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Heroes and War
Leaders

 

Allied Powers:
Ferdinand Foch | Sir John French | Sir Douglas Haig | Joseph Joffre | Robert Nivelle |
John J. Pershing | Henri-Philippe Petain

Central Powers:
Paul von Hindenburg | Erich von Ludendorff

 

 

Ferdinand Foch

At the outbreak of World War I Ferdinand Foch was involved in many early battles, including Nancy and Marne. He had many successes and was placed in charge of the French Northern Army. He held his position until Robert Nivelle replaced Joseph Joffre as Commander-in-Chief, when he was recalled to Army Headquarters. In 1918 he was promoted to Allied Supreme Commander. He was very successful and received credit for masterminding the victory over Germany. He played important roles at the Paris Peace Conference and in the Creation of the Armistice. He wanted to make the recovery of Germany's army impossible. Foch died in 1929.

Ferdinand Foch
Sir John French

Sir John French

Sir John French joined the navy in 1866, and transferred to the army in 1874. He served in the Sudan and Boer Wars in the late 1800s. In 1911 he was appointed Chief of Staff of the British Army, and in 1914 became commander of the British Expeditionary Force. His sister was ironically one of the leading anti-war campaigners in Britain. After the Battle of Mons he became negative about the war's outcome. He was persuaded to take part in the Marne offensive, but resigned in 1915. Sir Douglas Haig replaced him. French had to deal with the Easter Rising in 1916 as the commander of the British home forces. He was granted 50,000 pounds from the British government when he retired, and he died in 1925.

Sir Douglas Haig

By 1914 Sir Douglas Haig already had plenty of military experience, when he became Lieutenant General and control of the first Army Corps of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). He led his forces into battle at Mons and Ypres, and he was praised. In December of 1915, Haig became Commander-in-Chief of the BEF. While under extreme pressure, he led his forces into battle at Verdun and Somme. In 1918 he led the Allies to a victory at the Western Front. After the war he became commander in chief of the home forces until 1921 when he retired. The government granted him 100,000 pounds, and he died in 1928.

Sir Douglas Haig
Joseph Joffre

Joseph Joffre

In 1911 Joseph Joffre was appointed chief of staff. In 1913 he carried out his Plan 17 and invaded Lorraine and Aedennes in Germany. At the outbreak of World War I he took command of the French Army. Blamed for losses at the Western Front and Verdun he was replaced by Robert Nivelle in 1916. He was then promoted to Marshall of France, and died in 1931.

Robert Nivelle

Robert Nivelle was an artillery colonel in August 1914, and was known for his recapture of Fort Douaumont in 1916. He thought he could win the war with his creeping barrage techniques. The French Prime Minister, Aritide Briand, liked his ideas, and replaced Joseph Joffre, the Commander-in-Chief, with him. The Nivelle Offensive in 1917 was a failure, but he continued with his strategy until his army began to fall apart. He was replaced by Henri-Philippe Petain in May 1917 and spent the rest of his career in North Africa. He died in 1924.

Robert Nivelle
John Joseph Pershing

John J. Pershing

By 1917 John Joseph Pershing was well experienced in combat. In 1917 he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe. His belief that he could break through the deadlock on the Western Front had to be revised when it didn't work. He did however; win praise for his excellent victory at St Mihiel in September 1918. After the war he was highly critical of the Treaty of Versallies, and became the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army in 1921.

Henri-Philippe Petain

Henri-Philippe Petain joined the French Army in 1876. At the outbreak of World War I he was scheduled to retire. Instead he took part in the Artois Offensive. Joseph Joffre sent Petain to command the French troops at Verdun in 1915. He was praised for his defensive tactics. After the failure of the Nivelle Offensive in 1917, Petain replaced Robert Nivelle as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. Petain cared more for the lives of his soldiers and improved their living conditions, unlike Nivelle. He was promoted to Field Marshall two weeks after the Armistice, and he served as War Minister in 1934. In 1940 Petain agreed to head the Vichy government. After the Normandy landings he fled to Switzerland, but returned in 1945. He was then arrested for treason. He served the rest of his life in prison, where he died in 1951.

Henri-Philippe Petain
Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg

Paul von Hindenburg fought in the Battle of Koniggratz and the Franco-Prussian War in the 1800s. He retired form the German Army in 1911, but was called back at the outbreak of World War I. He became Chief of Staff in August 1916. Hindenburg and Erich von Ludendorff formed the Third Supreme Command. They held power until defeat was inevitable in 1918. He retired from the army in October 1918, and in 1925 he replaced Friedrich Albert as Germany's President. He did not oppose Adolf Hitler, and he even appointed Hitler Chancellor. Hitler was unable to overthrown Hindenburg because of his popularity with Germany's people, until his death in 1934.

Erich von Ludendorff

Erich von Ludendorff was a German Army staff-officer from 1904 to 1913, until the outbreak of World War I. He was then appointed Chief of Staff in East Prussia. He worked with Paul von Hindenburg often and won many decisive victories over the Russians. Hindenburg became Chief of Staff of the German Army in 1916 and appointed Ludendorff as his quartermaster general. Shortly after they became the leaders of their own dictatorship, the Third Supreme Command. Ludendorff took control of Germany in 1917 after Theobald Bethmann Hollweg's resignation. When the failure of the Spring Offensive, Ludendorff realized that Germany would lose the war. The Third Supreme Command transferred power to Max von Baden in 1918. Baden's government was so powerful that it forced Ludendorff's resignation by October 1918. After the Armistice he fled to Sweden to write about the war. He returned to Germany and participated in the Kapp Putsch and the Munich Putsch. He was one of the first Nazi members in 1924. He ran for president in 1925, but received less than one percent of the votes. He died in 1937.

Erich von Ludendorff

 

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