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Wall plaques commemorating the First and Second Battles of the Marne from the Dormans Chapel and Memorial, Dormans, France.

Wall plaques commemorating the First and Second Battles of the Marne from the Dormans Chapel and Memorial, Dormans, France. © 2014 by John M. Shea

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Friday, March 15, 1918

"At the meeting on the 15th [March, 1918], since this solution on the part of the two governments was still causing me much anxiety, I asked to be heard, and I pointed out the defects existing in the organization of the Allied command at the very moment the coalition was about to engage in a defensive battle of the utmost importance and which all were agreed could not be far off. . . .

Under this circumstances now existing, this [centralizing] organ would have been the commander of the Allied General Reserve, had it been formed. In the absence, however, of this Allied instrument, it was much to be feared that the French and the British armies, on which the enemy's blows were about to fall, would each be governed by considerations of its own particular interests and dangers and would lose sight of the common weal, although that was more important than anything else. In a word, the Allied battle might be seriously compromised, under existing conditions, because unity of view and of action would be lacking."

Quotation Context

The offensives of 1917 — the British at Arras and Passchendaele, the French Nivelle Offensive and subsequent army mutinies, the Italian Battles of the Isonzo and the destruction of their Second Army in the Austro-German Battle of Caporetto — and the Bolshevik Revolution and Treaty of Brest-Litovsk that led to Russia leaving the war — left Allied commanders anticipating a German offensive with troops released from the Eastern Front. As he had at a January 30—February 2, 1918 meeting of Allied prime ministers at Versailles, French General Ferdinand Foch, our author, at a March 13 through 15 conference in London again made his case for a general reserve under a unified command that could take advantage of opportunities to seize the offensive.

Source

The Memoirs of Marshall Foch, translated by Col. T. Bentley Mott by Ferdinand Foch, page 252, copyright © 1931 by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., publisher: Doubleday, Doran & Co., publication date: 1931

Tags

1918-03-15, 1918, March, Foch, unified command, London Conference