Gamelin, Maurice Gustave

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Gamelin, Maurice Gustave

(môrēs` güstäv` gäməlăN`), 1872–1958, French army officer. During World War I he served on General Joffre's staff and as a division commander. He was made chief of the French general staff (1931) and chief of staff of national defense (1938). When World War II broke out, he commanded the Allied forces. Considering France ill prepared for war, he relied on the Maginot LineMaginot Line
, system of fortifications along the eastern frontier of France, extending from the Swiss border to the Belgian. It was named for André Maginot, who was French minister of war (1929–32) and who directed its construction.
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 and on passive warfare. In May, 1940, Germany began to overrun France; on May 19, Gamelin was replaced by Gen. Maxime Weygand. Arrested by the Vichy government, Gamelin was a defendant at the abortive trial at RiomRiom
, town (1990 pop. 19,302), Puy-de-Dôme dept., S central France, in Auvergne. It has distilleries, tobacco plants, and factories making pharmaceuticals. Of Gallic origin, the Roman Ricomagus grew around the collegiate Church of St. Amable (1077; restored).
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. He was freed from imprisonment in Germany in 1945.

Gamelin, Maurice Gustave

 

Born Sept. 20, 1872, in Paris; died there Apr. 18, 1958. French general.

Gamelin graduated from the military academy at St. Cyr in 1893 and from the staff college in 1899. During World War I he was commander of a brigade and a division. From 1925 to 1928 he was the commander of the French troops in Syria and deputy supreme commissioner. He suppressed the national liberation uprising of the Syrian people against the French colonialists (1925-27). Gamelin was chief of the general staff from 1931 to 1935 and from 1938 to 1939 and vice-president of the Conseil Supérieur de la Guerre from 1935 to 1940. On the eve of World War II he supported the capitulatory policy of the French ruling circles with respect to fascist Germany. On Sept. 3, 1939, Gamelin was appointed commander in chief of the allied troops in France and was one of those responsible for the defeat of France. On May 19, 1940, he was replaced by General M. Weygand. He was arrested in September 1940 and sentenced in 1942 at the Riom trial as one of those responsible for the defeat. The trial was staged by H. Pétain’s government to justify its capitulation to fascist Germany. In 1943 the Hitlerites brought Gamelin to Germany, and he remained in a concentration camp until the end of the war.

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At Schloss Itter in Austria, the Nazis interned most of their prominent French prisoners, including the last premier of the Third Republic, Eduard Daladier, and General Maurice Gamelin.
I've studied a bunch--preeminently, Joseph Joffre, France's waddling Chief of Staff in World War I, and Maurice Gamelin, his aide, who then attained the top position to confront the Nazis in decidedly wan fashion at the outset of World War II.
A few dissenters argued for mechanized armor like General Maurice Gamelin and a young Major Charles De Gaulle, but politicians refused, deciding to side with theorists of elan, that willpower would defeat any army.
A new biography of Maurice Gamelin, Martin Alexander's The Republic in Danger: General Maurice Gamelin and the Politics of French Defence, 1933-1940 (1992), is missing.
Georges Clemenceau, Raymond Poincare, and Edouard Herriot figure largely in this book; Pierre Laval, Maxime Weygand, Maurice Gamelin, and Edouard Daladier, somewhat less.
Alexander attempts a relatively sympathetic political biography of General Maurice Gamelin, the French chief of staff, and his defence policies between 1933 and 1940.