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Quotations From FERDINAND FOCH

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  • 1.
    My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent. I shall attack.
    Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929), French general. Quoted in Reputations, "Ferdinand Foch," B.H. Liddell Hart (1928). message allegedly sent to General Joffre during Battle of the Marne, Sept. 8, 1914. This was in all likelihood apocryphal, originating in Foch's repeated refrain to his troops, "Attaquez!" According to Liddell Hart, his insistence decimated the companies under his command, and the eventual German withdrawal astonished the exhausted French troops. Other variations of the message include, "Ma droite est enfoncée, ma gauche cède—tout va bien—j'attaque!" ("My right gives way, my left yields, everything's fine—I shall attack!"). See also Foch's words on "winning."
  • 2.
    A battle won is a battle which we will not acknowledge to be lost.
    Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929), French general. Quoted in Reputations, "Ferdinand Foch," B.H. Liddell Hart (1928). This saying was a variation of one by French author Joseph de Maistre: "A lost battle is a battle which one believes lost: in a material sense no battle can be lost."

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