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Biography of Ferdinand Foch


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Foch (fosh), Ferdinand. Generalissimo of the allied armies during World War I. Foch was born at Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrenees, France, of Basque-Alsatian parentage, 1851. He joined the French Army in 1870, and fought in the war against Prussia. In 1898 Foch was appointed lieutenant-colonel and professor of strategy and tactics in the war college. In 1905 he was made regimental commander of artillery, and in 1910 commandant of the war college. In the early stages of the invasion of France in 1914, Foch stopped the great German drive toward Calais, and later won the victories of Ypres and La Bassee. The plan whereby Joffre defeated the German armies in the great battle of the Marne was largely due to Foch, who came to be regarded as the master tactician among the allied commanders. On March 26, 1918, following the gigantic German attacks which drove back the allied line in Picardy, jeopardizing Paris and Calais, Foch was placed in supreme command of the allied armies. Holding the enemy's powerful thrusts to local gains, he organized for the counter-offensive. On July 18, he inflicted a stunning defeat upon the Germans, blocking their fifth great drive of the year, and began a campaign of continuous attack against all the Teutonic allies. Foch's consummate ability as a strategist was shown in an uninterrupted series of victories on all fronts. by well-timed offensives, the military power of Bulgaria, Turkey, and Austria was crushed. Under relentless pressure, the great German army, beaten in every important battle, was practically driven out of France. To escape the impending annihilation of her forces, Germany, on November 11, 1918, signed an armistice, surrendering enormous war supplies and yielding the military occupation of the Rhine. In recognition of his distinguished services, Foch was created marshal of France.