Marshal Foch, Marshal's sticks

Marshal Foch, Marshal's sticks


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  • Marshal Foch's baton of France.

  • Marshal Foch's Staff of Great Britain.

  • Marshal Foch's staff of Poland.

To close

Title: Marshal Foch's baton of France.

Author :

Creation date : 1918

Date shown: 1918

Dimensions: Height 51 - Width 5

Technique and other indications: Gold and velvet. Marshal's staff given to Foch by Raymond Poincarré on August 23, 1918.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Picture reference: 06-522373 / 4370 DEP

Marshal Foch's baton of France.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

To close

Title: Marshal Foch's Staff of Great Britain.

Author :

Creation date : 1919

Date shown: 1919

Dimensions: Height 55 - Width 3

Technique and other indications: Gold and velvet. Marshal's staff given to Foch at Buckingham Palace by King George V, July 30, 1919.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Picture reference: 06-522419 / 4369 DEP

Marshal Foch's Staff of Great Britain.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

To close

Title: Marshal Foch's staff of Poland.

Author :

Creation date : 1923

Date shown: 1923

Dimensions: Height 0 - Width 38

Technique and other indications: Steel, agate, enamelling, vermeil. Marshal's staff handed over to Foch on the Austro-Polish border by General Sosnkowski, Minister of War, on May 2, 1923.

Storage place: Army Museum (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Picture reference: 06-522435 / 4371 DEP

Marshal Foch's staff of Poland.

© Paris - Army Museum, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Pascal Segrette

Publication date: September 2008

Doctorate in Art History

Historical context

The Marshalate: consecration of an exceptional military career

The list of decorations awarded to General Foch throughout his career is impressive. To the order of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, to that of Officer of Public Instruction and to the numerous military medals, the warrior added the highest distinction that can be attributed to a soldier: that of the Marshalate of France, created during the reign of Philippe-Auguste. In the years following the signing of the armistice, Ferdinand Foch also received two such prestigious decorations which elevated him to the rank of the greatest European soldiers: the staff of the Marshalate of Great Britain, awarded by King George V on the 30 July 1919; then the staff of Marshal of Poland, handed over to the Austro-Hungarian frontier by General Sosnkowski, Minister of War.

Image Analysis

Military regalia

Genuine objects of art, marshal's sticks are emblems of military power, like regalia royal and sacred. From this point of view, they represent objects with a strong symbolic dimension and are kept as treasures of the nation at the Musée de l'Armée. These ornamental sticks evoke the shape of scepters. Each of those given to General Foch has its aesthetic characteristics, depending on its origin. Sheathed in blue velvet sprinkled with gold stars, the staff of Marshal of France is adorned at each end with a gold ferrule. One is engraved with the motto of the Marshals of France, TERROR BELLI DECUS PACIS ("Terror in war, ornament for peacetime"), on the other the inscription FOCH Ferdinand, Marshal of France, August 6, 1918.

The Marshal of Great Britain's staff is a different color and bears other allegorical symbols. In garnet velvet, it is strewn with gold English lions, and each end has a chiseled gold ferrule. This staff features the attributes of the different countries that make up Great Britain, such as the Scottish thistle, and is surmounted by a depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon. As for the staff of Poland, it was executed on the model of a Polish mace of the XVIe century. In blued steel, it is inlaid with vermeil and has two medallions of translucent red enamels. One represents the heraldic eagle of Poland, the other the initials R.P., which means "Republica Poloniae ". The agate embedded in the base is engraved with two entwined "F's" for Ferdinand Foch.

Interpretation

An extraordinary destiny

The son of a civil servant, Ferdinand Foch joined the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and then entered a military career. Admitted to the Polytechnic School, an elite institution which prepares for the defense and engineering professions, the future marshal modestly graduated from it as an artillery officer in 1873. He brilliantly climbed the ranks of the military hierarchy, up to join the staff and himself become a teacher at the École supérieure militaire.

Theorist of military history, specialist in the analysis of tactics and offensives, Ferdinand Foch published several books, including Principles of war (1903). This facet of her personality is less well known, but it nevertheless occupies an essential role in the development of her personal history. Having become lieutenant-colonel, then colonel and brigadier general in 1907, Foch rose to the rank of major general in 1911, then of corps commanding general shortly before the outbreak of the First World War. Using his theoretical and historical knowledge, he was able to propose effective strategic solutions during the early days of the war of movement. A master in the art of counterattack, he embraced increasingly important responsibilities which led him to successfully lead the race to the sea, a strategic operation which required perfect coordination between the Allies. This brilliantly assumed responsibility made Foch a well-known European personality. Temporarily out of favor in 1916, when he was otherwise wounded, General Foch regained the confidence of the French people and the soldiers thanks to Pétain’s friendship, mainly due to the setbacks suffered by General Nivelle. Rising still higher in the military hierarchy, he was appointed in 1918 Commander-in-Chief of the Western Front with the title of Generalissimo, with the aim of once again consolidating coherence between the Allies. Signatory of the armistice in Rethondes, Ferdinand Foch was recognized as one of the orchestrators of peace by the other allied nations, notably Poland and the United Kingdom, who also issued him a marshal's baton.

  • War of 14-18
  • Foch (Ferdinand)
  • Poincaré (Raymond)

Bibliography

Jean AUTIN, Foch or the Triumph of Truth , Paris, Perrin, 1987. Jean d'ESME, Foch, Paris, Hachette, 1951.Alphonse-Louis GRASSET, Foch or the will to win, Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1964. Maxime WEYGAND, Foch, Paris, Flammarion, 1951.Pierre VALLAUD, 14-18, World War I, Paris, Fayard, 2004.

To cite this article

Claire MAINGON, "Marshal Foch, Marshal's sticks"


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