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Joseph Joffre

Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre (January 12, 1852 - January 3, 1931) was a Catalan French general who became prominent in the battles of World War I.

Joffre was born in Rivesaltes, Roussillon. He joined the army in 1870 and became a career soldier. He first saw active service during the siege of Paris in the Franco-Prussian War, but spent much of his career in the colonies as a military engineer. He returned to France and was made commander-in-chief of the French Army (1911), after Joseph Gallieni declined the post. With the revival of the army and a purge of "defensive-minded" officers he adopted the strategy devised by Ferdinand Foch, the offensive Plan XVII.

At the outbreak of war, the French plan clashed with the German Schlieffen Plan, much to the detriment of the French. Joffre helped to retrieve the situation through retreat and counterattack at the First Battle of the Marne. Following the enormous losses at Verdun he was replaced by General Robert Nivelle on December 13, 1916.

Still popular, Joffre was promoted to Marshal of France but his role was little more than ceremonial. He was head of the French military mission to the USA in 1917 and leader of the Supreme War Council in 1918. In 1918, Mount Joffre in Western Canada was named after him. He retired in 1919 and was made a member of the French Academy.

In 1920 Joffre presided over the Jocs Florals in Barcelona, a Catalan literary certamen.


Preceded by:
Jules Claretie
Seat 35
Académie française
Succeeded by:
Maxime Weygand
de:Joseph Joffre

fr:Joseph Joffre it:Joseph Joffre sv:Joseph Joffre

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