Vintage Video - Joseph Joffre on the Western Front, 1914

Joseph Joffre served as France's wartime Army Commander-in-Chief from the outbreak of war in August 1914 until December 1916.

Variously applauded and excoriated for his performance in military command, Joffre's period as Commander-in-Chief saw him achieve success at the First Battle of the Marne - when the German Army's march on Paris was decisively thrown back - and perceived failure in failing to anticipate the German offensive at Verdun.

Replaced as Commander-in-Chief by Robert Nivelle in December 1916 - as it transpired a disastrous appointment - Joffre was nonetheless awarded the consolation prize of an appointment a Marshal of France.  He played no further key role in the remainder of the war.

Use the player above to view footage of Joseph Joffre on the Western Front battlefront in 1914.

Britain introduced conscription for the first time on 2 February 1916.

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