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Joseph Gallieni ( 1849 - 1916 )  Category ( Military_Persons ) [suggest a correction]
 

Joseph GallieniJoseph Simon Gallieni was born at Saint-Beat on April 24, 1849. He was educated at the Prytanée Militaire in La Flèche, and then the military academy in Saint-Cyr, becoming a Second Lieutenant in the Marines before serving in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1873 and Captain in 1878. He was later posted to Africa in the mid-1870s, taking part in explorations and various military expeditions.

After serving in Martinique, Gallieni was made governor of French Sudan, when he successfully quelled rebellion by Sudanese rebels. From 1892-96 he served in French Indochina before being dispatched to Madagascar, where he again suppressed revolt, this time of monarchist forces. He served as governor of Madagascar until 1905, building a reputation as a fair and just governor.

A widespread choice of supreme commander of the French Army in 1911, Gallieni declined the position in favour of Joseph Joffre, pleading advanced age and ill-health. Gallieni finally retired from the French Army in 1914, but he was recalled on the outbreak of the First World War and given the task of organizing the defense of Paris. When Gallieni realised that the German First Army were turning east in early September, he sent the Sixth Army from Paris to strike at its flank. This was an important factor in the subsequent victory of the French at the Marne. Joffre, wary of Gallieni's influence and reputation, to an extent marginalised Gallieni's role, keeping him at arm's length from headquarters, although historians generally credit Gallieni with being the guiding intelligence behind the French victory.

In the aftermath of the Marne, Gallieni was left behind as the fighting moved away from Paris. He remained governor of Paris for the next year, but was not satisfied in this increasingly irrelevant job. His popularity worried the government, while his opposition to a focus on the western front annoyed Joffre, who refused to offer Gallieni a field command. In October 1915 Gallieni was appointed French War Minister. Gallieni continued to clash with Joseph Joffre, the French Chief of Staff, and in March 1916 he resigned over the tactics used at Verdun. Already a sick man, Joseph Gallieni died on 27 May 1916, and was posthumously appointed Marshal in 1921.

Image: Joseph Simon Gallieni.


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