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Joseph GallieniJoseph Gallieni

Life: 1849-1916
Birth Place: Saint-Beat, France
Historical Role: General
Titles: General de division, Marshal of France, French Minister of War
Primary countries affected: France
Secondary countries affected: Germany, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Vietnam
Events: Franco-Prussian War, First World War


Joseph Gallieni was born in Saint-Beat, France, in 1849. He studied at l'Ecole Speciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. At first he joined the French Naval Infantry. He served in the Franco-Prussian War and distinguished himself. Following this he served overseas in many of the French colonies of the time, notably Niger, Senegal, Vietnam and Madagascar. In 1908 he was appointed to the French General Staff. He retired in 1914, but was quickly recalled when the First World War broke out, he became the Military Governor of Paris.

He was instrumental during the First Battle of the Marne, although Joseph Joffre is credited with the French Army's success during that battle, it was Gallieni who spotted the opportunity to push back the Germans and take advantage of some of their recent tactical mistakes. He would subsequently convince Joffre about this opportunity and rush forces to the front in taxis. His actions would save the situation and prevent the Germans from sweeping into France and achieving a quick victory.

In 1915 he was reassigned and he became the French War Minister, but he had to retire in 1916 and he died shortly afterwards.


Tucker, S (1996). The European Powers in the First World War. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. p.283-84.

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