Vintage Audio - Joseph Joffre Welcoming U.S. Troops to France

Joseph Joffre Click to download as MP3

Until the close of 1916 Joseph Joffre served as French Commander-in-Chief.

Impatient of what he regarded as fruitless political intervention in the military conduct of the war, Joffre's relations with the French cabinet was inevitably often fraught.

Once the early success of the first year of the war had receded - notably success in throwing back the German army at the Marne in September 1914 - the French army suffered setback upon setback.  Finally, with France very nearly defeated at Verdun - an attack Joffre failed to anticipate - he paid the price and was replaced in December 1916.

However such was Joffre's prestige and enduring popularity that his dismissal was officially represented as a promotion: on the same day that Robert Nivelle - the hero of Verdun - succeeded him as Commander-in-Chief (itself to prove a calamitous appointment at the Aisne only a few months later), Joffre was made a Marshal of France, a prestigious appointment.

Although Joffre remained active for the remainder of the war he did not again exert significant influence over French military policy.  He was however used as a form of military diplomatic representative on missions abroad.

In the audio clip available here Joffre greets American troops attached to the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) as they arrive on French soil in 1917.  Use the player above to hear the clip.

Prevalent dysentery among Allied soldiers in Gallipoli came to be referred to as "the Gallipoli gallop".

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