Joffre, Joseph Jacques Césaire (zhôzĕfˈ zhäk sāzĕrˈ zhôˈfrə) [key], 1852–1931, marshal of France. He began his career as a military engineer in the French colonies and was appointed French commander in chief in 1911. Like other members of the French general staff, he underestimated German strength at the outbreak of World War I, but his operations helped achieve an orderly French retreat. He deserves partial credit for the victory of the Marne (1914) in which he took advantage of an opportunity to counterattack. After the Germans nearly captured Verdun (1916) Joffre was made chief military adviser to the government, a powerless post from which he soon resigned. He was replaced by Gen. Robert Georges Nivelle as commander in chief. Joffre later served as chairman of the Allied War Council.
See his memoirs (tr. 1932).
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