Joseph Joffre During an Official Visit


This photograph shows General Joseph-Jacques-Césaire Joffre (1852‒1931) on an official visit to Italy in 1916. France and Italy were allies at that time, as Italy had abandoned its neutrality in May 1915 by declaring war on Austria-Hungary. Joffre was commander in chief of the French armies on the Western Front in World War I from 1914 to 1916. After graduating from the École Polytechnique, the engineering school of the French Ministry of Defense, Joffre served in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870‒71 and later in various parts of the French Empire, including Indochina, West Africa, and Madagascar. He was promoted to general of division in 1905 and appointed chief of the French general staff in 1911. Known as “the Victor of the Marne” for stopping the German invasion of France in the First Battle of the Marne (September 5–12, 1914) and preventing the capture of Paris, Joffre was forced into retirement at the end of 1916, partially discredited for the huge losses the French army had suffered in 1915 and 1916 and its lack of preparation for the German attack on the fortress of Verdun, which began in February 1916. His Mémoires, published in two volumes in 1932, contain an account of his visit to Italy.

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Joseph Joffre durante una visita ufficiale

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1 photograph : black-and-white


  1. Philippe Haudrère and Spencer C. Tucker, “Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire (1852‒1931),” in Spencer C. Tucker, editor, 500 Great Military Leaders (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2015).

Last updated: November 14, 2017