The Info List - Ferdinand Foch

Franco-Prussian War First World War

Battle of the Frontiers Third Battle of Artois Battle of the Somme Spring Offensive Meuse-Argonne Offensive

Awards Légion d'honneur (Grand Cross) Médaille militaire 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
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 reserves.[1] 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 Ypres
and 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.[2] Foch was ultimately appointed " Commander-in-Chief
of the Allied Armies" on 26 March 1918 following being the Commander-in-Chief
of 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."[3] 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.[4]


1 Early life 2 Military
thought 3 World War I

3.1 1914 3.2 1915–16 3.3 1917 3.4 1918

4 Assessments 5 Paris
Peace Conference 6 Post-war career and legacy 7 Distinctions 8 Honors and awards

8.1 France 8.2 Foreign decorations

9 Quotations attributed to Foch 10 See also 11 Notes

11.1 Bibliography

12 Further reading 13 External links

Early life[edit]

Foch's birthplace in Tarbes

Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
was born at Tarbes
in the Hautes-Pyrénées
region. His Germanic first name reflects the ancestry of his father, a civil servant from 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
French Army
since the Republican government of France was anti-clerical.[2] When the Franco-Prussian War
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 Lieutenant- 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.[5] 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.[5] 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 the night.[5] 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 General
Joseph Joffre
Joseph Joffre
(Chief of General Staff, 28 July 1911 – 12 December 1916) when he drafted the French plan of campaign (Plan XVII) in 1913.[6] 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. Military

Regimental commander 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".[7] 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 strategies. 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".[8] 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,"[9] 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
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.[10] World War I[edit] 1914[edit] 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 Meurthe. Foch was then selected to command the newly formed Ninth Army during the First Battle of the Marne
First Battle of the Marne
with Maxime Weygand
Maxime Weygand
as his Chief of Staff. Only a week after taking command, with the whole French Army
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."[11] 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.[12] 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).[13] As 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 Race to the Sea
Race to the Sea
was then in progress. General
Joseph Joffre, Commander-in-Chief
(C-in-C) 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, Lieutenant
William Robertson, another British officer, thought that Foch was "rather a flat-catcher,[14] a mere professor, and very talkative" (28 September 1915).[15] On 2 December 1914, King George V appointed him an Honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.[16] 1915–16[edit]

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. 1917[edit] Just a few months later, after the failure of General
Robert Nivelle's offensive, 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 Lieutenant
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.[17] 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.[18] 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).[19] 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.[20] The 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.[21]) Clemenceau was eventually persuaded to appoint Foch's protégé Weygand instead, although many already suspected that Foch would eventually become the Allied Generalissimo.[22] 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.[23] 1918[edit]

Marshal of France
Marshal of France
Ferdinand Foch
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.[24] On the evening of 24 March, after the German Spring Offensive
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 Imperial 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.[25] At the Doullens Conference (26 March) and at Beauvais (3 April), Foch was given the job of coordinating the activities of the Allied armies,[26][27] 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.[20] 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.[28] 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."[5] Rawlinson also noted Foch's intense Frenchness: "He knew nothing of Britain. The Rhine
was for him a river of life and death."[5] 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.[29] 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 British Army.[30] 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.[20] 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.[31] An unintended consequence of Foch's appointment was that he sheltered Haig from British political interference.[20] 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.[20] Foch accepted the German cessation of hostilities in November from the German delegate, Matthias Erzberger. 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. Assessments[edit] 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.[3] 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.[8] Paris
Peace Conference[edit] In January 1919, at the Paris
Peace Conference Foch presented a memorandum to the Allied plenipotentiaries in which he stated:

Henceforward the 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
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.[32]

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.[32]

However, the British Prime Minister David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George
and the American President Woodrow Wilson
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.[33] As the treaty was being signed Foch said: "This is not peace. It is an armistice for 20 years".[34] Post-war career and legacy[edit]

Foch speaking to General
Kazimierz Sosnkowski
Kazimierz Sosnkowski
on the steps of the Belweder Palace
Belweder Palace
in Warsaw
(1923). Seen in the centre is Chief of State Józef Piłsudski

Tomb of Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
- Hôtel des Invalides

