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Maurice Gamelin
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Military Personnel
    (September 20, 1872-April 18, 1958)
    Born in Paris, France
    French general
    Army Chief of Staff (1931-40)
    President of the Supreme War Council (1935-40)
    When World War II broke out, he refused to let his troops leave their defensive positions behind the Maginot Line.
    General Siegfried Westphal, a German officer on the Western front, later said that if France had attacked in September, 1939, German forces could not have held out for more than two weeks.
    He refused to bomb industrial targets in Germany’s Ruhr Valley out of fear of retaliation.
    He insisted the Ardennes Forest was impassable and ignored signs of a German military buildup in the area throughout the winter of 1939-40.
    The Germans invaded through the Ardennes Forest, outflanking the main body of the French army.
    Refusing to believe that his basic strategy was the problem, he sacked twenty front line commanders.
    He graduated first in his class from the military academy at St. Cyr.
    During World War I, he devised the strategy for the counter-attack that stopped the initial German advance in the Battle of the Marne (1914).
    He kept the military from intervening in French politics.
    His preparation of the French army for combat had been hampered by massive budget cutbacks during the Great Depression.

Credit: C. Fishel


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