Foch: Supreme Allied Commander in the Great War
Ferdinand Foch is the prototype of the twentieth-century general. Better than any other general of the First World War, Foch came to understand how technology and modern alliance systems had changed the nature of warfare. He is most famous for his role as Allied commander in chief in 1918. In this position, unparalleled in the history of warfare, Foch welded together the disparate war efforts of France, Great Britain, the United States, Italy, and Belgium. Now fighting as a more coherent whole, the Allies repulsed the German spring offensives of 1918 and returned to the attack themselves in the summer. In this role, Foch foreshadowed the similar roles played by other commanders of large coalitions, such as Dwight Eisenhower in World War II and Norman Schwarzkopf in Desert Storm.
Foch's other important legacy is his public dispute with French prime minister Georges Clemenceau during the armistice and peace negotiations. Foch argued strongly for the creation of Allied bridgeheads across the Rhine River to ensure that a less populous and less industrialized France could defeat a vengeful Germany in the future if necessary. His public quarrels with Clemenceau, who did not share Foch's opinion and did not care for his interference, left the French Third Republic with a civil-military crisis as menacing as the one with which it began World War I. Foch's legacies are both positive and negative, but he left a profound impact on the twentieth century. Michael S. Neiberg masterfully analyzes this complex man and provides a solid overview of French political history against the fabric of the twentieth century's first industrialized war.
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The short military biography “Foch: Supreme Allied Commander” by Michael S. Nieberg presents the case for Foch as a compassioned and savvy Great War commander whose prophetic insight a regarding the ... Read full review
Chapter 1 The Formation of Ferdinand Foch
Chapter 2 Foch and the Crisis of 1914
The Flanders Campaigns
Chapter 4 Verdun the Somme and the Frustrations of Modern War
Chapter 5 Becoming Generalissimo
Chapter 6 Winning the War
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Allied armies American Amiens argued armistice Army commander artillery B. H. Liddell Hart battle Beauvais agreement began Belgian Belgium bridgeheads Britain British Army Castelnau casualties Channel ports chief of staff defensive despite divisions École Supérieur Falkenhayn Fayolle Ferdinand Foch fight Flanders Foch believed Foch Paris Foch told Foch versus Clemenceau Foch’s France France’s French Army French forces Galliéni Georges Clemenceau German armies German attack German offensive Haig Haig’s Henry Wilson infantry Italian Jean Autin Joffre’s Joseph Joffre Les Invalides Lloyd George Lorraine Mangin Marne Marne River Maxime Weygand Memoirs Metz Mihiel Morhange Napoleon Nivelle October officers operations Orléans Boston peace Pershing Pershing’s Pétain Plan XVII Poincaré political politicians prime minister Récouly resume the offensive retreat Rhenish Republic Rhine River Rhineland Russia Second Army Somme Somme River strategic Supérieur de Guerre Supreme War Council tactics told Foch treaty Twentieth Corps Verdun victory wanted western front Ypres