Foch was made a British Field Marshal in 1919,[35] and, for his advice during the Polish–Bolshevik War
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
in 1923. On 1 November 1921 Foch was in Kansas City, Missouri, to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Liberty Memorial
Liberty Memorial
that was being constructed there. Also present that day were Lieutenant
Baron Jacques of Belgium, Admiral David Beatty of Great Britain, General Armando Diaz
Armando Diaz
of Italy and General
John J. Pershing
John J. Pershing
of the United States. One of the main speakers was Vice President Calvin Coolidge
Calvin Coolidge
of the United States. In 1935 bas-reliefs of Foch, Jacques, Diaz and Pershing by sculptor Walker Hancock
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.[36] 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. Distinctions[edit]

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[edit]

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,[37] Grenoble, Quito, Beirut, New Orleans, Wynnum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Mineola, New York, Queens, New York, Milltown, 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. Fochville
in South Africa
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.[38] 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.[39] 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 2012.[40] Mount Foch
Mount Foch
in Alberta
is also named after him. France[edit]

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
Médaille militaire
– 21 December 1916. Croix de guerre 1914-1918 Commemorative medal of the 1870–1871 War Officer of Public Instruction.

Foreign decorations[edit]

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
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 University of Kraków
in 1918. Quotations attributed to Foch[edit]

" 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 cultivent."

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 jamais douter."

English Translation: In war, he who has doubts is lost: one should never doubt.

"Accepter l'idée d'une défaite, c'est être vaincu..."

English Translation: Accepting the idea of a defeat, is being defeated...

" 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)[41]

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 we know

" 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
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 waiting (1920)

" 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 remembering

" 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 See also[edit]

Biography portal

Jean de Lattre de Tassigny List of French paratrooper units Pierre Segretain Pierre Jeanpierre Marcel Bigeard 35th Parachute Artillery
Regiment Moroccan Division Lafayette Escadrille Russian Expeditionary Force in France Marching Regiment of the Foreign Legion Army Manoeuvres of 1912 Foch Line 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 170-71. ^ 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 url= (help) ^ Michael Carver
Michael Carver
(editor), The War Lords: Military
Commanders of the Twentieth Century, (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1976), p. 123. ISBN 0-297-77084-5 ^ a b Shirer, p. 81 ^ Shirer, p. 80 ^  Atkinson, Charles Francis (1922). "Foch, Ferdinand". In Chisholm, Hugh. Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
(12th ed.). London & New York.  ^ 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 am attacking.) ^ Cowley, Robert; Parker, Geoffrey, eds. (1996). The Reader's Companion to Military
History. sponsored by the Society for Military History (1st ed.). Houghton Mifflin. pp. 164–165. ISBN 0-395-66969-3.  ^ "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: 526.  ^ 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), p. 17. ^ 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. p. 9809.  ^ New York Times, 10 November 1921 "Foch Sees Ingots Rolled into Plates." ^ 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, 1905 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 September 2014.  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. ISBN 978-2-916385-43-3

Further reading[edit]

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 War General
(Cambridge University Press, 2011); 550 pp. online review in H-FRANCE Greenhalgh, Elizabeth. Victory Through Coalition. Britain and France During the 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, 1960) 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. ISBN 978-1-4087-0108-9.  Woodward, David R. Field Marshal Sir William Robertson Westport Connecticut & London: Praeger, 1998, ISBN 0-275-95422-6

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ferdinand Foch.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ferdinand Foch

has the text of a 1922 Encyclopædia Britannica
Encyclopædia Britannica
article about Ferdinand Foch.

Works by or about Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
at Internet Archive Unjustly Accused: Marshal Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
and the French 'Cult of the Offensive' Biography on FirstWorldWar.com Foch's Biography in French on the Immortals page of the Académie française

Foch the Man at Project Gutenberg, by Clara E. Laughlin Ferdinand Foch
Ferdinand Foch
at Find a Grave

Awards and achievements

Preceded by Nicholas Longworth Cover of Time Magazine 16 March 1925 Succeeded by Eduard Benes

v t e

Marshals of Poland

Józef Piłsudski Ferdinand Foch Edward Rydz-Śmigły Michał Rola-Żymierski Konstanty Rokossowski Marian Spychalski

v t e

Académie française
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
Ferdinand Foch
(1918) Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
(1929) André François Poncet (1952) Edgar Faure
Edgar Faure
(1978) Michel Serres
Michel Serres

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 7428843 LCCN: n79115432 ISNI: 0000 0000 8086 2946 GND: 118684078 SELIBR: 187085 SUDOC: 030092019 BNF: cb121577755 (data) BIBSYS: 90705254 NDL: 00521694 NKC: jn19990009558 Léonore: LH/988/37 BNE: XX1201617 SN