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Lecturing in London before the An-glo-French society on "The Genius of xMarechal Foch," Professor Maurice Gerothwolil opened with a vivid .contrast between the soldiers of the Napoleonic Legion and the Napoleonic Legend, and the soldiers of the Legend of but yesterday—the Legend of Ypres and Verdun, the Sonime, and the two Marnes. >

"The Legend, no the horrible reality, unknown to Bonaparte's grogHards, of high explosive and the mitrailleuse, of live wire, of the aerial bomb, of poison gas; and worse, and more nerve-racking perhaps than all or any of these active principles of that scientific hell which is called modern warfare, the abiding dreariness of the trenches from October, 1914, to July, 1918. Such trials as. those the heroes of the Napoleonic era were never called upon to face."

In the whole range of military history there had been no example of collective stoicism or of despairing hope —unless it be that of the Serbian army, or what remained of it after 1915—t0 compare even remotely with those exhibited by the British, French, and Belgian armies in the interval which separated. the two batr ties of the Marne.

"in war the man is not everything; he would be nowhere without the men—men worthy,of his genius and capable of being fired by it. Could there be any better proof of this than in what our armed nations had failed to achieve in four years, but finally achieved within four months under Foch?"

In saying this he cast no reflection on the'allfjd leaders who figured in the initial stage. They were paladins,, the leaders of that period—Joffre and French, Castlenau and Smith-Dorrien, Haig, and of course, Foch. "Here I would like to fjay," said the lecturer, in parenthesis, "that Sir Douglas Haig always protested against the limited offensive. He- was for the break-through. The limited offensive was imposed on him from the,outside. It was not initiated by him. The restriction was laid by external authorities." Whether the military genius or Mar-) shal Foch equalled or transcended the genius of the Great Emperor, concluded Professor Gerbthwohl, the heart of Ferdinand Foch was far greater. than that of Napoleon Bonaparte. Would they be satisfied if he did not make his triumphal entr^ into Berlin ? He would not. Nor would he be satisfied unless the victor of Germany and the liberator of the world were awarded at the Conference the place that surely should be his—the first. "1 cannot conceive,!' he said, "of any of the allied statesmen, not even Mr Wilson, begrudging to (Marshal Foch the first word at the Conference and the last. He is the one man but for whose deeds the transcendental notes and perfervid speeches of the politicians on the subject of the coming world millennium would have been merely so many and imperishable ■monuments of human simplicity or vanity."

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Bibliographic details

CENSUS OF FOCH., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9596, 28 April 1919

Word Count

CENSUS OF FOCH. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9596, 28 April 1919