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Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch

It is November 11, 1918, about 5:30 in the morning. Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch, Generalissimo of the armistice troops, signs an armistice agreement with representatives of the German Empire in his private train. Thus ends the First World War.

As the end of the war approached and the German ranks were slowly revolting, Ferdinand Foch attained the rank of Marshal of France on August 6, 1918. The rapid Allied advance eventually led to Ludendorff’s shocking declaration on Sunday, September 29, 1918. The general made it clear that Germany must conclude an armistice within 24 hours or he would no longer be able to ensure the military security of his country. And so, after the government had been taken over from the Kaiser by Parliament, came the Germans‘ ignominious self-imposed request for an armistice.

Compiègne and Versailles
Foch accepted the German truce offer with satisfaction. It began to take effect on 11 November 1918, at 11:00 a.m. sharp. The Marshal also, perhaps deliberately, insulted the German signatory when the document was drawn up, as he refused to shake his hand.

On the same day he was elected to the Academy of Sciences and ten days later unanimously admitted to the „Academié francaise“. On 30 November 1918 he was awarded Portugal’s highest decoration, the Order of the Tower and Sword, first class. But his role as Generalissimo of the Allied forces did not end with the last shot of the war. He also held important posts at the Versailles Peace Conference.

As early as January 1919, he presented a strongly anti-German current, holding that the Allies should take full advantage of the gains made by victory over Germany and thereby prevent a new invasion of France, which would insure security on the Continent. Foch regarded the resulting Versailles document as „capitulation and betrayal“, believing that only the permanent occupation of the Rhineland could truly secure France against the German threat. At the signing of the peace treaty, Foch even said: „This is not peace. This is a truce for 20 years.“ Unfortunately, his words became prophetic…


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