Foch, Ferdinand

BORN 2 Oct 1851, Tarbes, Hautes-Pyrénées - DIED 20 Mar 1929, Paris: Hôtel de Noirmoutiers
CAUSE OF DEATH heart attack
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Dôme des Invalides

Son of a civil servant from Provence. In 1870 he enrolled in the army during the Franco-Prussian war. He stayed in the army and became a lieutenant in 1873. In 1885 he entered the École Supérieure de la Guerre, where he returned as an instructor in 1895. He was among the first to re-evaluate the French defeat of 1870.

In 1901 he lost his position for political reasons and joined a regiment. He became a colonel in 1903 and a Général de Brigade in 1907. He returned to the École Supérieure de la Guerre as it's head (1908-1911). In 1911 he became Général de Division and in 1913 Lieutenant Genreal.

When the First World War broke out he commended the 20th Corps. After heavy fighting he was put in command of the new 9th Army. He commanded it during the Battle of the Marne. When the French arm was in retreat he managed to stop the Germany advance after a counter attack and the allies were able to stabilize their position. After more success he became joint commander in chief with Joffre. After the Battle of the Somme he was removed from command by Joffre. But Joffre was soon removed himself and Foch was recalled by Pétain.

When Germany started a final attempt to begin the war in the spring of 1918 Foch became supreme commander of the allied troops. On August 6th, 1918 he was made Marshal of France. On November 11th, 1918 the Germans surrendered.

Within weeks he was elected into the Académie des Sciences as well as the Académie française. He was in favour of weakening Germany forever, but England and the USA didn't want to take the Rhineland away from Germany. Foch thought the treaty didn't remove the German danger and called it 'an armistice for 20 years', predicting another war with Germany.

In 1923 was awarded the title of Marshal of Poland. He died in 1929 and was buried not far from Napoleon in the Dôme des Invalides in Paris.


The tomb of Ferdinand Foch at the Dôme des Invalides, Paris.
Picture by Androom (17 Nov 2006)


Statue of Marshal Foch at Lower Grosvenor Gardens near Victoria Station, London.
Picture by Androom (07 Feb 2012)


The Independent
Oosthoek Encyclopedie, 1948
Ferdinand Foch - Wikipedia

Fonfrède, Henri

Published: 12 Feb 2008
Last update: 09 Mar 2022