Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire

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Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire

(zhôzĕf` zhäk sāzĕr` zhô`frə), 1852–1931, marshal of France. He began his career as a military engineer in the French colonies and was appointed French commander in chief in 1911. Like other members of the French general staff, he underestimated German strength at the outbreak of World War I, but his operations helped achieve an orderly French retreat. He deserves partial credit for the victory of the Marne (1914) in which he took advantage of an opportunity to counterattack. After the Germans nearly captured Verdun (1916) Joffre was made chief military adviser to the government, a powerless post from which he soon resigned. He was replaced by Gen. Robert Georges Nivelle as commander in chief. Joffre later served as chairman of the Allied War Council.


See his memoirs (tr. 1932).

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Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire


Born Jan. 12, 1852, in’Rivesaltes; died Jan. 3, 1931, in Paris. Became marshal of France in 1916 and a member of the Academic Frangaise in 1918.

Joffre fought in the Franco-Prussian war (1870–71) and in colonial wars in Indochina and Africa. In 1910 he became a member of the Conseil Superieur de la Guerre and in 1911 became both vice-president of the Conseil and chief of the general staff. From 1914 to 1916 he was commander in chief of the French Army. In 1914 he skillfully organized the French retreat and later achieved victory in the first battle of the Marne. In December 1916 he was made military adviser to the government. In 1917–18 he was the head of the French military mission to the United States and subsequently held the same post in Japan. His memoirs were published posthumously.


Mémoires du maréchal Joffre (1910–1917), vols. 1–2. Paris, 1932.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.