Ferdinand Foch citations

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Ferdinand Foch

Date de naissance: 2. octobre 1851
Date de décès: 20. mars 1929

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Ferdinand Foch, né le 2 octobre 1851 à Tarbes et mort le 20 mars 1929 à Paris , est un général et académicien français, maréchal de France, de Grande-Bretagne et de Pologne.

Il est le commandant en chef des forces alliées sur le front de l'Ouest pendant la Première Guerre mondiale.

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Citations Ferdinand Foch

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„An army is to a chief what a sword is to a soldier. It is only worth anything in so far as it receives from him a certain impulsion“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: An army is to a chief what a sword is to a soldier. It is only worth anything in so far as it receives from him a certain impulsion (direction and vigour). p. 138

„Everything in war is linked together, is mutually interdependent, mutually interpenetrating.“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: The military art is not an accomplishment, an art for dilettante, a sport. You do not make war without reason, without an object, as you would give yourself up to music, painting, hunting, lawn tennis, where there is no great harm done whether you stop altogether or go on, whether you do little or much. Everything in war is linked together, is mutually interdependent, mutually interpenetrating. When you are at war you have no power to act at random. Each operation has a raison d'etre, that is an object; that object, once determined, fixes the nature and the value of the means to be resorted to as well as the use which ought to be made of the forces. p. 214

„A war not only arises, but derives its nature, from the political ideas, the moral sentiments, and the international relations obtaining at the moment when it breaks out.“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: A war not only arises, but derives its nature, from the political ideas, the moral sentiments, and the international relations obtaining at the moment when it breaks out. This amounts to saying : try and know why and with the help of what you are going to act; then you will find out how to act. p. 211

„The laurels of victory are at the point of the enemy bayonets.“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: The laurels of victory are at the point of the enemy bayonets. They must be plucked there; they must be carried by a hand-to-hand fight if one really means to conquer. p. 105

„The military art is not an accomplishment, an art for dilettante, a sport.“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: The military art is not an accomplishment, an art for dilettante, a sport. You do not make war without reason, without an object, as you would give yourself up to music, painting, hunting, lawn tennis, where there is no great harm done whether you stop altogether or go on, whether you do little or much. Everything in war is linked together, is mutually interdependent, mutually interpenetrating. When you are at war you have no power to act at random. Each operation has a raison d'etre, that is an object; that object, once determined, fixes the nature and the value of the means to be resorted to as well as the use which ought to be made of the forces. p. 214

„To be disciplined does not mean being silent, abstaining, or doing only what one thinks one may undertake without risk“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: To be disciplined does not mean being silent, abstaining, or doing only what one thinks one may undertake without risk; it is not the art of eluding responsibility; it means acting in compliance with orders received, and therefore finding in one's own mind, by effort and reflection, the possibility to carry out such orders. It also means finding in one's own will the energy to face the risks involved in execution. p.

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„The first obstacle is the enemy gun. It will be the first objective assigned to artillery masses.“

— Ferdinand Foch
Context: Against what should fire be opened? Against the obstacles which may delay the march of infantry. The first obstacle is the enemy gun. It will be the first objective assigned to artillery masses. p. 108

„The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.“

— Ferdinand Foch
As quoted in The 32d Infantry Division in World War II (1956) by Harold Whittle Blakeley, p. 3

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„In a time such as ours when people believe they can do without an ideal, cast away what they call abstract ideas, live on realism, rationalism, positivism, reduce everything to knowledge or to the use of more or less ingenious and casual devices — let us acknowledge it here — in such a time there is only one means of avoiding error, crime, disaster, of determining the conduct to be followed on a given occasion — but a safe means it is, and a fruitful one; this is the exclusive devotion to two abstract notions in the field of ethics: duty and discipline; such a devotion, if it is to lead to happy results, further implies besides… knowledge and reasoning.“

— Ferdinand Foch
p. 150 Variant translation: In our time, which thinks it can do without ideals, that it can reject what it calls abstractions, and nourish itself on realism, rationalism and positivism; which thinks it can reduce all questions to matters of science or to the employing of more or less ingenious expedients; at such a time, I say, there is but one resource if you are to avoid disaster, and only one which will make you certain of what course to hold upon a given day. It is the worship — to the exclusion of all others — of two Ideas in the field of morals: duty and discipline. And that worship further needs, if it is to bear fruit and produce results, knowledge and reason. As quoted in "A Sketch of the Military Career of Marshal Foch" by Major A. Grasset <!-- p. 10 -->

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