there are
only men that cultivate themselves.
" A la guerre, c'est celui qui doute qui est perdu : on ne doit
English Translation: In war, he who has doubts is lost: one should
"Accepter l'idée d'une défaite, c'est être vaincu..."
English Translation: Accepting the idea of a defeat, is being
" La réalité du champ de bataille est que l'on n'y étudie
pas : simplement on fait ce que l'on peut pour appliquer ce que
l'on sait. " (1903)
English Translation: The reality of the battlefield is not an element
that can be studied: we simply do what we can to be able to apply what
" Les aéroplanes sont des jouets scientifiques intéressants, mais ne
présentent pas de valeur militaire. " (1911)
English translation: Aeroplanes are interesting scientific toys, but
they are of no military value.(1911)
" Il faut travailler, toujours travailler pour nous tenir au courant,
car les moyens évoluent, les solutions sont chaque jour différentes.
Faire la guerre prochaine avec les procédés de la dernière, quelle
utopie ! Il faudra que le chef d'alors improvise des solutions
nouvelles. Travaillez… les improvisations géniales sur le champ de
bataille ne sont que le résultat des méditations antérieures. "
(conférence à l'
École navale – August 1920).
English Translation: Work must be done, always work to keep up,
because means evolve and accordingly solutions change daily. Conduct
the next war with the procedures of the former war, what a
utopia ! The chief would have to improvise new solutions.
Work...the great improvisations on the battle field are only the
results of previous thought
" De gouverner, c'est prévoir, on a fait: gouverner, c'est attendre "
(Les Cahiers – 1926)
English Translation: To govern is to anticipate, we did: governing is
" Parce qu'un homme sans mémoire est un homme sans vie, un peuple
sans mémoire est un peuple sans avenir… "
English Translation: Since a man without memory is a man without a
life, a people without memory are a people without a future...
" Mon centre cède, ma droite recule. Situation excellente, j'attaque.
First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne - 8 September 1914)
English Translation: My center is yielding, my right is retreating.
Excellent situation, I am attacking
" Les peuples cessent de vivre quand ils cessent de se souvenir."
English Translation: Peoples will stop living when they stop
" Une assemblée pour décider doit avoir un nombre impair, mais
trois, c'est déjà trop."
English Translation: A committee should have an odd number of members,
and three is already too many
Jean de Lattre de Tassigny
List of French paratrooper units
Russian Expeditionary Force in France
Marching Regiment of the Foreign Legion
Army Manoeuvres of 1912
Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature, a chair at the University
of Oxford established in Foch's honour in 1918
Non-U.S. recipients of U.S. gallantry awards
^ Charles Messenger, ed., Reader's Guide to
Military History (2001) pp
^ a b Greenhalgh, 2011
^ a b Addington, Larry H. (1994). The Patterns of War Since the
Eighteenth Century. Indiana UP. pp. 167–68.
^ Williamson Murray; Jim Lacey (2009). The Making of Peace: Rulers,
States, and the Aftermath of War. Cambridge UP. p. 209.
^ a b c d e Winter, Denis Haig's Command: A Reassessment, New York:
Viking, 1991 page 275.
^ Palmowski, Jan. "The Western Front, 1914–1915". Oxford
Reference. Missing or empty url= (help); access-date= requires
Michael Carver (editor), The War Lords:
Military Commanders of the
Twentieth Century, (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976), p. 123.
^ a b Shirer, p. 81
^ Shirer, p. 80
^ Atkinson, Charles Francis (1922). "Foch, Ferdinand". In
Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New
^ Raymond Recouly, Foch: Le Vainqueur de la Guerre [Foch: The victor
of the war] (Paris, France: Hachette, 1919), page 121 : "Mon
centre céde, ma droite recule, situation excellente, j'attaque." (My
centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I
^ Cowley, Robert; Parker, Geoffrey, eds. (1996). The Reader's
Military History. sponsored by the Society for Military
History (1st ed.). Houghton Mifflin. pp. 164–165.
^ "Nouvelles de Rome: S. G. Mgr. Tissier à Rome (Rome, 19 janvier
1917)" [News from Rome: S. G. Monsignor Tissier in Rome], Le Croix
(French Catholic newspaper), 25 January 1917 Archived 5 November 2013
at the Wayback Machine., page 7: "On sent … qu'il n'oubliera plus
jamais le réponse du général Foch à ses félicitions, au lendemain
de la victoire: Non nobis, Domine, non nobis; sed nomini tuo da
gloriam." (One feels … that he will never forget the reply of
General Foch to his congratulations in the aftermath of the victory:
Not to us, Lord, not to us; but to Your name give glory.)
^ Flat-catcher (British racing slang) a horse that looks good but is
not. See: Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary.
^ Holmes 2004, p243
^ "No. 29044". The London Gazette. 19 January 1915. p. 601.
