Bazaine, Achille François

Bazaine, Achille François

Bazaine, Achille François (äshēlˈ fräNswäˈ bäzănˈ), 1811–88, French army officer. He served in Algeria, Crimea, Lombardy, and Mexico, and in the Franco-Prussian War he was given (Aug., 1870) the supreme command by Emperor Napoleon III. Unequal to the task, Bazaine allowed his army, which was entrenched at Metz, to be surrounded by the Prussians. The attempt of Marshal MacMahon to rescue him led to the disaster of Sedan. Bazaine then entered questionable diplomatic intrigues with the Germans, which led to his capitulation at Metz (Oct. 27). Convicted of treason in 1873, he was sentenced to 20 years of seclusion but escaped. He spent the rest of his life in Italy and Spain.


See P. Guedalla, The Two Marshals: Bazaine, Pétain (1943).

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Bazaine, Achille François


Born Feb. 13, 1811, at Versailles; died Sept. 23,1888, in Madrid. Marshal of France (1864). Participated in wars in Algeria (1835) and Spain (1837), as well as in the Crimean War (1853–56), the Austro-Italian-French War of 1859, and the Mexican expedition (1862–67).

Bazaine was a protégé of reactionary court circles. During the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71) he commanded the III Corps and, after August 12, the entire Army of the Rhine. After the battles of August 18 at Gravelotte and Saint-Privat, Bazaine led the Army of the Rhine to the fortress of Metz, where it was surrounded by the Prussian troops. On Oct. 27, 1870, Bazaine made a shameful surrender of Metz and his 173,000-man army. In 1873 he was condemned to death by a military court; the sentence was reduced to 20 years’ imprisonment. In 1874, Bazaine escaped from prison and spent his last years in Spain.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.