Papa Joffre Character Analysis

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Papa Joffre, a name that connotes a rather lighter tone, and conveys a sense of compassion and sympathy in one’s conduct: qualities that sharply contrast the unpleasantries of war. His title is a façade that overlooks his true achievements as French commander-in-chief during the first world war. Joseph Joffre changed the outcome of the conflict due to his execution of the war plan, leadership in the Battle of the Marne, and leadership in other offensives. He was a force to be reckoned with, a man who dominated the field, and a man who drastically impacted the war. Joseph Joffre consistently served with distinction, which led to his rise to power. While studying at Ecole polytechnique, a military academy, he “served as an officer in the Franco …show more content…

In particular, the frontier battles of Lorraine and Ardennes did not go in favor of the French forces. The French suffered many casualties, with “75,000 killed by the end of August, with a further 200,000 losses in wounded and prisoners” (Stone 43). These heavy losses would serve as a recurring theme in the upcoming battles. Following the battles, Joffre “made sweeping changes to the French high command, replaced thirty four divisional commanders, seven corps commanders and three army commanders,” and effectively purged those unfit for war, and hired more competent leaders in their place. It demonstrated that, despite the losses, he was resilient and pushed on. His reorganisation “further gave the Allies a clear numerical advantage on the left wing” with the Germans with “24.5 divisions” who faced off against “nearly twice as many Allied divisions.”, which further demonstrated that Joffre was tactful. Despite the purging of the units, their efforts “failed to stop the Germans,” as they pushed on. As a result, it forced the allies to retreat back to the “Marne, east of Paris.” At this point, things looked like a mixed bag for the French: They reorganized, but they sustained heavy casualties (Rickard). Regardless, the French forces pushed …show more content…

His predisposition to heavy offensives also contributed to his downfall, because they were “unsuccessful...against the German lines”. In addition, he “removed most of the heavy guns from the fortress of Verdun” which led to a disaster at the battle of Verdun (Rickard). His resolve and resilience, had in exchange been replaced with stubbornness, in his pursuit of his offenses. It demonstrated that he had disregard for men, heartless, and sometimes even clueless which would lead one to speculate how one was competent to lead. This style of leading led to “bundles of dead man and overcrowded hospitals” (Stokesbury 59). It was callous, and heartless. In spite of his actions, the little guys took the fall, and “lost their posts”. But, it was only a matter of time before it ate away at Joffre’s fame. Eventually, his unscrupulous actions led to his resignation as commander-in-chief, but he was “promoted away from the front line, created a Marshal of France”. Despite the prestigious title, his final years were performing “symbolic duties” and nothing in particular of substance. In the end, he is a figure who is “still the subject of much controversy” to this day (Rickard).
He was not without flaws. He overstepped his boundaries, and as a result, his pitfall. Joseph Joffre was a flawed man, but that does not overshadow his overall legacy: Halting the Germans at the Battle of the Marne. What

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