^ Woodward, 1998, pp135
^ Woodward, 1998, pp139
^ Woodward, 1998, pp144-6
^ a b c d e Woodward, 1998, pp187-9
^ Whelan, B. (2010). "War in History". British Library Serials. 4. 17:
^ Jeffery 2006, pp 206-8, 210-11
^ Jeffery 2006, pp 212-3
^ Jeffery 2006, pp 214-5, 219-20
^ Jeffery 2006, pp 220-1
^ Keegan, John, "The First World War" (Vintage Books, 1998), p. 403.
Foch the Man at Project Gutenberg
^ Harris 2008, p477
^ Harris 2008, p478
^ Harris 2008, p479
^ " 'How did I win the war?' Foch will say chaffingly to André de
Marincourt, many months later. 'By smoking my pipe. That is to say, by
not getting excited, by reducing everything to simple terms, by
avoiding useless emotions, and keeping all my strength for the job.' "
Frank H. Simonds, History of the World War, Vol. 5, Ch. 3, III.
Doubleday, Page & Co., 1920.
^ a b Ernest R. Troughton, It's Happening Again (John Gifford, 1944),
^ Anthony Adamthwaite, Grandeur and Misery: France's Bid for Power in
Europe, 1914-40 (Hodder Arnold, 1995), p. 57.
^ Ruth Henig, Versailles and After, 1919-33 (Routledge, 1995), p. 52.
^ "No. 31481".
The London Gazette
The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 July 1919.
^ New York Times, 10 November 1921 "Foch Sees Ingots Rolled into
^ Chrzanovia Patria Parva Archived 11 February 2010 at the Wayback
Machine. Street chart of Chrzanów
^ Palmowski, Jan (2008). "Foch, Ferdinand". A Dictionary of
Contemporary World History (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
ISBN 9780199295678. Retrieved 9 October 2012.
^ Philpott 2009, p441, p555
^ 1[permanent dead link] Fochsquare gets new name
^ Les Principes de la guerre. Conférences faites à l'École
supérieure de guerre, Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1903
Les Principes de la guerre. Conférences faites à l'Ecole supérieure
de guerre (On the Principles of War), Berger-Levrault, (1903)
La Conduite de la guerre (On the Conduct of War), Berger-Levrault,
Foch, F. (1931). Mémoire pour servir à l'histoire de la guerre
1914–1918: avec 18 gravures hors-texte et 12 cartes [The Memoirs of
Marshal Foch] (PDF) (in French). Translated by T Bentley Mott
(Heinemann ed.). Paris: Plon. OCLC 86058356. Retrieved 6
Porte, Rémy, and F Cochet. Ferdinand Foch, 1851-1929: Apprenez À
Penser : Actes Du Colloque International, École Militaire,
Paris, 6–7 November 2008. Paris: Soteca, 2010.
Doughty, Robert A. Pyrrhic Victory: French Strategy and Operations in
the Great War (Harvard U.P. 2005)
Greenhalgh, Elizabeth. Foch in Command. The Forging of a First World
General (Cambridge University Press, 2011); 550 pp. online review
Greenhalgh, Elizabeth. Victory Through Coalition. Britain and France
First World War
First World War (2005)
Harris, J.P. Douglas Haig and the First World War. Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-521-89802-7
Holmes, Richard (2004). The Little Field Marshal: A Life of Sir John
French. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. ISBN 0-297-84614-0.
Jeffery, Keith (2006). Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political
Soldier. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-820358-2.
King, Jere Clemens. Foch versus Clemenceau (Harvard University Press,
Neiberg, Michael S. Foch: Supreme Allied Commander in the Great War
(Brassey's Inc., 2003), short popular biography
Philpott, W. (2009). Bloody Victory: The Sacrifice on the Somme and
the Making of the Twentieth Century (1st ed.). London: Little, Brown.
Woodward, David R. Field Marshal Sir William Robertson Westport
Connecticut & London: Praeger, 1998, ISBN 0-275-95422-6
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferdinand Foch.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ferdinand Foch
Wikisource has the text of a 1922
Encyclopædia Britannica article
about Ferdinand Foch.
Works by or about
Ferdinand Foch at Internet Archive
Unjustly Accused: Marshal
Ferdinand Foch and the French 'Cult of the
Biography on FirstWorldWar.com
Foch's Biography in French on the Immortals page of the Académie
Foch the Man at Project Gutenberg, by Clara E. Laughlin
Ferdinand Foch at Find a Grave
Awards and achievements
Cover of Time Magazine
16 March 1925
Marshals of Poland
Académie française seat 18
Jean Baudoin (1634)
François Charpentier (1650)
Jean François de Chamillart (1702)
Claude Louis Hector de Villars, Duke of Villars (1714)
Honoré Armand de Villars, Duke of Villars (1734)
"Cardinal Loménie de Brienne" (1770)
Jean Gérard Lacuée, Count of Cessac (1803)
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville (1841)
Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire (1860)
Albert de Broglie, Duke of Broglie (1862)
Melchior de Vogüé (1901)
Ferdinand Foch (1918)
Philippe Pétain (1929)
André François Poncet (1952)
Edgar Faure (1978)
Michel Serres (1990)
ISNI: 0000 0000 8086 2946
BNF: cb121577755 (data)